A building permit is required for any project that alters a commercial building with no increase in floor area (out or up), no structural changes and only minor changes to the exterior.
For an overview of requirements for projects that change the use of a space or building, see our Change of Occupancy Brochure and Change of Use or Occupancy information page. Depending on the complexity of the project, a life-safety summary may be needed. This is similar to a code summary, but has more detail about sprinkler, fire alarms, detection systems and other construction information about the building. Visit Plan Review staff at the Development Services Center or call (503) 823-1456 for life-safety summary information.
Find out how to research your property and where to locate the information in preparation for your permit application.
Determine what your fees will be.
Determine what the system development charges will be for your project.
The bureau offers four early assistance levels for commercial customers.
- Visit the Development Services Center to talk with Building staff, Planning and Zoning staff and staff from the Portland Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Environmental Services, and the Bureau of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services. Portland Parks and Recreation and Water Bureau staff can be reached by phone.
- There are some projects that have complicated building or fire code issues that may need additional assistance. In some cases staff may set up an appointment with a plan reviewer and a fire marshal to answer building and fire code questions; a Bureau Process Manager may be assigned to the project; or a meeting will be scheduled with a team of city staff to review the project.To find out what early assistance meeting best fits your needs, please call (503) 823-7310, or see the Preliminary Meeting Request Packet - Life Safety.
- Land Use Pre-Application Conferences for those projects that require one
- By appointment, for land use early assistance or by appointment with multiple review agencies