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    Departments & Programs » Building and Planning » Building Permit Guidlines
    Building Permit Guidlines

     Prior to Permit Application

    These are the steps and questions to answer prior to applying for a building permit:


    • Critical areas evaluation.  Submit site plan for review.  Site plan must show all existing structures on property.
    • Property zoning 
    • Setback requirements 
    • Is the property located in a floodway or floodplain?

    Public Works / Engineering Department.


    Q.          What are the counties snow load , wind load, and frost depth


    •  Adams counties snow load is 30 pound ground load.
    •  Adams counties wind load is 85 mph for a 3 second gust . 
    •  Adams counties frost depth is a min 18 inches below finnish grade.


    Q.           What type of work requires a building permit?

    A.           Generally all types of construction work including:  new homes, mobile home moves, repairs and additions, plumbing, re-roofing, window replacement, wood/pellet stove installations, and gas inserts.  If you question whether or not you need a permit, call the Adams County Building and Planning Department (509-488-9441). If you need a permit, please consult the departments, listed below, about their Approval processes before finalizing your construction plans.


    Q.           Where do I obtain a building permit?

    A.            You may obtain a Building Permit Application form in person at Building and Planning, 425 E. Main St. - Suite 200, Othello, Monday through Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 and 1:00 - 4:30 p.m. Or download the form from the Building and Planning


    Q.           How long does my application's review take?

    A.         Building and Planning's review of your Application, complete with Site Plan Approvals, takes approximately one week.  Be aware, however, that the Approvals from other departments -- such as Water/Sewer and Road Approach -- involve separate permit granting processes that may take additional time before you submit your Application.


    Follow these steps to prepare and submit your Application for a Building Permit:



    1.    Complete the Building Permit Application form, points 1 through 8. Do not use pencil. The land parcel number can be obtained from the Building and Planning office (509-488-9441). Applications being submitted by persons other than the legal owner of record must include documentation making them a legal agent of the registered owner of record.

    2.    Complete a plan of your site and the proposed work, drawn to scale using the Site Plan form provided. Do not use pencil. If you need help with the Site Plan, ask at the Building and Planning office.

    3.    Obtain the following Approvals for your Site Plan drawing (you may need to present your completed Application form):


    Zoning and Address Approval:  Planning Department at 509/ 488-9441.

    Water Availability Approval:  The Adams County Environmental Health Department (509/488-2031) will help determine the specific requirements you must meet. (Note: Proof of water availability may not be required for additions / remodels to single family residences).

    Septic/Sewer Approval:  A residence must have a septic system permit or an Existing System Evaluation (ESE) from the Environmental Health Department (509/ 488-2031). If city / community sewer is available, an availability letter from the Sewer provider must be submitted.

    Fire Access Approval: Your local fire chief (see Fire District map) must approve your driveway or access road (see Special Notes, below).

    Road Approach Approval: Approach requirements vary according to the connecting road type. For example, an approach onto a

      --  county road: typically must be 330 ft. from the nearest arterial road; additional sight distance requirements vary according to posted speed limits

      -- state highway: requires verification that you have received approval from the Washington State Dept. of Transportation (at 509/575-2541)

      -- private road: requires documentation of legal ingress / egress easement.

     Contact the Public Works Department (509/659-3276) Or Click the link below for a Permit form.

    Road Approach Premit App:

    (Note a Road approach permit is required for all new construction. To include new homes, outbuildings etc. Exemptions: remodeling, roofing, mechanical and other type permits)


    1.    Building Permit Application form, points 1 through 8 complete. Leave Notice box unsigned

    2.    Site Plan form with complete drawing and original Approval signatures

    3.    For Commercial Bldg. or Residential Bldg. types of permit: a) two sets of construction plans, or b) Labor & Industries Approval (manufactured home; see Special Notes, below)

    4.    All special documents and letters noted in these Guidelines.


    After your application is approved by Building and Planning, and you have paid the fees, you will receive a document that is your Permit to begin construction. Permit is valid for 180 days unless you request an extension. The owner or contractor must request inspections during the construction process, for example, footings, foundation walls, plumbing and mechanical work, framing, insulation, and wallboard will be examined by the Adams County Building Inspector (509-488-9441; 509-989-0973). Other inspections may be required if special constructions, such as a private road, are needed.

    The owner or contractor is required to obtain a final inspection of completed work from the relevant agencies - including sewer and water connections and road approach work - before requesting the Building Inspector's Final Inspection. When the Building Inspector has completed the Final Inspection, obtain a signed copy of the final INSPECTION APPROVALS form or the CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY for your records.



    q  Access roads or private driveways must allow access for emergency vehicles; they must be graveled to within 150 ft. of the most distant part of a building that requires a permit. Roads must have 20 ft. minimum width (per Uniform Fire Code 902.2.1) and 3" base course (of 2" minus pit run-minimum) with 2" top course (of 1.25" minus crushed).  Check with your Fire District Chief regarding "base course". (Section 503.2.7 of the 2006 IFC fire code).

    q  For set-up of a manufactured home, obtain the Installation Guidlines.

    q  Pre-June, 1976 manufactured homes have special requirements and may only be placed in a permitted Mobile Home Park. Contact Department of Labor & Industries (509-764-6900 in Moses Lake). Remodels to factory-assembled structures and manufactured homes also require Department of Labor & Industries approval.

    q  To find out if your contractor is licensed: call 1-800-647-0982.  For the Underground Utility locations on your site, call 1-800-424-5555.

    q  The rules governing private covenants are the responsibility of the owner/builder.

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