Permit Overview

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Planning and Development Services (PDS) issues permits for a number of different activities including, but not limited to, building, earthwork (grade/fill), pluming, mechanical, utility and storm connections, permits for construction within and use of the right-of-way, overtime parking, and Land Use permits (rezone, conditional use, etc.).

Some work requires permitting from multiple agencies. Tacoma Public Utilities has a separate permitting process for Power (Electrical Permits & Inspection) and Water (Water Construction & Permits). Puget Sound Energy has additional permitting requirements for Gas (PSE Construction Permits). The Pierce County Health Department requires permits for specific uses such as restaurants (TPCHD Permitting), and if the site is located within a Critical Area there may be additional State Permits required by the Washington State Department of Ecology, Clean Air Agency, and/or Department of Fish and Wildlife. The property owner and/or applicant is solely responsible for ensuring that all required permits and licenses are obtained.


Resources for permit requirements can be found on our website at Potential applicants are encouraged to review the website and contact us to clarify any project-specific questions. This can be done by phone or by email.


Many of our permit fees are available online via the Fee Estimator tool. Questions concerning fees can also be directed to one of our Permit Specialists.

Credit/debit payments can be made online and require an online account (known as an Accela Citizen Access Account). This account can be set up online at:


In general, permits and pre-application requests should be submitted online through our Accela Citizen Access permitting portal. There are specific standards for plans that accompany these online requests. Occasionally, some simple permits can be reviewed and issued over-the-counter. Pre-application requests require, at a minimum, a rough sketch of a site plan and general project description.


Anticipated permit review times are posted on our website, and are based on average review times of the previous six months. The Level of Service (LOS) timelines provided online are only estimates.


Once an application has been submitted and the review has started, no additional documents will be authorized for upload until review consolidation has occurred and the status of the permit has been updated. Specific departmental requirements can often be dependent on another department’s review. The objective of the review consolidation process is to route a complete submittal to multiple staff for review at one time.

Any changes or additions made to the record mid-cycle may affect the LOS and complicate the review process. The website will provide an error if attempted. (Pre-application requests are not subject to this requirement, and additional attachments for pre-application requests can be uploaded at any time during the review process.)


While your permit is under review you will be able to see the progress and statuses of reviewers.  This page allows you to see which reviews are pending or have been completed and to verify if the reviewer has approved or if they are requiring revisions.  The review due dates shown in this section do not represent the overall Level of Service for the permit review cycle and can be updated by staff in order to internally coordinate reviews.


If revisions are required following the review, you will receive an email advising that the review has been completed and that a Comment Memo is available. A Comment Memo will include reference redlined corrections on plans, include staff comments, and include contact information and follow-up instructions. Documents that have been redlined for correction by staff will be uploaded to the record at the same time that the comment memo becomes available. The comment memo and redlined documents can be found within your permit record when you login to your account. The permit record is available by selecting the My Records link. Within the permit record, the documents are located under the drop down menu: Record Info > Attachments.


Once you have reviewed the comments and addressed the requirements, you will need to submit a response letter addressing each requirement, the revised documents and/or additional required documents that may have been missing from the previous submittal.


Once a permit has been approved by all staff, a Permit Specialist prepares the permit for issuance. An email will be sent when the permit is ready to be issued. Typically permits can be issued to the property owner; some permit types must be issued to a licensed and bonded contractor.


Inspections allow the City to verify that the work completed matches the designs submitted and approved. Inspections can be scheduled online or over the phone. A Permit Specialist or Inspector will be the best resource to confirm which inspections are required for your project.


Commercial Building Permits (and new Residential Construction) are issued a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO). For other permit types, the final inspection will be noted and signed off on the Inspection Card. These cards should be kept for your records as verification that the project has been inspected and approved by the City.

Once final inspections have been performed and the Application for Certificate of Occupancy approved, it will take one to two weeks to be reviewed and signed by the Building Official and sent to the address on file.


A permit will expire if the work authorized by the permit is not started within 180 days from issuance, or if the work authorized by the permit is suspended or abandoned for a period of 180 days after the time the work was started. If you are unable to start work or continue work within these requirements you may need to request an extension.

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