Do you need a permit?

Per Kirkland Municipal Code Section 21.06.205, a permit must be obtained prior to constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing, moving, demolishing, or changing a building or electrical, mechanical, or plumbing system.

In some circumstances, permits may be exempt per Kirkland Municipal Code Section 21.06.215.

Take a look at the examples below to see some of the most commonly asked about projects. 

Common Projects that DO require a permit

These are just some examples, and are not all inclusive, as to what work requires a permit. See the Kirkland Municipal Code Section 21.06.205 for more information.

  • Carport construction
  • Deck construction (greater than 30" above grade)
  • Dock repairs and modifications
  • Exterior door, window and skylight installations that require a new opening
  • Electrical circuit and service extensions or alterations
  • Fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and gas inserts
  • Garage conversions to living space
  • Garbage and recycling enclosures(PDF, 77KB)
  • Home-business conversions
  • Interior remodels
  • Creating or registering a mother-in-law apartment or accessory dwelling unit (ADU)
  • Furnace installation
  • Tenant improvement for your commercial business(PDF, 132KB)
  • Water heater installation
  • Gas piping installations or modifications
  • Sheetrock (drywall) removal or installation
  • Tree removal
  • Addition, removal or relocation of walls, whether load-bearing or not
  • New hose bibs or drinking fountains
  • Irrigation system installation
  • Rockeries and retaining walls (over 4' in height)
  • In-ground or above-ground swimming pools and swim spas 2' deep or deeper
  • Above-ground prefabricated pools over 5,000 gallons
  • Sidewalk cafes
  • Spas and saunas
  • Temporary use(PDF, 226KB) of the right-of-way (dumpsters, moving trucks, etc.)
  • Soil removal or fill (over 50 cubic yards or if course of drainage changes)
  • Re-roof(PDF, 89KB) involving structural elements (such as sheathing, skylights, mechanical equipment, etc.) 
  • Window installation

Common Projects that DO NOT Require a Permit

Exemptions from permit requirements shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of the technical codes or any other laws or ordinances of the City of Kirkland. For new or replacement structures, contact the Planning Department to determine what zoning regulations apply. See the Kirkland Municipal Code Section 21.06.215 for more information.

NOTE: Permit exemptions shall not apply to areas of flood hazard, wetland, steep slope, shoreline or other land use critical areas. Use the Property Search Tool to generate a Parcel Report for the project address to see if any of these critical areas apply.

  • One-story detached accessory structures (accessory to one- or two-family dwellings) used as tool or storage sheds that are 200 square feet or less in area and 12 feet or less in height (vehicle storage is not exempt) 
  • One-story play structures, playhouses and similar structures (accessory to one- or two-family dwellings) that are 200 square feet or less in area and 12 feet or less in height 
  • One-story tree-supported play structures (accessory to one- or two-family dwellings) that are 200 square feet or less in area 
  • Sidewalks, decks and driveways 30 inches or less above grade, which are not located over a basement or story below, and which are not part of an accessible route 
  • Tree pruning
  • Fences(PDF, 265KB) that are 6 feet or less in height 
  • Like-in-kind re-roofing(PDF, 89KB) of one- and two-family dwellings, provided the roof sheathing is not removed or replaced 
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work, provided the existing accessibility features are not altered 
  • Replacement of non-structural siding on one- or two-family dwellings (except for veneer, stucco or EIFS) 
  • Like in-kind appliance and fixture replacement (such as dishwashers, ovens, toilets, sinks) in the same location, provided no modifications are made to gas lines, plumbing lines or electrical circuits 
  • Temporary decorative lighting (to be removed within 90 days of putting it up)
  • Window replacement, like-in-kind
  • Job shacks (portable structures for which the primary purpose is to serve as a temporary office during construction activity of a large development)


Prior to starting work, contact Development Services if you have any doubt whether or not a permit is required.

If you determine that a permit is required, use, the one-stop portal for development service applications, inspection scheduling, permit status information, and tip sheets. Once there, you will be guided through the application process.

 Apply for a permit