Tacoma, Washington, is working hard to keep up with Seattle. The town is an interesting mix of old, new, natural, and urban. With salt water on three sides and steep coastlines, building here has some geographic challenges. So if you have a building project coming up in Tacoma, it’s especially important to plan and get the right permits.
The entire permit process is unified at one online portal: TacomaPermits.org. Register for an account, then take it from there. You’ll fill out a pre-application request that will ask you about your project.
Once you submit your request, you’ll be contacted within two business days. They will schedule a meeting with you to discuss what types of permits you’ll need, your plans, and the zoning for your proposed construction.
The Frequently Asked Questions section will help you with some issues unique to Tacoma. Here you can find out what licenses you’ll need and when you’ll need mechanical and plumbing permits. You’ll also learn how to estimate your fees and check the status of your permit.
Because of Tacoma’s proximity to marine life, you must take special care when handling storm water. If your project causes the discharge of stormwater from one or more acres of land or is part of a larger development, you’ll need a special permit from the Department of Ecology. Contact the DOE at 360-407-7451 or apply online.
You must have a special Department of Ecology permit for an industrial facility that discharges storm water to a surface body of water or a sewer system.
If you’re planning to work anywhere near Tacoma’s abundant shoreline, read about the Shoreline Master Program. The program aims to protect water quality, marine life, and the physical structure of the shoreline.
Contact the City through its online portal. Schedule a meeting even if you think it’s unnecessary. At the very least, you’ll make yourself known, which could help for future communication.
To build in Washington, first determine if you are a general contractor of a specialty contractor. Then get an EIN from the IRS. Register your business with the Secretary of State, and complete an application for contractor registration. Get a Washington contractor license bond and general liability insurance. Pay the registration fee and submit all your documents to the Department of Labor and Industries.
You can’t start the job without proper insurance in place. A general liability policy for contractors will protect your workers in case of injury. It will also cover your equipment in case of damage and your business in case of litigation. If your work causes bodily harm or material damage down the road, lawyers may come after your business’s assets. You should carry between $500,000 and $1 million in general liability coverage.
Your job may involve working off the ground. If so, consider renting an aerial lift. Manlifts, forklifts, boom lifts, and scissor lifts are all specialized machines that will get your workers and equipment up to the work site safely.
The requirements for construction projects in large cities like Tacoma are complicated. Contractors must be specially prepared and organized before starting a job.