Common questions about obtaining permits.
am I required to get a permit?
Permits are required for any new construction and alterations or
additions to existing buildings, including structural, plumbing,
mechanical, electrical, manufactured dwelling, boiler, and elevator
work. However, there are some exceptions to permit requirements.
If you are not sure whether or not you need a permit, call the jurisdiction
responsible for your area.
building permit is required to:
Add a room.
Build, demolish, or move a carport, garage, or shed. (Check
with your local jurisdiction for exceptions.)
Finish an attic, garage, or basement to make additional living
Cut a new window or door opening, or widen existing openings.
Move, remove, or add walls.
Apply roofing when all old roofing is removed and new sheathing
Build a stairway.
Build a retaining wall.
Build a deck more than 30 inches above grade.
Put up a fence more than six feet high.
Move more than 50 cubic yards of earth or any amount of cut
or fill on sites affected by waterways or slope hazards.
electrical permit is required to:
To install or alter any permanent wiring or electrical device.
Run any additional wiring, put in an electrical outlet or
light fixture, install receptacle for a garage-door opener, or convert
from fuse box to circuit breakers.
To install or alter low-voltage systems such as security
alarms or stereo or computer systems.
plumbing permit is required to:
water heaters, alter piping inside a wall or ceiling or beneath
a floor, and for plumbing in all new installations.
Do emergency repair, alteration, or replacement of freeze-damaged
or leaking concealed piping, if new piping exceeds 3 feet.
Remodel or add onto your one-or two-family dwelling when
existing plumbing is to be relocated. This includes installation
of building sewers, water service, and rain drains outside the building.
plumbing permit is not required:
When a property owner does ordinary
minor repairs to plumbing systems on his or her own property. "Ordinary
minor repairs" means repair, replacement, or maintenance of
existing accessible fixtures, parts, and appliances and their related
water and drain attachments. Do not alter an existing plumbing system
without a permit.
When a property
owner or licensed plumber performs emergency repairs to, or replacement
of, freeze-damaged or leaking concealed piping, provided new piping
doesn't exceed 3 feet in length.
If you are not sure if you need a permit, call the building
department responsible for your area.
mechanical permit is required to:
Install or change any part
of a heating
or cooling system that must be vented into any kind of chimney,
including unvented decorative appliances.
Install a woodstove, fireplace insert, pellet stove, or related
Install, alter, or repair gas piping between the meter and
an appliance (indoors or outdoors).
Install bath fans, dryer exhausts, kitchen range exhausts,
and appliances that are required to be vented.
do I have to buy a permit to build on my own property?
Oregon law requires you to obtain permits
- even on your own property - to ensure that minimum building standards
are met for your own safety and for the safety of future property
owners and occupants.
is responsible for obtaining permits?
The property owner or contractor is responsible
for obtaining structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and
manufactured dwelling setup permits. For electrical work, Oregon
law requires that if an electrical contractor performs the work,
the contractor is responsible for obtaining the permit. Electrical
permits are non-transferable.
do I obtain a construction permit?
To get a construction permit, you must complete
a permit application. Permit applications are available from the
local building department in your area. Take or mail the permit
application to your local planning department for required land
use approval and to the local sanitation authority or Department
of Environmental Quality for required sanitation or septic approval.
Information that may be required includes:
The address and legal description of the property.
A description of the work proposed.
The owner's name, address, and phone number.
If a contractor is doing the work, the contractor's name,
address, phone number, and state license number.
Generally two sets of plans for new construction of homes
or remodeling that clearly show all work on the building and where
the building sits on the property. Typical plans include a site
plan, floor plans, and cross sections showing construction details.
can I start work?
When an actual construction permit is issued
to you, work can begin. The permit must be available on the job
site and available to the inspector. If you've submitted plans and
specifications, one set of plans stamped "Approved" will
be returned to you. These approved plans, along with the construction
permit, must be available on the job site and available to the inspector.
do I get an inspection?
Any work done under a permit
must be inspected by a certified inspector.
You may call the inspection request
line at the building department in your area within 24 hours of
completion of any phase of the project. A minimum of 24 hours notice
is usually required for inspections.. When you call, you will be
asked for the permit number, homeowner's name, project address,
type of inspection needed, and date on which inspection is desired.
Unless all of the work is outside and accessible, an adult needs
to be at the site to provide access for the inspector.
am I required to obtain local zoning approval?
Before submitting permit applications, you
are required to obtain local land use/zoning approval for any new
structure and for any work that increases the area or height of
a structure or changes the use of a structure. You may be required
to obtain local zoning approval for electrical and plumbing work
before a permit will be issued. For more information, contact your
local planning zoning department.
do I get permits?
You can get permits by calling or visiting
the local building department in the area where you plan to perform
I get a permit application by mail or fax?
Yes. Call the local building department in
do I determine fees for a permit?
Fee schedules and valuation tables are available
to help you determine permit fees. Call the jurisdiction for your
does my permit expire?
Your permit expires if work isn't started
within 180 days from the date of issue. Once you have begun work,
your permit expires if work is suspended or abandoned for 180 days
or more. If you can't work within a 180-day period and don't wish
to abandon the project, you may submit a written request to extend
your permit for an additional 180-day period.
do I need a plumbing permit to replace or install a water heater?
Oregon law requires plumbing permits for water
heaters because of fire, electric shock, or explosion safety hazards.
do I have to hire an architect or engineer to design my project
and prepare the plans?
An architect or engineer is not required for
any occupancy building that has a ground area of 4,000 square feet
or less and is 20 feet high or less, or any farm agricultural building,
or any accessory building to a single family dwelling or farm agricultural
building. You must have engineered plans for alterations or repairs
to the structural portion of existing buildings with a ground area
of more than 4,000 square feet or more than 20 feet in height, or
when the occupancy classification requires a fire-and-life-safety
review, regardless of the building's size.
are plans required?
You must submit structural plans or drawings
for any new construction, or for addition or alteration to an existing
building. You also must submit plans for commercial plumbing projects.
Plans aren't required for nonstructural repairs and work for which
a permit isn't required. However, a change in use or occupancy may
require plans even though there are no structural alterations. Check
with your local planning or zoning department to determine whether
a permit for change in use or occupancy is required.
technical information do I need to submit with my plans?
You may be required to submit some or all
of the following: plot map, floor plans, specifications, elevations,
mechanical, plumbing, & electrical drawings, foundation plan,
energy documentation, structural calculations, and required fire-protection
equipment. For information, call the building department in
a permit be issued before the plan review is approved?
No. All plans must be approved before permits
are issued. However, with special permission from the local building
department, a partial permit for footing only or foundation and
footing only may be issued.
can I contact a plans examiner or inspector?
You may contact a plans examiner or inspector
by calling your local building department.
the reason for the surcharge on all building permits?
The State of Oregon collects a surcharge on
all building permits to pay the state's costs of administering building
codes programs (five percent), inspection (two percent), training
and other educational programs (one percent), and e-permitting (four