220 Fourth Avenue South, Kent WA 98032 - (253) 856-5200

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Frequently asked questions about inspections

  1. May I get one permit for all the work I'm doing? 
  2. What if I want to make changes to the scope of work after my permit is issued? 
  3. We are not going to do the project after all. Can I get a refund? 
  4. Do I need an inspection? 
  5. Which inspections do I need for my house? 
  6. When do I call in for my first inspection? 
  7. Do your inspectors work weekends? 
  8. How can I find out who my inspector is? 
  9. How do I ask for a specific time for an inspection? 
  10. What is an IVR number? 
  11. The phone system says my permit is locked. What does that mean? 
  12. How do I know the inspector has signed off all the work?'
  13. What if I fail the inspection? 
  14. What happens if my permit is not signed off, even though I did all the work? 
  15. Do I have to be there for the inspection? I can leave a key for the inspector. 
  16. I lost my plans and my permit. What can I do? 
  17. I think my permit has expired. What can I do? 

If you don't find what you're looking for here, please look at our Building Services FAQ or email your question to buildingservices@kentwa.gov 

May I get one permit for all the work I'm doing?

Yes, you may combine your Building, Mechanical and Plumbing permit applications in order to have just one permit issued for each building.  The more complete and detailed your application is, the easier it will be to get through the inspections. Combining your applications to make one permit makes it easier to have your inspections properly recorded on the correct permit.

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What if I want to make changes to the scope of work after my permit it issued?

If you make changes expanding the scope of work, such as doing work on another floor or adding floor area, you will need to apply for a separate permit. Each new application stands on its own, and you will be required to submit new plans. You will also need to be sure to call in the right IVR number on each permit for your inspections. We realize that changes are sometimes necessary or simply desired. Keeping those changes to a minimum will help your project flow more smoothly through the application and inspection phases.

If you wish to make a revision within the original scope of work, such as the materials used or changing the location of a window, those can often be done as a revision to an existing permit.  There is a minimum $93 plan review fee which must be paid at application time. If the revision's plan review requires more than one hour, additional fees are assessed.

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We are not going to do the project after all. Can I get a refund?

You may get a refund for 80% of your permit fee if you request the refund in writing within 180 days of issuance, and no work has been done.

If your permit has not been issued yet, but there has been plan review activity, no refund of the plan review fee is allowed. If there has been no plan review activity, you must ask for an 80% refund in writing within six months of application.

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Do I need an inspection?

Every project that requires a permit must have inspections of the work before it is covered. Each project should have a final inspection as a minimum. That can be a final building inspection, final mechanical inspection, or final plumbing inspection, depending on the scope of the permit.

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Which Inspections do I need for my house?

Please go to our Residential Inspection List. This list is in sequential order for typical residential projects, although not all are required for each type of project.

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When do I call for my first inspection?

Typically, the first inspection for a new residential building or addition is a footing (inspection code #1013) inspection. For a remodel, the first inspection is typically a framing (#1042), rough mechanical (#1043), rough plumbing (#1044), or gas piping (#1014) inspection.

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Do your inspectors work weekends?

No, inspectors are on duty Monday through Friday, from 7:00 to 5:30 pm.

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How can I find out who my inspector will be?

For most projects, you will have more than one inspector. This is due to the staff schedules, and requests for inspections in a particular area. Each morning, the workload list is given to each inspector. Just call (253) 856-5412 (then press 1 for Building Services) before 8:00 pm and ask to speak to the inspector who will be inspecting your job that day.  If you want to know which inspector did a previous inspection, call (253) 856-5412, press 1 for Building Services, and the permit technician will help you.

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How do I ask for a specific time for an inspection?

