AMMR Records

Click here to open a PDF version of this tip sheet. 

What is an AMMR?

AMMR is an acronym for Alternative Means and Methods Request. An AMMR is a request to the City of Tacoma Building Official for either a code modification, or use of an alternate material, system, or method.  These apply to the City of Tacoma adopted Building Codes, which include the currently adopted versions of the International Building Code, International Residential Code, International Existing Building Code, International Mechanical Code, International Fuel Gas Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, and Washington State Energy Code.

How do I know if I need an AMMR?

If you are unable to meet the prescriptive requirements of a requirement or requirements in the City of Tacoma Building Codes, you can either re-design the project to comply with code or else submit an AMMR to the Building Official for consideration.  If you decide that you cannot comply with the code, first of all, you need to determine if you are asking for a code modification or a code alternate.

A code modification is a waiver of a code requirement that is intended to provide flexibility to the Building Official where there are practical difficulties in meeting specific code requirements.

A code alternate is use of a different material, system, or method for which the code did not anticipate.  Essentially, a code alternate is intended to meet a performance standard rather than a prescriptive standard.

When do I submit an AMMR?

An AMMR can be submitted at any time during a project, either before permit submittal, during plan review, or during construction.  Please keep in mind that the Building Official may not accept the proposal, and if so, the applicant must either re-design their project to comply with code, or else appeal the Building Official’s decision to the Board of Building Appeals.

When there is an Alternate Methods and Materials Request an AMMR record needs to be created. This tip sheet provides quidance on using the Tacoma Permitting (ACA) site for applicants to create a record and make the request.

What information do I need to provide? 

For a code modification, the proposal must be able to show that it is in conformance with the intent and purpose of the code and the modification, together with other safety features of the building or other relevant circumstances, will provide a reasonable level of strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability, safety, accessibility and sanitation.

For a code alternate, the proposal is expected to demonstrate that the alternate does not conflict with the code and together with other safety features of the building or other relevant circumstances, will provide an equivalent level of strength, effectiveness, fire resistances, durability, safety, accessibility and sanitation.

When engaged for the project, the registered design professional in responsible charge shall submit the request for a code alternate under their seal and signature, including a statement that in their professional opinion, the modification meets the intent of the code or alternate is equivalent to the code provisions.

What is the process after I submit an AMMR?

The AMMR will go through an intake screening process with a building plans examiner to help in determining if the Building Official has enough information to evaluate the request.  After it has been screened, you may be required to submit additional information.  After screening, the AMMR will go to the Building Official for review.  After the Building Official makes a determination, you will be notified if it has been approved, denied, or approved with conditions.  If an AMMR has been denied, the Building Official will provide a reason for the denial, and a revised AMMR could be submitted if necessary.

How to Create AMMR Records

  1. Go to the City of Tacoma ACA online permit page: https://aca.accela.com/tacoma/Default.aspx
  2. Log-in and select “Apply for a Permit”.
  3. SELECT “Commercial Building” and in the drop down click on the radial button for “Alternate Means and Methods Request”.

Click images to enlarge.

4. Enter the address or parcel number for the project.

5. After selecting the property address or parcel click on continue application and complete the next page including all individuals associated with the project.

6. Provide a brief description of the request for an alternate means and methods. Include any related building permit in the description.

7. Download and fill out the Alternate Means and Methods form here: http://tacomapermits.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Code-Alternate-Request-to-Building-Official.docx

8. Click on “Add Attachments” and upload the “Alternate Means and Methods Request” form along with any associated documents.

9. Review your application. If everything appears to be correct click on “Continue Application”.

10. You will need to repeat steps 1 – 9 for any additional Alternate Means and Methods Request.