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Permit Inspection Operational Changes

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

 Service Level Update: Inspection Services Division

Permit Inspection Operational Changes

Updated Jan 31, 2012. 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, so that we can focus on the most critical areas of work relative to fire and life safety, structural integrity and livability.


The following policy and procedure changes will become 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.
  • 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.
  • An optional approval process is being developed for sewer inspections on one and two family projects. This will allow submittal of sewer scopes and photo documentation, at the customer’s option, to verify the installation in lieu of an on site inspection.
  • Non structural slab inspections will not be performed.
  • Temporary and permanent erosion control measures will be inspected at the same time as footing and final inspections, respectively. Customers will still need to request each separate inspection, but they will no longer be performed on different days.
  • 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.

ROLL OVER POLICY  (See Roll Over Policy Updated - 9/2/11)

For all permit inspections, in the event that all requested inspections cannot be completed in a given day, the caller (as identified in the building permit) will be notified via telephone no later than 9:00 AM the day of the requested inspection that it has been rolled-over. The IVR system will be updated with the list of “rolled over” inspections by 9:00 AM. , Customers can call the IVR system to see if their inspection has been rolled over. Inspections that are rolled over will take a higher priority the next business day. 


High priority;

  • Concrete pours
  • Bundled cover inspections
  • No electricity
  • No heat
  • No water 
  • Open trenches
  • Inspections previously set over

Medium priority;

  • Finals
  • Erosion control

Low priority;

  • Consultations
  • Partial inspections
  • Non structural slabs

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

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