Each morning, our inspectors get a printout of their workloads for the day. If you called in your inspection request the previous business day, your request will be on their workload list. On the day your inspection is scheduled, call (253) 856-5412 (press 1 for Building Services) between 7:00 and 8:00 am and ask to speak to the inspector doing your project. Your inspector will work with you to get a time that is better for you. Please keep in mind that most people prefer a morning inspection, but we cannot accommodate everyone. Inspectors can also get delayed at jobs on the way to yours. Once our inspectors have left to do their inspections, we do not call them to ask for arrival times. This would slow down the inspectors, as well as add to the number of phone calls they receive while they are driving. Please call by 8:00 am to speak with your inspector about times or questions about an inspection.

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What is an IVR number?

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) numbers enable a person to call our automated system for an inspection on a permit. The IVR numbers have five or six digits, and permit numbers are 12 alphanumeric characters.  You need to use the IVR number, not your permit number, when using the automated inspection request system.  The IVR numbers allow us to differentiate between your application and your issued permit.

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The Automated Inspection Request System says my permit is locked. What does that mean?

Usually a "locked" permit is one that our records show is completed, or a permit which has fees due for reinspection. If you receive this message, and you are not aware of any reinspection fees due, please call (253) 856-5412 (then press 1 for Building Services) for assistance in determining the cause of your problem. If you leave a message, please give the IVR number so that we may schedule your inspection for you.

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How do I know the inspector has signed off all the work?

If the inspectors has signed his initials and date on the bottom of the job card, where it says, "Final", that indicates that particular permit's work is complete and code-complying. Keep in mind that if you have multiple permits, you need to have each permit inspected and signed off. Corrections to inspections are noted on the back of the job card, and the inspector places an asterisk on the front where the type of inspection is displayed. If an inspector cannot access the job site or job card, or if you are away from the job site or cannot access the job card, you can see the inspection status on the internet. Go to kentwa.gov/permitcenter/permitstatus and enter your permit number as "C_ _ _ - 20__ _ _ _" If it is not clear why your inspection did not pass, please call (253) 856-5412 (then press 1 for Building Services) and speak with the permit technician.

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What happens if I fail the inspection?

If you do not pass the inspection on the first attempt, the inspector will make a correction note on the back of the job card. (This will not happen if the job card is missing, or the inspector could not get access to the project.) Once you have made all of the corrections noted, call to schedule another inspection. Be sure that all corrections have been made before calling for reinspection.

What happens if my permit is not signed off, even though I did all the work?

The Building, Mechanical, and Plumbing Codes require you to obtain a final inspection approval. If you did not call in inspections for the correct permit numbers, or did not call for inspections to corrections, our records will show that your permit expired without a final approval. We will not be able to provide evidence of code compliance in the event of a real estate sale or insurance claim.

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Do I have to be there for the inspection? I can leave a key for the inspector.

While we appreciate the trust some customers have wanted to place in our inspectors, they may not enter someone's home without the owner or representative present. We understand that this may cause inconvenience, and we will work with you to schedule your inspection at a time someone can be home to provide access for the inspection. It is advisable that the contractor or owner be present in order to interact with the inspector.

Inspections such as final roofing or some new construction that is open can be done while the owner is away. Please have the permit/job card and plans prominently displayed so that the inspector can determine the scope of work. It is a good idea to contact the inspectors at (253) 856-5412 (then press 1) between 7:00 and 8:00 that day to let them know where the permit/job card is, and that you will be gone.

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I've lost my plans and my permit. What can I do?

We can print out a copy of your permit and job card easily and at no charge to you.

Except for houses built with a Basic Plan, we keep a second set of approved plans at our office for the inspectors to reference. You may arrange with the City to obtain a copy of your approved plans by calling the Building Services permit technician at (253) 856-5412 (then press 1). This will require a reproduction fee. If you are constructing a house built with a Basic Plan, contact the Permit Center at (253) 856-5300 for a copy of your plan. We cannot allow anyone to take the City's approved plans from the building.

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I think my permit has expired. What can I do?

Any time you believe you will be delayed or have to abandon a project, please contact the Building Services permit technician at (253) 856-5412 (then press 1 for Building Services). We will help you determine whether or not the permit has truly expired, and work with you to find a solution to the problem. Sometimes a new permit must be applied for and issued. The sooner you can contact us, the better we can help you.