Deferred Submittals

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What is a deferred submittal?
A deferred submittal is a portion of the design that is not provided at the time of a permit application. For example, an applicant may propose to defer submittal of a roof truss or stair design.

When the applicant elects to defer submittal of certain items, the Building Official has the responsibility of determining whether such a request is appropriate or not. For a deferred submittal to be allowed, the building (BLD) permit application must have enough information for review and approval.

Other situations:
Mechanical and plumbing permits are separate permits, but may be reviewed and issued concurrently with the building permit.  The applicant may choose to submit mechanical and plumbing permits at any point after the building permit however they will be reviewed in accordance with the timelines posted on our website.

Electrical permits must be obtained separately by the applicant’s electrical contractor/engineer from Tacoma Public Utilities.  For more information on electrical permits visit

Fire permits such as fire sprinkler and fire alarm are obtained separately by the contractors performing the work.

A phased approval differs from a deferred submittal in that construction of a foundation or any other part of a building may be issued a permit prior to submittal of the construction documents for the whole structure. In this instance the holder of the permit is responsible proceeds at their own risk without the assurance that a permit for the entire structure will be granted.

Processing of a deferred submittal is charged at a rate of one hour of additional plan review. The fee is added to the cost of the associated building permit.

Review Process
If a project includes deferred submittals, the applicant must call out which items are being deferred on the cover sheet of the architectural drawings.

The applicant will also need to authorize a Registered Design Professional in charge of confirming that the deferred submittal(s) are in conformance with the previously submitted drawings for the project.

When the building permit is issued, a separate record for each deferred submittal is created (DEF). These DEF records will be listed as child records to the main building permit. All child record numbers associated with the BLD application will be listed at the bottom of the BLD permit inspection card. The final inspection for the BLD permit will not occur until all child records are reviewed and approved.

Deferred submittals have separate review timelines posted online at The applicant is responsible for reviewing the construction schedule to determine if deferred submittals or phased approvals meet the project needs. 

Benefits of Deferring
When a component of the project for a building or site is still in design, it may be beneficial for review to begin for the component that is ready to submit.

Risks of Deferring

The Building Permit application (parent permit) may not have enough information for review and approval.  In such cases, the Building Official retains the right to require revisions to the permit documents that may have originally been proposed to be deferred.

Any construction under a parent permit is “at the holder’s own risk” and “without assurance that a permit for the entire structure will be granted.”


Electronic File Standards

Permit Review Level of Service

Permit Types

Pre-Application Meetings

Resource Library

Online Submittal
When submitting for the parent permit (building permit), remember to indicate that you are deferring submittal of certain items. In addition to selecting the option for deferred submittals in the application, the items that are being deferred must be noted on the cover sheet of the architectural drawings.


After staff has had a chance to review plans for intake, they will make a note that deferred submittals have been requested, and separate records will be created (DEFs).

Plans associated with the deferred submittal should be uploaded directly to the DEF record when they are ready to be submitted.

    • If the plans are sufficient for approval, they will be signed off by the reviewer and issued. You do not need to pick up deferred submittal plans in person. The DEF permit will be marked as approved online.
    • If revisions are necessary, the reviewer will make a note on the plans and a permit specialist will contact you to let you know that revisions are required.
    • You can check the status of deferred submittal online:
      • Log onto your ACA account
      • Select Home, then My Records
      • Under the listed Permits, you can view all active permits, including DEFs, and see which ones have been approved.

      • Select the permit number, then the Record Info drop-down box. Open the attachments. The approved DEF plan will be stamped as approved. Print this stamped plan and keep it on site with the building permit plans for the inspector to reference at Final Inspection.

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