Building Services

Whatcom County Government are temporarily closed to public “in person” services. (Our lobby/Permit Centers will be closed to the public.) However, we are still very much “open for business”. We will continue to provide services for permit processing and staff will be available to assist customers and the public via telephone, email and video conferencing options.

We encourage our customers to utilize the following online and telephone options:

How Do I?

  • Request a Building Inspection--

    PLEASE NOTE: We will perform inspections on projects consistent with the Governor’s Phase 2 Construction Requirements. There are resources available to help you develop your job site safety plan through Building Industry Association of Washington and at the Associated General Contractor’s Website
    We are receiving a large volume of requests and may not be able to schedule your inspection the next day.  We will contact you if we need to reschedule.
    Please request online or call 360-778-5902.

    If an inspection is scheduled, our inspectors will be following strict protocols when on site. Please review this protocol document to ensure compliance.

  • Submit a Residential Building Permit Prescreen--complete this fillable form and email it along with at a minimum the following: project narrative (what do you want to do?), site plan and preliminary structural plans to
  • Get a Commercial Building Permit Prescreen--please send an email request and information
  • Contact PDS
  • Submit an application or permit--email with your application materials and our staff will review and get back to you with instructions and questions.
  • Pay for my permit--To pay for your permit or application you will receive an email from staff with the permit balance due.  Once you have received this information you can pay for your permit by the following options:
    • Credit or Debit Card. Call 360-778-5900 to arrange payment. (there is a 2.35% transaction fee on credit cards, $1.00 for debit cards.)
    • Mail a check payable to Whatcom County Planning to 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham WA 98226. (please include your permit number on the check)
  • Get my permit issued--once your permit fees are paid, staff can email you a .pdf version of your permit and plan set. 
    • If you had previously submitted a hard copy version of your plans, the building service inspector can provide you with your "Job site copy" at your pre-construction meeting (i.e. first inspection)
    • You can also request PDS Staff snail mail you your permit and "Job Site Copy" of your plans or you can request to pick up your plan drawings at our office. Permits ready for pick up will be left outside under our covered foyer during business hours.
  • Get a building permit extension--we have approved a policy related to permit extensions during this difficult time. When your building permit comes close to the expiration date, our staff will be granting you an automatic 6 month extension. (this may happen more than once) We hope this allows you extra time to make progress on your project.  This policy will be in effect until the situation improves and the policy is rescinded.

Staff & Responsibilities

Whatcom County Building Services Division includes the following staff:
  • Building Official / Division Manager
  • Coordinator
  • Fire Marshal: The Building Services Division also encompasses the Fire Marshal’s Office, which includes the Fire Marshal and Fire Inspectors.
  • Planners and Permit Center Technician: These members are located at the front counter and they greet the public, provide direct customer service, and process permit applications.
  • Plans Examiners: These members provide customer service and review, process, and comment on the full range of building and development permits.
  • Public Service Inspectors: These members provide customer service and perform the complete spectrum of required life / safety inspections.