The Chapter 13 Inspection Program is a systematic inspection program of multi-family residential buildings built in 1972 or before and are three stories or more in height, to provide adequate fire and life safety for the occupants. These inspections include all vacant units, all commons areas, basements, roofs and escape routes. When a commercial occupancy is included within the building, separation walls and ceilings are also inspected.
This was a result of Ordinance 135236, passed by the City on September 7, 1972, which was to insure adequate fire and life safety protection for inhabitants of older multi-story hotels and apartment structures of 3 stories or more. Many of these older buildings were constructed in configurations that did not provide adequate safeguards, such as lack of enclosed stairways, availability of exits, fire separation, exit signs, etc. Agreements were made with the building owners and changes were made – the properties are systematically inspected to assure the Chapter 13 agreements are being upheld.
Section 1313 of Chapter 13 of the Appendix of the 1973 Edition of the Uniform Building Code is the code used for these inspections.
Compliance Services enforces the state and local construction codes. These codes include the building, plumbing, electrical and mechanical codes under the Oregon One & Two Family Dwelling Specialty Code and Uniform Building, Plumbing, and Mechanical Codes and the National Electric Code. Additionally, the section also enforces the Department of Environmental Quality Rules and the Oregon Administrative Rules.
Building inspectors inspect construction without permit violations and if enforcement actions are needed, Compliance Services staff provide this enforcement. Civil penalties and relief from the City's Code Hearings Officers may be sought to achieve compliance.
Compliance Services inspects fire-damaged 1 & 2 family dwellings by responding to Portland Fire Bureau fire reports. After inspection, staff determine if repairs are necessary and write reports regarding any violations found. They determine the extent and nature of structural repairs using knowledge of standard framing practices and the One and Two Family Dwelling Code. In most cases, the inspectors are able to work with the property owners, contractors and insurance companies to return fire damaged structures to safe and legal conditions.
Compliance Services also inspects any structure that is a possible dangerous building. The owner of a dangerous building will be required to make repairs or demolish the structure, including timelines for repairs or demolition. A hearing may be scheduled with the City of Portland Hearings Office to obtain compliance with the code and in some circumstances, summary demolition (demolition by the City's contractors) could occur as a result of an imminent hazard.
Compliance Services enforces the City's zoning code (Title 33) including environmental zone violations and enforcing regulations and conditions of approvals tied to land use review cases. Staff also enforce a section in Title 16 of the Portland City Code regarding automobile businesses parking and/or storing vehicles that are being repaired or displayed for sale in the right-of-way.
To ensure compliance with the zoning code, staff also conduct inspections and issue approvals on Home Occupation Permits and on Zoning Permits for developments such as landscaping, fences, sheds and driveways.