Thursday, April 28, 2011

DDES Pre-Submittal Service Will Reduce Permit Review Time

King County is taking the next step to reform customer service by improving the process of applying for mid-size permits at the Department of Development and Environmental Services – working up-front with customers who bring in permits too complex for over-the-counter service.

Starting April 25 customers with development permits too complex for over-the-counter service, but not complex enough to qualify for a pre-application meeting, will be entered into a new program called Pre-Submittal Services (PSS).

The PSS process will provide direct customer service to applicants before they submit the application by providing feedback to identify technical issues or red flags, and set expectations for the process ahead. This will allow staff at the Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) to immediately initiate or review the application as soon as it is submitted, rather than having to go back to the applicant to request clarity or more information.

“Our Department has been working purposefully and energetically over the last year to make permitting processes at King County less burdensome,” said DDES Director John Starbard. “I’m optimistic about this reform to our services. It should speed up review times, improve communication with our customers, and enable applicants to start their projects sooner.”

Incorrect and incomplete application submittals are a major factor that add to the cost and complexity of the permitting process.

PSS will assist with twelve types of mid-size permit applications:
􀂃New Dwellings
􀂃Additions/Remodels/Accessory Structures*
􀂃Agricultural Buildings
􀂃Tenant Improvements*
􀂃Small Commercial Buildings
􀂃Site Plan Resubmittal
􀂃Residential Revision
􀂃Boundary Line Adjustments
􀂃Separate Lot/Lot Mergers

*Some of these permit types may be covered already in the easy over-the-counter permit process

Beginning April 25, applicants who have a PSS qualifying project will pay $357 up front, which will be credited to the cost of the application once the final paperwork is submitted. The total processing time is expected to drop significantly, and each applicant will work with DDES staff to help ensure their paperwork is right the first time, and they can prevent delays associated with the need to stop processing and contact the applicant for more information or clarity.
PSS will be conducted during business days from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (with a lunch break between 12:00 to 1:00 pm).

The PSS process builds on a series of reforms at DDES under the guidance of King County Executive Dow Constantine, and DDES Director John Starbard. Reforms include the introduction of a fixed-fee model to provide cost certainty for building permits, permit integration with other county agencies, over-the-counter permits, a revised permit intake process, and enhanced relationships with cities and stakeholders.

For hours and location of DDES, visit

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