First Time Builders

Builder Information

Couple Plan Review The first thing to do for a first time builder in San Juan County is to visit the Department of Community and Development - either in person or online. DCD located in Friday Harbor at 135 Rhone Street.  You can visit their website HERE.

There are a few basic fire and life safety rules that all new buildings must meet:

  • There must be an access road that is at least 12 feet wide, extending to within 150 feet of the building

  • Residential structures need to have access to at least 10,000 gallons of water for use by firefighters.  Commercial structures need at least 30,000 gallons.
  • Water sources can be in the form of fire hydrants, ponds or tanks.
  • Water sources can be shared with neighboring properties.
  • Structures with more than 4,000 square feet of floor area must be protected by a fire sprinkler system.
  • On a case-by-case basis, some elements of driveway access, the availability as well as the size of the water source can be traded for fire sprinklers.
General Builder Information
Local amendments to the building codes that have been adopted by the State of Washington can be found in the County Code

Permit/Fire Documents

Contact the Fire Marshal to obtain a fire alarm permit application, emergency vehicle access standards and typical water supply drawings.

Contractor Building To Fire 

Make sure your architect, engineer and draftsman are incorporating the latest building codes and fire standards into your building and site plans. Contact us for plan review or more information

Fire Marshal Permit Process

Except for fire alarm system permits, all permit applications are processed through CD&P. Building projects that require a review by the Fire Marshal will be forwarded by CD&P.  Any notes or requirements from the Fire Marshal will be returned to CD&P and become part of the permit application.  The builder can work directly with CD&P throughout the entire process.  Of course, you're also welcome to call or drop in to the Fire Marshal's Office if you have any questions.

Since electrical systems are regulated by the State rather than the County, a permit application for a fire alarm system should be submitted directly to the Fire Marshal's Office: 1011 Mullis Street in Friday Harbor.