Text Size: A+| A-| A   |   Text Only Site   |   Accessibility
Information you need to do building and remodeling projects right the first time and protect the safety and value of your home.
 

When do I need an structural permit?

Safety first
For your safety, your family's safety, and the safety of future occupants - and to avoid expensive mistakes - do not perform any electrical work that is beyond your skill level.
When do I need a building (structural) permit?
What can I do without a permit?
Where do I get a permit?
What information will I need to get a permit?
Who must review my project?
Who gets the permit?
How long does it take to get a permit?
When can work start?
How do I get an inspection?
Things to do
 
When do I need a building (structural) permit?

A permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter, move or demolish any one- or two-family dwelling or related structure.

For example:

  • add a room
  • build, move, or in some cases demolish a carport, garage, or shed of more than 200 square feet
  • finish an attic, garage, or basement to make additional living space
  • cut a new window or door opening, or widen existing openings
  • move, remove, or add walls
  • apply roofing when all of the old roofing is removed and new sheathing is installed
  • build a stairway
  • build a retaining wall more than four feet high
  • build a deck more than 30 inches above grade
  • put up a fence more than six feet high

If you are not sure you need a permit, call the building department responsible for your area.

Back to top
 
What can I do without a permit?

You do not need a permit to do the following minor repairs and maintenance on a one- or two-family dwelling:

  • paint buildings that are not historic landmarks
  • blow insulation into existing homes
  • put up storm windows
  • install window awnings not more than 54 inches deep (and not in a design zone) that are supported by an exterior wall and do not project beyond the property line
  • replace interior wall, floor, or ceiling covering, such as wallboard or sheet vinyl
  • put up shelving and cabinets
  • install gutters and downspouts (a plumbing permit may still be required for stormwater disposal)
  • replace or repair siding on a wall that is three feet or more from a property line
  • replace or repair as much as two layers of roofing, if there is no replacement of sheathing
  • replace doors or windows if the existing openings aren't widened
  • build a fence up to 6 feet high
  • pave a walkway
  • build a patio or deck that is not more than 30 inches above grade

Being exempt from a permit does not mean that you can do work that would violate any law or ordinance. Code standards must be met, even when a permit is not required.

Back to top
 
Where do I get a permit?
Homeowners must apply for a permit at the building department that has jurisdiction over their city or county. To find your jurisdiction, call your nearest city hall and ask what building jurisdiction you should contact for your permit. Be sure to mention your address and the type of work you are planning.
Back to top
 
What information will I need to get a permit?
1. The address and for some building depart-ments a legal description of the property.
2. A description of the work proposed.
3. The owner's name, address, fax number, e-mail address, and phone number.
4. If a contractor is doing the work, the contractor's name, address, phone number, and state license number.
5. More then one set of plans for new construction or remodeling of homes. Check with your building department to find out the exact number of copies required. The plans must 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.
6. Three sets of plans for large commercial construction (anything more than 4,000 square feet or 20 feet in height) and/or A, E, and I occupancies. For all other commercial projects, submit two sets of plans.
Back to top
 
Who must review my project?
An Oregon-certified plans examiner will review your plans to ensure the proposed project meets the requirements of the One-and Two-Family Dwelling Specialty Code. If additional information or changes are necessary, you will be contacted by phone or mail and asked to furnish the information.
Back to top
 
Who gets the permit?
As the owner of a one- or two-family dwelling, you can hire a contractor registered by the Construction Contractors Board or you can get the permit and do the work yourself. An immediate family member, a friend, neighbor, tenant, or other relative can legally work on your one- or two-family dwelling only if the work is not for compensation.
Back to top
 
How long does it take to get a permit?

A plan review generally takes up to two weeks for one- and two-family dwellings. Time frames can change, depending on the complexity of the project and the completeness of the information you submit with your application.

When you submit your plans, you will be asked to pay the plan review fee. You may also pay the structural permit fee at that time or when the permit is issued.

When your plans have been reviewed, stamped "approved" and signed, one set will be returned to you with your permit.

Back to top
 
When can work start?
When your permit has been issued and one set of your approved plans returned, work can begin. The permit and plans must be on the job site and available to the inspector.
To change your plans from what was originally approved, you must show the changes on two additional sets of plans and take them to the Building Codes Division field office or the building department responsible for your area. Do not mark the approved set. If there are changes to the plans after they have been issued, additional fees may apply.
Back to top
 
How 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. Be prepared to furnish detailed directions to the job site.

Unless all of the work is outside and accessible, an adult needs to be at the site to provide access for the inspector.

Back to top
 
Things to do

Be an informed consumer when buying a product or contracting a service:

1. Call the Building Codes Division or the Construction Contractors Board to verify active license and/or registration.
2. Call the Better Business Bureau.
3. Talk to other consumers.
4. Compare prices.
5. Ask for references and contact them.
6. Be sure you have a written contract and read it carefully before signing.

Back to top
 
 

Get Adobe Acrobat ReaderAdobe Reader is required to view PDF files. Click the "Get Adobe Reader" image to get a free download of the reader from Adobe. Available for Macintosh or Windows.