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Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300

TTY : 503-823-6868

1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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BDS Service Updates

BDS Provides Service Level Update

9/15/09

 

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

 

 

 

  

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 15, 2009

Contact: Ross Caron, Bureau of Development Services 503.823.4268

(Portland, OR) The Bureau of Development Services is committed to providing the highest level of service to the City’s development community and citizens through an effective and coordinated development review and inspection program.

Over the last year, the Bureau has experienced its most drastic workload and revenue decline in recent history due to a steep and sustained decline in construction activity. In response to the revenue decline, the Bureau has laid off 150 employees in three phases, with the final stage effective September 30, 2009.

Bureau management and staff continue to work on implementing organizational changes and efficiencies that will maximize our ability to provide customers an acceptable level of service despite reduced resources. We have already made a significant change: closing the Development Services Center (DSC) on Mondays. Please see the August 28, 2009 Press Release on the front page of our website at www.portlandonline.com/bds.

We will be working closely with our customer groups on developing and finalizing additional adjustments to services. We have developed a communication plan to regularly communicate any significant bureau organizational and service level changes to our customers, industry stakeholders, community organizations and citizens.

“The Bureau of Development Services is focusing all of its energy on maintaining the highest level of customer service possible in this extremely difficult situation,” said Paul Scarlett, Bureau Director, “We remain committed to working with our customers in an open, collaborative and productive manner.”

The Development Services Center (DSC) continues to provide a wide range of services to professionals and citizens interested in development regulations and policies, including the submittal of land use reviews, building permits, trade permits and street use permits. Document Services, located on the 2nd Floor, remains open Monday through Friday for building permit corrections and issuance.

Permit inspections will continue to be performed five days a week. The automated inspection request procedure remains unchanged. Effective August 31st, building inspections division telephones will be staffed from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Customers are encouraged to call for an appointment if they need to meet in person at the 1900 Building with inspections staff.

The Bureau of Development Services 5th Floor Reception desk remains open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

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Trade Permit Service Update

9/24/09

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

Service Level Update: Plan Review/Permitting Services Division

Trade Permit Service Update

September 24, 2009. The Bureau of Development Services Trade Permit team continues to be committed to providing the highest level of service to you, our valued customers.

Over the last year, the Bureau has experienced a drastic decline in revenue due to decreased construction activity. The decline in revenue has necessitated a reduction in bureau-wide staffing. We are hopeful that this is a temporary situation and we intend to return to our normal turnaround goals when revenue increases.

We would like you to be aware of the impact of this staff reduction and the ways we can continue to help you immediately.

Fax-In: Fax-in applications are processed in the order they are received. Until we are able to return to normal operations, we are unable to set processing turn-around times for faxed-in application.

Online: However, you CAN get a permit immediately by using our Internet Permits service.

 

Log into www.portlandonline.com/bds and follow the simple instructions to set up an account. Permits purchased online can be scheduled for inspection at the same time. If you need assistance with this process, please call 503-823-7363. Please note: Sanitary sewer, commercial mechanical, and permits requiring site plans are currently not available online.

Walk-In: Walk-in customers are served at the Development Service Center (DSC) Trade Permit counter Tuesday – Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Development Services Center is closed on Mondays.

Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate together through this challenging time.

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Permit Inspection Operational Changes

9/24/09

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

 

Service Level Update: Inspection Services Division

Permit Inspection Operational Changes

September 24, 2009. Budgetary constraints have necessitated significant staffing reductions within the Inspection Services Division. In order to maintain the highest possible service level with limited resources, the division has explored and identified areas where efficiency can be improved. In addition, the division has prioritized the various types of inspections performed, and certain inspections will no longer be performed until further notice. This will allow us to focus on the most critical areas of work relative to fire and life safety, structural integrity and livability.

POLICY AND PROCEDURAL CHANGES

 

The following policy and procedure changes are effective October 1, 2009 until further notice:

