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Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300

Email: bds@portlandoregon.gov

1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Installation Locations and Requirements

When more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit the alarm devices shall be interconnected in such a manner that the actuation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Smoke alarms shall be installed in the following locations:

  1. In each sleeping room.

  2. Outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms.

  3. On each additional story of the dwelling, including basements, but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics. In dwellings or dwelling units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level. 

When more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit the alarm devices shall be interconnected in such a manner that the actuation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. 

The installation of smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall comply with the following requirements: 

  1. Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be located where ambient conditions, including humidity and temperature, are outside the limits specified by the manufacturer.

  2. Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be located within unfinished attics or garages or in other spaces where temperatures can fall below 4°C (40°F) or exceed 38°C (100°F).

  3. Where the mounting surface could become considerably warmer or cooler than the room, such as a poorly insulated ceiling below an unfinished attic or an exterior wall, smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall be mounted on an inside wall.

  4. Smoke alarms and smoke detectors installed within a 6.1-m (20-ft) horizontal path of a cooking appliance shall be equipped with an alarm-silencing means or be the photoelectric type but no closer than 10 feet.

  5. Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be installed within a 914-mm (36-in.) horizontal path from a bathroom containing a shower or tub.

  6. Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be installed within a 914-mm (36-in.) horizontal path from the supply registers or return air opening of a forced air heating or cooling system and shall be installed outside of the direct airflow from those openings.

  7. Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be installed within a 914-mm (36-in.) horizontal path from the tip of the blade of a ceiling-suspended (paddle) fan.

  8. Where stairs lead to other occupied levels, a smoke alarm or smoke detector shall be located so that smoke rising in the stairway cannot be prevented from reaching the smoke alarm or smoke detector by an intervening door or obstruction.

  9. For stairways leading up from a basement, smoke alarms or smoke detectors shall be located on the basement ceiling near the entry to the stairs.

  10. Smoke alarms or smoke detectors shall be installed in each sleeping room in the immediate vicinity of all sleeping areas.

  11.  All smoke alarms are to be installed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The National Fire Protection Assn. Article 72 (aka: National Smoke Alarm Code) states that smoke alarms shall not be in service after 10 years. [ref: NFPA 72 – 11.8.1.4 (5)(b) – Smoke alarms installed in one-and two-family dwellings shall not remain in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture.] A typical manufacturer and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends replacing smoke alarms every 7-8 years as the sensor weakens.

Carbon monoxide alarms shall be located in each bedroom or within 15 feet outside of each bedroom door. Bedrooms on separate floor levels in a structure consisting of two or more stories shall have separate carbon monoxide alarms serving each story. 

Online Electrical Trade Permits

Can I add information to my electrical trade permit online?

Online Electrical Trade Permits

Question:

  • Can I add information to my electrical trade permit online?

Answer:

  • Depends….
    1. Yes, if the permit was originally pulled online.

    2. No, if you purchased the permit at the permit center you will need to come back to the permit center to add to your permit.

How Do You Determine If Your Fire Place is Properly Listed and Labeled?

What’s required? What are the health concerns with wood smoke? Why are uncertified stoves a concern? and etc.

What’s required?
Oregon law requires all uncertified woodstoves and fireplace inserts located on a residential property to be removed, destroyed and disposed of when a home is sold. The 2009 Oregon Legislature passed this law to help protect people from unhealthy wood smoke pollution.

What are the health concerns with wood smoke?
Wintertime residential wood burning is a significant source of air pollution, including fine particulate matter and air toxics. At times, heavy smoke from residential wood burning in a community can exceed federal air quality health standards for particulate matter. Particulate matter in wood smoke can be easily inhaled and reach the deepest part of our lungs; it is known to cause or contribute to respiratory disease, asthma attacks, heart problems and premature death. Wood smoke also contains toxic organic compounds known to cause cancer.

Why are uncertified stoves a concern?
Uncertified woodstoves burn about 70 percent dirtier than certified options and can contribute to health problems. They also burn far less efficiently and typically require more wood than newer, certified stoves. Removing them from service will help to restore and preserve healthy air across the state.

How do I determine if my woodstove or fireplace insert is certified?Back of Woodstove
You can tell if your device is certified by looking on the back for an Oregon DEQ or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certification label, indicating the device has been tested to comply with particulate emission standards. An Underwriters Laboratory or UL safety label is not the same as a DEQ or EPA certification label and does not mean the device is certified to meet emission performance standards. Examples of certification labels are provided in the right-hand column of this fact sheet.

Is there a list of certified devices I can use to determine if mine is certified?
No. Oregon DEQ relies on the presence of either a DEQ or EPA certification label on the back of a device to determine if a device is certified to meet emissions performance standards. If your device does not have a certification label similar to one of the examples shown on this factsheet, it is not certified and must be decommissioned when the home is sold.

My stove does not have an emissions certification label. Can I get it certified?
No. Certification is completed by stove manufacturers when introducing a new model line. To meet certification requirements, stoves must have pollution control systems built into them and be tested by an independent third party at the time of manufacture to assure they meet emissions performance standards.

