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FAQs - Building Codes

What building codes are in effect in the unincorporated areas of the county?

 Please click here for more information.  

Do you have any type of summary of the codes?

Our "Building Plan Review and Inspection Checklist" provides basic, helpful information about residential building code requirements; however, it is not an all-inclusive list. Also be sure to see our International Summary and Illustrations Page.  More information about codes is available on our Building Codes page.

Where do I get my electrical permit?

The Department of Labor and Industries does the permitting and inspection of all electrical work in the unincorporated areas of Thurston County. For more information, you may contact Labor & Industries at (360) 896-2300. Click here for electrical laws and rules (external link). Please check with Labor and Industries before doing any electrical work on your property. Certain work may need to be performed by a licensed electrician. 

How can I get more information on the Energy Code?

Please click here for energy code information.

Where can I find climatic and geographic design criteria?

Click here for climatic and geographic design criteria.

What is an egress window and when is it required?

An egress window is a window that is required in specific locations in a dwelling and is intended to provide an emergency means of exiting a dwelling.  Windows must meet specific size and requirements to qualify as an egress window.

Egress windows are required in every room used for sleeping purposes (bedrooms) on any floor and in basements with habitable space. If you are constructing a new home, the code requires that you put an egress window in each bedroom. It also requires an egress window in the basement if habitable rooms will be finished in the basement. If you install a basement bedroom or bedrooms, an egress window is required in each bedroom. If you have an existing home and you add a sleeping room in an unfinished basement, the code requires that you install an egress window in the sleeping room or rooms. 

  • Maximum sill height is 44”.
  • Minimum opening width is 20”.
  • Minimum opening height is 24”.
  • Minimum net clear opening: first floor = 5 sq ft min; second floor = 5.7 sq ft min.
  • Structural changes to the framing or headers may require construction plan submittal.

What are the standards for hooking up to a Thurston County water and/or sewer system?

Thurston County operates water/sewer systems in Boston Harbor, Tamoshan and Grand Mound. For development standards, please click here.

Is it true that a homeowner can perform electrical wiring work?

Homeowners must obtain a permit from Labor & Industries prior to doing any electrical work.

Is fire resistive construction required to be inspected?

Section of the International Residential Code.  Where fire-resistant-rated construction is required between dwelling units or due to location on property, the building official shall require an inspection of such construction after lathing or gypsum board or gypsum panel products are in place, but before any plaster is applied, or before board or panel joints and fasteners are taped and finished.



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