Permit Timeliness

Wonder how long permitting takes?

Permit Timeliness has helped 14 Washington state regulatory agencies understand better permit processing timeframes and if improvements may be needed. Since 2015, these agencies have continuously evaluated the customer experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to ORIA, who prepares and distributes reports, as well as posts agency-reported performance data by March 1 (for the previous calendar year) in the ORIA Central Repository hosted on, a public website.


On December 30, 2013, the State Auditor’s Office issued a performance audit report finding that state agencies could shorten the time it takes to submit, review and make decisions on business permit applications through simple improvements. In response to the performance audit findings, the Legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 2192, codified as Chapter 43.42A RCW, which became effective June 12, 2014.

This law requires certain agencies to track and record the time it takes to make permitting decisions for business permit applications. The Legislature had determined that providing the public and businesses with better information about permit decisions would assist with planning and decision-making and promote economic development. The Legislature also determined that making permit performance data readily accessible to the public helps hold government accountable to a high level of customer service and timeliness.

In response to legal mandates, agencies began tracking permits for timeliness in 2015.

Comprehensive Progress Reports

ORIA published the first comprehensive report for permit timeliness on December 31, 2015; the second comprehensive report on September 30, 2016; the third comprehensive report on September 30, 2018; and the fourth comprehensive report on September 30, 2020. These reports display performance data as well as highlight agency improvement efforts, such as modernizing technology to make permit processes more convenient and efficient for customers.

Regulatory Handbook

The Regulatory Handbook is an additional resource for the permit details and links to regulatory agency websites. The handbook is searchable for local, state and federal permit information. In addition to performance data on permit timeliness, the handbook also contains the following for each permit:

  • In-depth permit information
  • Details about the "why" and "when"
  • Links to relevant state and federal statutes
  • An explanation about permit cost(s)