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Thurston County Building and Land Use Codes


If you have questions about building setbacks, permitted uses based on zoning, critical area buffers, resource lands, subdivision, etc, you'll want to research our Thurston County Code.

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Which Codes May We Help You Find?


All County Codes - Municode

read the code text through Municode or see topics below

Drainage Manual

standards for managing stormwater runoff and erosion - plans required

Land Use Ordinances

zoning, critical areas, shorelines, subdividing land

Environmental Health Codes

sewage disposal (septic tanks), public water supplies.

Building Codes

setbacks, fire, building, plumbing, electrical and mechanical codes

Public Works Codes

road standards, stormwater drainage, utility ordinance


2018 Building Code Amendments

On August 7, 2018, the Board of County Commissioners adopted Ordinance No. 15648 which amends the Buildings and Construction Code (Title 14).

A signed copy of Ordinance No. 15648 is available here.

An informational bulletin on exempt residential buildings is available here.

Activities exempt from building permits must still comply with the requirements of the International Building Code, International Residential Code, applicable zoning ordinance, critical areas, other requirements, and federal and state laws.

In summary, the proposed amendments include:

  1. Increasing the size for exempt residential storage buildings in the rural county from 200 square feet to 400 square feet, adding a loft area for all exempt residential storage buildings, and other allowances and limits.
  2. The amendments will also exempt exterior siding replacement, same-size window and door replacement requiring no framing modifications, solar panels, and replacement of electric forced air heating units and electric water heaters.
  3. The expiration time for building permits will be extended from 180 days to one year, and extended the time for purchasing an approved plan to one year.
  4. Amendments to the fire code include clarification of standards, and allowing an administrative waiver for fire flow where the occupancy is no more hazardous that the existing occupancy.
  5. Amendments to Chapter 14.38 Development in Special Flood Hazard Areas that are necessary to retain the current Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance rating.  Amendments include clarifying the two foot elevation requirement as “freeboard,” clarify the use of fill in the Special Flood Hazard Area to ensure consistency with other codes, and other amendments.


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