Any project that enlarges the footprint of an existing building requires a building permit. Enclosing a porch or adding new living space to your house are examples of projects that require a building permit. Depending on the scope of work, electrical, plumbing or mechanical permits may also be required.
Your permit will be reviewed for compliance with the Portland Zoning Code, the Building Code and other local regulations.
- Applicable Cityand State Codes: Refer to the Codes page on the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) website.
- Portland’s applicable building code is the Oregon Residential Specialty Code. See the State Codes page for more information about this and other construction codes in effect.
- The Portland Zoning Code, (City Title 33) includes use regulations and development standards, such as maximum building footprint coverage and setbacks, and can be found on the Zoning Code page.
Our "New Users" tab is a good place to start for overall information about the permitting process.
Researching Building Permit Records for Your House
Before preparing building permit plans, it is important to verify that existing finished space in your house was legally permitted. The BDS maintains building permit records that can help you prepare plans for your current house project. Historical inspection cards or microfilmed permit plans may be available to determine the existing “permitted” condition of your house. Although the Multnomah County Assessor maintains information about your house’s living area (available on PortlandMaps.com), this information may not match the building permit history. There is no "grandfathering-in" of unpermitted finished or living areas, and to be considered legal living area, a permit is required.
- Some records are available online, see our Public Records Access page.
- Drawings for many permits issued after June 2012 can be viewed online through PortlandMaps.com under the "Documents" menu for that property.
- Resource Records section maintains copies of past permits on microfilm, which can be viewed in the Development Services Center.
Permit fees are based on the fair market value of the work included in the permit.