Carport Additions

A carport is defined as a parking structure open on at least 2 sides that is attached or detached from your single family residence. This type of structure is regulated by the International Residential Code (IRC) intended for detached one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses 3 stories or less.

The City of Kirkland requires a permit to add a carport of any size to your property, including pre-manufactured building kits that are purchased from home improvement stores.

STEP 1: Determine if you have adequate space on your property to add a carport

Ask a Planner to assist you with determining an allowable location and allowable size of a carport addition. Things like lot coverage and required setbacks will need to be discussed.

The planner will be able to look up your property on our maps and review with you the options you have to determine if there is room on the property for the carport. Generally most single family lots are regulated by land use requirements to protect the visual appearance, compatibility and use of property in the city with regard to front, side and rear yards. A “yard” is the space between your actual building and the property line. It might also include setbacks from water or environmentally sensitive areas such as steep slopes.

If the Planner determines that you have adequate space for a carport, you can move on to Step 2.

STEP 2: Determine what building code requirements need to be met

Following a conversation with a Planner in Step 1, ask a Plans Examiner to assist you with questions you might have regarding building permits.  The plans examiner will be able to go over building code issues with you.

There are two basic building code items to address when evaluating requirements for a carport: 1) Distance from property lines and other buildings on your property, and 2) Structural design. These are discussed below:

Distance from property lines:

The building codes evaluate “Fire Separation Distance” which is used to determine fire ratings for walls and limitations on openings in the walls as a means of protecting the structure from fires on neighboring properties and to aid in the prevention of spreading fires.  

In general, if a building or structure is less than 5 ft from a property line, the nearest wall parallel to the property line will need to be 1-hr fire-rated. Greater than 5 ft requires no fire protection.

Structural design:

All carport structures require lateral engineering analysis and designs to address lateral loads acting on the structure (wind and seismic), as well as gravity engineering to adequately support snow loads and the weight of the structure itself.

If interested in purchasing a pre-manufactured carport, or a ready-to-assemble carport kit, we would advise to verify that the structure includes engineering by a current WA State licensed engineer. If it does not have such engineering, chances are it will not comply with current codes and will not be permitted.

STEP 3: Apply for a building permit

When applying for a permit:

  • A Site Plan shall be provided to show the location of the carport, in relation to other structures and property lines. Lot coverage calculations and setbacks shall be shown.
  • Building Elevations shall be provided to represent what the 4 sides of the carport will look like, along with dimensions showing the structure height.
  • Foundation, Floor and Roof Framing Plans with dimensions shall be provided, indicating footing sizes and depths, reinforcing, post and wall locations, etc. All structural members shall be identified, and all positive connections between the structural members shall be indicated. Method of roof drainage shall be indicated.
  • In addition to actual dead loads for gravity design, seismic and wind loads shall be considered for lateral design. The carport roof shall be able to support a minimum of 25 psf for snow load.
  • Any structural calculations that have been used in the design of the carport structure shall be provided.
  • Other building permit application requirements can be found on the Building Permit Checklist.

Apply for a permit

STEP 4: Plan Review

Once a permit application is accepted, the typical initial review time for a carport is 2 weeks (if it qualifies for Fast Track review). Following the initial review period, the permit will be issued if no corrections to the plans are required, or a correction letter will be sent out and must be responded to before the permit can be issued.