Building Construction Information

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  1. New State Building Code Goes into Effect on March 15, 2024

    Are you planning to apply for a building permit? The new 2021 Washington State Building Code will go into effect on March 15, 2024. Read on...

Douglas County, like all local jurisdictions, requires permits for construction and land use activities. In addition,  

One Stop

Transportation and Land Services has been structured to provide a "one stop" approach to obtaining all your local construction and land use permits.

Certain permits are required prior to beginning construction, alteration, and/or demolition of all structures in Douglas County. The State of Washington requires all cities and counties to enforce an assortment of construction-related codes, all of which are intended to establish a minimum standard of safety, health, efficiency and accessibility throughout the state.

Check with us before beginning any project to determine what, if any, permits you might need.

Design Standards

Snow Load 35 Ibs/sq. ft. for elevations < 1600 ft.
40 Ibs/sq. ft. for elevations > 1601 ft.
Basic Wind Speed 85 MPH, 100 MPH/Gust
Wind Exposure C, unless otherwise permitted by code
Seismic Design Factors  SDS and SD1 per USGA seismic application
Seismic Site Class D, unless warranted by geotechnical information
Weathering  Severe
Minimum Footing Depth for Frost Penetration  24-inches below grade for exterior locations
Termites  Slight to moderate
Decay None to slight
Winter Design Temperatures  10º F
Ice Shield Underlay Yes
Mean Annual Temperature 51.3

Limited Authority to Modify State Requirements

Douglas County has only limited authority to modify the requirements of the state. 

Permits are Required for:
Any new construction, remodeling or addition that modifies the roof, foundation, any bearing walls, doors or windows of a building or structure. This does not include interior improvements which do not affect the structural integrity of the building such as new flooring, wall coverings, etc.

  • Wood stoves - A permit is issued for new installations or an inspection of any previous installations.
  • Swimming Pools - both in-ground and above ground.
  • Decks over 30-inches above ground or roofed decks detached from a structure.
  • Retaining walls over 4-feet tall as measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall.
  • Installations of propane tanks, Installations of gas appliances/fireplace logs.
  • Installation/decommissioning of underground storage tanks.
  • Demolition of buildings or structures 
  • Prefabbed sheds/structure two stories/lofted or larger than 200 square feet
  • Carports

Work Exempt from Permits:

Exemptions from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of building code or any other laws or ordinances of the Douglas County. Permits shall not be required for the following:

  • One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet and within 5' of property line
  • Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II, or IIA liquids.
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.

For More Information

For more information on permits, development activities and to access online application forms and brochures, visit our Document Portal, or contact the Permit Center at the Department of Transportation and Land Services.

If you have an existing permit and would like to check its status try our Online Permit Search.

If you have any questions, please contact Land Services.