Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Building Policy Update

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (Seattle DCI—formerly DPD) has completed the validation of the URM building inventory list. The validation process involved combining all the lists available from previous studies into one list, removing the duplicates, and verifying if the remaining buildings contain URM bearing walls. The verification process used publicly available data in the form of exterior views of the buildings, building plans from Seattle DCI’s microfilm library, and historical documents from the Seattle Public Library.

We have posted the validated list on the project website at www.seattle.gov/dpd/urm under “Project Documents.” (updated 2023 list) The validation has confirmed that there are 1164 URM buildings located throughout Seattle.

In addition to the validated list, we posted a report to the policy committee on the website at the same location. The report contains an extensive analysis of the data about the URM building stock. There are maps showing the locations of the URMs and charts showing the different sizes of the buildings, different occupancies, and the building retrofit status, along with many other attributes.

Seattle DCI notified the building owners by mail in early April 2016 that their buildings are on the list of confirmed URMs. All building owners have the right to appeal the determination of URM building status by hiring an engineer to perform an in-depth analysis of the building to determine if the building does not contain any URM bearing walls. This in-depth analysis is beyond the scope of what the City could do in our validation efforts.

At this point we do not have a definite date at which we will reconvene the URM Policy Committee. Seattle DCI will continue to provide periodic updates on the website and to the email list.

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