  • Elimination of requesting a 2-hour time window for inspections. Given current workload, staff must route their inspections by the most efficient travel route. When requested, staff will call the customer before 9:00 AM and inform them if the inspection is planned for AM or PM.
  • Turnaround times for inspections may be increased from 24 hours to 48 hours, possibly longer for final inspections.
  • For one-and-two family residential projects, all trades must be completed and ready for inspection prior to calling for inspection of under floor post and beam, framing cover, or final. This will reduce the number of trips required as these inspections will be preformed by combination certified residential inspectors.
  • For commercial projects, we request that all electrical work [line voltage, low voltage, voice and data] be completed and ready for inspection at one time. This will allow our electrical inspectors to make one trip instead of two or more to inspect the work.
  • Shower pan/water test and tub-shower combo/water test inspections will not be performed for listed pre-fabricated units.
  • For one-and-two family residential projects, slab inspections will not be performed.
  • For all remodeling/alteration projects, install insulation and vapor barrier prior to calling for framing cover inspections.
  • Consultation inspections will be provided on a strictly limited basis. Inspections staff will call the customer regarding any consultation inspections requested to see if the question can be quickly answered. If not, staff may recommend appropriate action for the customer such as consulting a licensed contractor or design professional. Consultation inspections may be performed based on the specific need and complexity of the project.
  • Re-inspection fees will be assessed, per code, when inspections are requested and the work is incomplete or access is not provided to perform the inspection. This is not intended to generate revenue, as the fee will simply cover the cost of the extra trip, rather it is to encourage customers to be sure all aspects of the project are ready for inspections and access is provided for each inspection requested.
  • Partial and phased inspections will be provided on a strictly limited basis, with the exception of large commercial projects where the construction sequencing necessitates such additional inspections.
  • Multi-layer gypsum board assemblies will be inspected upon completion of face layer and before application of finish materials. Builder will need to verify type and spacing of fasteners for all layers.

PERMIT “SET-OVER” PRIORITIES

In the event that all requested inspections cannot be completed in a given day, customers will be

notified by telephone if their inspections request has been set over. Inspections will be prioritized

as follows;

High priority:

  • Concrete pours
  • Cover inspections [Structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing]
  • No electricity
  • No heat
  • No water
  • Open trenches
  • Inspections previously set over
  • Medium priority:
  • Finals
  • Stormwater
  • Erosion control
  • Insulation/vapor barrier
  • Zoning inspections
  • Compliant investigations where there is not evidence of an immediate safety or health hazard

Low priority:

  • Consultations
  • Partial inspections
  • Residential slabs, non-structural commercial slabs.

If you have questions, you may contact Jim Nicks at 503-823-1054.

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Signs, Awnings and A-Boards Organizational and Contact Info Changes

10/7/09

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

Service Level Update: Sign, Awnings and A-Boards

Organizational and Contact Information Changes

October 7, 2009. Recent changes have been made to the Sign and A-Board program in response to budgetary constraints and staffing reductions. The changes realize efficiencies through the consolidation of certain aspects of the program with other similar programs within the Bureau of Development Services. The following table provides updated program services, locations, and contact information.

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Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program

10/13/09

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

Service Level Update: Site Services Division

Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program

October 19, 2009. Budgetary constraints have necessitated significant staffing reductions to the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services. All programs within the Bureau are being evaluated to find efficiencies and monitor cost recovery efforts for the types of services provided. At this time it is necessary to modify the existing Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program to maintain an acceptable level of service. We believe that the Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program is valuable to property owners, insurance companies, and fire restoration contractors in streamlining the permit process and getting occupants back into their homes as quickly as possible. The following changes will be implemented effective October 19, 2009:

  • Fire Damage Inspections will become a fee paid inspection. To request a fire damage inspection, the owner or agent will need to complete an application form and submit payment to the Bureau of Development Services. The current One and Two Family Dwelling requested inspection fee is $116. The online application form can be found at http://www.portlandonline.com/bds/index.cfm?c=45059&a=266804. A complete application and payment can be submitted at the Development Services Center, first floor, 1900 SW 4th Ave. The Center is open Tuesday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., it is closed on Mondays. A fire damage inspection request may also be submitted via mail by sending the application and check (made payable to the City of Portland) to the Bureau of Development Services, Compliance Services Section, 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 5000, Portland OR 97201.
  • BDS staff will no longer run daily residential fire reports from the Portland Fire Bureau and will only conduct Fire Damage Inspections once the “Fee Paid Inspection Request” form and payment is received.
  • A Fire Damage “FD” case will be setup in TRACS, the building permit database, once the “Fee Paid Inspection Request” form and payment is received.
  • The fire damage inspection may be completed as early as the following day from the date the “Fee Paid Inspection Request” form is received, or a later time coordinated between the inspector and owner/agent.
  • The Bureau of Development Services inspector will continue to determine the scope of the repairs and issue a report for the necessary repairs. The report will contain information on minimum structural repair options to original conditions, code required upgrades, and whether or not plans are required as part of the permit. In almost all cases,building permits are required for fire damage repair, while plans may not be required as part of the building permit submittal. Components of fire damaged electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems are required to be repaired to current code and will be included in the inspection report.
  • The report will be entered into the “FD” case within TRACS.
  • Once the Residential permit is issued to repair the fire damage, the same inspector that issued the “FD” report will conduct requested permit inspections (as resources allow).

With these changes we plan to continue the Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program and apologize for any inconvenience these changes may cause. We believe in the value of the Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program and hope that you will continue to partner with us to keep the program successful in the obtaining the speedy reoccupation of residential fire damaged properties.

If you have questions you may contact Mike Liefeld at (503) 823-7332.

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