What kind of work requires a building permit?
Most new construction, remodeling, and repair work that affect a building or structure will require a permit. The State of Washington under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 19.27 and Cowlitz County have adopted the International Building, and Residential Codes, International Mechanical Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, and the International Fire Code as minimum construction standards for the state and Cowlitz County. While outlining minimum standards, these codes require permits to be issued, and inspections to be performed in order to verify compliance to the minimum construction standards.

Specialists from Building, Planning, and Environmental Health are available to help you determine what permitting will be required for your project or if you may have an exemption.

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1. What kind of work requires a building permit?
2. What is a Subdivision?
3. What design criteria do I need to meet?
4. What is a Short Subdivision?
5. How do I determine the Zoning or Comprehensive Plan designation of my lot?
6. What does ‘Unzoned’ [UZ] mean?
7. Is Unzoned land compatible with home construction?
8. What is the minimum acreage for subdivision?
9. Can I start the Planning Clearance process prior to purchasing the land?
10. I am trying to determine project feasibility, can I set up a meeting to talk about the process?
11. What is a Staff Consultation?
12. Does Cowlitz County charge Growth Management Act (GMA) impact fees?
13. I want to build a shop. What is my first required permit?
14. I want to build a house. What is my first required permit?
15. My lot needs an address, what are my options?
16. I need guidance on my multi-family project, where do I start?
17. My building site is near a stream or river, what options do I have?
18. My lot has a mapped landslide, what options do I have?
19. Is stormwater review necessary?
20. The lot is currently forested, should I harvest the trees first or talk to the Planning Department?
21. What is an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)?
22. I want to build a second home on my lot for my aging parent(s) or caregiver, what options do I have?
23. Can I rent out my ADU to a non-family member?
24. Can I build an ADU in an Unzoned area?
25. Where can I build a three unit development consisting of the primary dwelling, and two ADU’s?
26. How many additional on-site parking spaces are required for the ADU?
27. Can I use my household well and septic system for my new ADU?