Tent, Canopy, and Air Structure Permits

Tents, Canopies, and Air Structures at the University of WA (Seattle Campus)

Note: EH&S no longer issues permits for tents and canopies on the Seattle campus. Please follow the instructions below for obtaining the required permit based on the structure type you will be using.

Depending on the size (see below), setting up temporary structures such as tents, canopies, and inflatables, requires a fire code permit.

For events on UW's Seattle campus, groups wanting to erect tents or host events should contact the Special Events Section of the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) directly. Basic information can be found on their Web site, or they can be reached by phone at (206) 386-1355. Allow for at least 10 calendar days prior ro the event to avoid a late fee. For major special events, SFD usually requires 30 days notice.

For other University locations, contact your local fire department/district.

Tents and Canopies

A permit is required for tents with any walls that cover 400 square feet. This applies whether the tent has only a single wall or is fully enclosed.

Large tent - over 400 square feet
Fully enclosed tent larger than 400 sf.: permit required.

If no walls are included, groupings of open-sided tents or canopies that cover an area of over 700 square feet or have less than 12 feet of clearance to other tents or buildings may also require permits.

Open sided tent/canopy
Example of an open sided tent/canopy; permit required.

Air supported and air inflated structures also require a fire code permit.

Air Supported Structures

Air supported structures are those where the shape of the structure is obtained by air pressure but occupants typically do not enter the structure--a giant movie screen is an example.

inflatable movie screen
Inflatable movie screen.

Air Inflated Structures

Air inflated structures are those where the shape of the structure is obtained by air pressure and occupants can enter or climb on top of the structure. Examples include giant slides and “bouncy houses” (examples below).

air supported structures
Air supported structures.

bouncy house inflatable structure
"Bouncy" room.