Who is responsible for removing an uncertified woodstove or insert?
The home seller is responsible for complying with the removal, destruction and disposal requirements unless both the seller and buyer agree in writing that the buyer will accept responsibility. In cases where the buyer takes responsibility, then they have 30 days after the close of sale to meet the requirements.

Can I remove and destroy it myself?
You can choose to remove and destroy the uncertified woodstove or insert yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. If you choose to remove it yourself, DEQ provides a list of potential places to dispose of uncertified devices on the Heat Smart Program web page (see link to web page at the bottom of this fact sheet).

I’ve removed my uncertified woodstove or fireplace insert. What do I do now?
After an uncertified device has been removed, it must be destroyed and disposed of, and DEQ must be notified by the responsible party.

How do I destroy and dispose of my uncertified woodstove or insert?
An uncertified woodstove or fireplace insert is considered destroyed when it is demolished to the extent that it cannot be restored or reused as a heating device. DEQ recommends permanently removing the door and hinges, and cutting holes in the top and sides of the device at least four inches in diameter to destroy it. DEQ also recommends taking your uncertified woodstove or fireplace insert to a scrap metal dealer or recycler for disposal. Be sure to obtain a numbered receipt from the contractor or business that disposes of your stove and keep it for your records. You will need to reference the disposal receipt when notifying DEQ that an uncertified device has been decommissioned.

How do I notify DEQ that I removed, destroyed and disposed of an uncertified woodstove or fireplace insert?
To notify DEQ that an uncertified device has been decommissioned, the person who removed the device can submit an Uncertified Woodstove Removal Notification form to DEQ online by visiting the Heat Smart web page (see link at end of this fact sheet). When you or your contractor submits a removal notification form online, you will immediately receive a confirmation number that is your proof of complying with removal and destruction requirements for uncertified devices. Please print and save a copy of the Uncertified Woodstove Removal Notification Confirmation for your records, as you may need it as documentation in closing the sale of your home.

What about uncertified woodstoves or fireplace inserts in my garage or shop?
You must remove all uncertified devices from the property being sold, regardless of where they are located. This includes garages and workshops.

Are there any types of devices that are not required to be certified?
Yes. The following devices are exempt from the certification requirements and do not need to be removed from the home at the time of sale:

  • Antique stoves
  • Central, wood-fired boilers
  • Cookstoves
  • Gas fireplaces and appliances
  • Masonry heaters and fireplaces
  • Pellet stoves
  • Saunas

Can I sell my uncertified woodstove or fireplace insert?
No. It is against the law to sell, offer to sell, or advertise to sell any uncertified solid fuel burning device in Oregon.

Are there penalties if I don’t comply with the law?
Yes. Fines start at $750 for noncompliance. In addition, your insurance company may invalidate your homeowner’s insurance or the mortgage company may delay the home sale if they discover an uncertified wood heating device was not removed, destroyed and reported to DEQ.

If I want to install a new woodstove or fireplace insert, what do I need to do?
You must obtain a permit from your local building codes department. Oregon Building Code requires all new woodstoves and fireplace inserts to be certified for emissions performance in order to be installed in Oregon. Call your local city or county building department for details.

Where can I get more information?
To access the removal notification forms and get more information on the requirements, please visit DEQ’s Heat Smart Program web page at: http://www.oregon.gov/deq/AQ/Pages/HeatSmart/HeatSmart.aspx

Alternative formats
Alternative formats of this document can be made available. For more information call 503-229-5696, Portland, or call toll-free in Oregon at 1-800-452-4011, ext. 5696. Hearing-impaired persons may call 711.

Reminder – Zoning Code Changes for Accessory Structures Took Affect December 2015

Zoning Code Changes for Accessory Structures

Changes in Accessory Structure Zoning Code were approved December 2, 2015 by Portland City Council. BDS sent a Customer and Community Notification with a high level summary of how the changes impact building accessory structures such as garages, storage sheds, home offices, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). 

More detailed information about the changes can be found in the Draft for the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update. A two page summary of the changes is available also on the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability website.

How and When to Call for Residential Inspections?

Residential Structure

Inspection requests must be received before 6 am the day of the inspection. You may ask for an inspection by calling the Inspection Request Line at 503-823-7000. We do not make appointments, but do attempt to honor requests for morning or afternoon inspections. Because of the uncertainties in the amount of time required, however, we cannot guarantee the specific time of day. If the dwelling is occupied, the applicant or an adult must be present to let in the inspector and remain during the inspection.

Tree Preservation (when required)
To be performed and approved prior to ANY other work taking place. Any protected trees will require a 6 foot chain link fence to be placed around them in accordance with the approved plans.

Erosion Control
To be done with the footing inspection. The inspector will look at excavation and grading, slopes, and fill materials. Structural fills will require a fill certification by a geotechnical or civil engineer.

