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Permitting Fees

Understanding Residential Plan Review and Building Permit Fees

Residential Plan Review Fee (a percentage of the building fee, which is described below)

The Residential Plan Review fee covers the cost of checking whether a building plan meets existing codes. This step also helps protect developers from building a project, only to find out later that it is not up to code. It is calculated by taking 65% of the Building Permit fee, which is described below.

When your building plans are accepted at the Permit Assistance Center, you must also include a check payable to Thurston County to cover the Residential Plan Review Fee.

Building Permit Fees (a formula based on average construction costs)

Building permit fees cover the costs to the county of processing permits and applications, and inspecting structures during and after construction. Building fees are calculated based on the estimated construction cost per square foot as published by the International Code Council. The estimated costs vary depending on the type of construction.

To estimate building permit fees, follow these three steps:

  1. STEP 1: See the Residential Building Fee Guide.  This guide outlines Thurston County's permit fees per square foot of the estimated construction cost.  The estimated construction cost varies depending on whether it's residential construction, unfinished space, a remodel, garage etc.
  2. STEP 2: Figure out how many square feet you plan to build for your each part of your project -- the house, garage, fencing, unfinished space etc.  Multiply the square feet by what you see in the Residential Building Fee guide (above) to come up with a combined construction estimate.
  3. STEP 3: Look at the fee table to see how much the building permit will be based on your combined construction estimate.

These steps are depicted in the image below.

fee example

Residential Site Plan Review Fees (based on hours of review time)

Residential Site Plan Review fees cover the county's cost of verifying that land will be used in compliance with existing regulations. For example, staff may check to see whether the project is in a correctly zoned area, whether it encroaches on any environmentally sensitive areas, and whether it is in a flood plain or high-groundwater area. These fees reward people who submit complete and thorough applications by offering a low “base fee” that pays for a minimum number of hours of review time. Once the base number of hours is exhausted, the applicant is billed monthly for additional review time. The idea is that straightforward projects will not exceed the initial fee and more complex applications will pay for the actual time spent to process the application. For site plan review fees, see the last page of the land-use applications fee schedule.

red arrowThe fees described on this page are the key fees associated with a standard residential application package; however, other fees may apply for septic systems, driveways, excavation work and other aspects of your project. Click here for a guide to fees.

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