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: AT THIS TIME, DUE TO GOVERNOR INSLEE’S STAY HOME-STAY HEALTHY ORDER WE ARE ONLY ACCEPTING INSPECTION REQUESTS FOR EMERGENCY REPAIR OR INSPECTIONS ON CONSTRUCTION RELATED TO ESSENTIAL ACTIVITIES. VIEW  AMENDED FULL STAY HOME-STAY HEALTHY ORDER 20-25.1, WA ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE APPENDIX AND VIEW GUIDANCE MEMO ON CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES. Please call our office at 360-778-5900 to discuss your inspection request.  We will only consider scheduling inspections if it is an approved project as stated by the Stay Home Stay Healthy Proclamation (20-25). If an inspection is scheduled, our inspectors will be maintaining appropriate social distancing protocols when on site.
    • For occupied buildings we prefer to postpone those types of inspections until it is appropriate perform them or the inspection can be done "virtually" via SKype or another service, this would have to be arranged in advance. Please call the main office line with questions, to arrange or for more information.
    • Social Distancing protocols--This may seem a bit unusual but in order to provide inspection services without risking customer and our Inspectors further exposure, implementing social distancing is the only way we can ensure the service be provided. While performing site inspections the Inspector will need to be able to control the social distancing protocols on site.
      • For example: if an inspector is conducting a system rough-in inspection and perhaps a few other trades people are working immediately within the area to be inspected.  The Inspector may ask the trades person to take a short break or leave the area for just a few short moments until the inspection in that area is concluded.  We will obviously try to limit our interactions and not disrupt ongoing work but we ask for cooperation while we all get through these challenges together.
  • 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.

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.