Footing and Setback Inspections
Performed after trenches or pad openings are excavated and cleared of loose material or mud and after any fill materials are placed, forms are erected and secured in place, and reinforcing is in place and secured, but prior to placing concrete. New construction requires a grounding electrode to be in place prior to inspection. Property lines shall be clearly identified by finding the existing official corner markers or providing a property survey for inspection of the setbacks and fire separation distance between the lot lines and new construction. We strongly recommend that you allow 24 hours from the time of your inspection to your pour to allow for corrections and re-inspections.

Foundation Inspection (sometimes combined with the footing inspection)
Are made after forms and reinforcing are erected and secured or braced, but prior to placing concrete. All hold downs and special frame anchor bolts must be mounted in place prior to inspection. We strongly recommend that you allow 24 hours from the time of your inspection to your pour to allow for corrections and re-inspections.

Under-Floor or Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical Inspection
Includes any plumbing, electrical, mechanical and gas piping work that will be installed under the floor.  Inspections are requested after the electrical, plumbing, ductwork and gas piping are in place and secured but prior to the floor framing being covered.  The mechanical and plumbing inspections may be done at the same time as the under-floor framing inspection.

Under-Floor or Post and Beam Inspection
Made after all under floor plumbing, electrical and mechanical (including gas pipe) systems have been installed and all sill plates and under floor structural components are in place secured and properly fastened, but prior to the application of flooring or insulation materials. All structural components which have been improperly cut or notched for plumbing, etc. are to be repaired or replaced as needed.

Concrete floor slabs inspection (within buildings/structures)
Are made after all under floor plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems have been installed and approved, the ground surface is prepared and leveled, forms are in place and secured, reinforcing or woven wire mesh (if required) and under slab insulation (when required) are in place. We strongly recommend that you allow 24 hours from the time of your inspection to your pour to allow for corrections and re-inspections.

Roof coverings
The roof covering may be installed over the roof sheathing at any time unless otherwise noted on your plans.

Rough in, all systems
The rough plumbing, electrical, mechanical and gas piping systems are to be installed and approved prior to obtaining the framing inspection and covering any work. The mechanical, plumbing and electrical inspections may be done at the same time as the framing inspection.

Shear Walls
Inspected after the structural frame is in place, all panels are to be nailed per the shear wall schedules, hold-downs and straps are to be installed and in any miscellaneous attachments installed.  This inspection may be done with the structural frame inspection.

Structural Frame Inspection
Performed after all of the above systems are approved.  All structural components that have been improperly cut, notched or altered for systems installations must be replaced or repaired as indicated.  Roof, wall and floor sheathing are to be in place and nailed.  Bracing, blocking and fire stops are to be complete.  Windows and doors must be installed.

Insulation and Vapor Barrier Inspection
Performed after all insulation and vapor barriers are in place and secured.  Includes walls, floor, ground covers etc.  Does not include loose insulation to be supported by ceiling finish materials.  Weather protection must be provided prior to insulation.    Wet or soaked insulation will be rejected.  Substantially wet or soaked wood construction is not to be covered with vapor barriers unless adequate provisions are made for thorough drying of the structure.  Under-floor and attic insulation may be done at a later time, but must be in place prior to the final inspection.

Gypsum Wallboard (Drywall) Inspection
To be done on firewalls and gypsum wallboard (drywall) shear walls only.  All nailing or other fastening systems must be complete.  Tape, plaster or other coverings are not to be applied prior to this inspection.  Where multiple layer of gypsum wallboard are required, the nailing of each layer must be inspected.

Public Sidewalk and Driveway Approach Inspection
Required for all concrete paving within the street right-of-way; to be done after the excavation is complete, the forms are in place and secured, and the sub grade is properly prepared, but prior to placing of any concrete.  The Bureau of Transportation performs ALL driveway aprons and frontage sidewalks.  Please call (503) 823-7002 to schedule inspections for this portion of your project.  The Bureau of Development Services will continue to inspect the flatwork portion of the driveway from the back of the sidewalk to the garage/house.  Please call (503) 823-7000 to schedule the inspections for this portion of your project.

Driveways, Porches and Flat Work
Concrete driveways, patios, walkways and porches will be inspected after the ground service is prepared and leveled, and forms are in place and secured.  The inspector will verify that the placement of concrete will not be against untreated framing or siding, and the rise and run of any steps or stairs.  We strongly recommended that you allow 24 hours from the time of your inspection to your pour to allow for corrections and re-inspections.

Other Inspections
Other inspections may be required on particular jobs. These will be indicated on the approved plans and specifications or the Building Inspector will inform the permit holder of the need for them.

Special Inspections
When special inspections are required, a qualified and approved special inspector is to be at the job site whenever work requiring special inspections is in progress. The City of Portland does not perform special inspections. The building inspector or approved agency shall submit a report of their findings upon completion of the inspection. 

The Oregon Building Officials Association has created a list of approved special inspectors and agencies.  For a current list of approved inspector and agencies contact the Oregon Building Official Association by phone at (503) 873-1157 or fax at (503) 873-9389.

Final Inspections
Final Building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, erosion control/including any required tree planting, and fire suppression (when required) inspections will be done after all such systems are complete but before occupancy of the premises is allowed.  The final building inspection is done only after all other required inspections have been completed and approved.