Submittal Process


Whatcom County Planning and Development Services (PDS) now requires all residential applications be prescreened by staff in order to obtain an appointment for submittal of an application.  All building permits large and small need to go through a prescreen (residential) or preapplication (commercial--by appointment)
  • For residential prescreens you do not need an appointment--you can walk in Monday-Friday 8:30am to 4:00pm. You will need:
    • Parcel number
    • Scaled site plan with all structures, water source, septic system & set back from property lines
    • Construction plans (if your plans are not complete--you can do an initial prescreen but you have to come back in with your plans and they have to be reviewed before an appointment will be scheduled)
    • Your Natural Resources Assessment Case Number if you have already submitted an application for review of Critical Areas on your building site.
  • During the prescreen Planning, Natural Resources & Plans Examining staff will determine what specific requirements may be applicable to your project and give you a checklist of items to complete and applications needed.
  • When your checklist and all items requiring reviews are complete you can schedule your building permit intake appointment.
  • Person being helped at the county of the Permit Center
    To apply for a building permit, you need to fill out the 3-page application form found in the Building Permit Application packet. Included in the packet are instructions, a list of all required information for a complete application, and the application form (fillable format) that must be filled out completely and turned in at your application appointment.

    Appointments for residential, residential accessory and agricultural building applications are available Monday through Friday in the morning. Commercial application appointments are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the afternoon. 

    Once your prescreening is complete and you have worked through any required natural resource items, you can schedule an appointment by calling us at 360-778-5900 and have your contact information and 16-digit Tax Parcel number ready.

    Issuance of Permit
    Depending on your project, we may be able to issue your permit at the end of your appointment. If that is not the case, the applicant will be notified by phone after all reviews are complete that the permit is ready to be issued and what fees are owing. The applicant will need to come in to the office to sign for the permit and pay the fees. This cannot be done online or by phone. Fees may be paid by check, cash or credit card.