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Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Explanation of Bureau of Development Services Workload Measure Graphs

New Single Family Permit Submittals Graph

Construction of new single family residences (NSFRs) has historically followed creation of lots through new partitions or new subdivisions. However, much of the increase in NSFR construction over the last two years has been the result of infill development. NSFR growth was dramatically impacted by the “Great Recession” when the weekly submittal rate for NSFR permits averaged 5. Activity in this sector has returned, as can be seen by reviewing the year to year comparisons in the graph. Since new home permits require review and inspection by many City bureaus, the growth in this sector places a high demand on staffing resources throughout the course of the development process – from intake, to plan review, permit issuance, and through inspection. NSFR projects include all dwelling units built under the Oregon Residential Specialty code. These include single family homes, detached accessory dwelling units, duplexes, and townhomes.

Residential Additions and Alteration Permit Submittals Graph

Additions and Alterations projects reflect continuing investment and improvement in our existing housing stock. This type of work remains fairly consistent over time, with slow and steady growth over the last few years. Projects are typically tailored to meet the needs of the current owner via an expansion of the existing envelope or a reconfiguration of the existing building.    

Customers Accessing Services at the Development Services Center Graph

This graph shows the number of customers who come to the Development Services Center (DSC) on a weekly basis. While customers typically come to the DSC to submit permit applications, visits can include submittal of Land Use Applications or interaction with only our Interagency Partners for specific permit types such as sidewalk closures or new water meter installation. Other customers visit the DSC to research the permit history on an existing property or to make inquiries about potential construction and development projects. This graph reflects a broader picture of our workload that is not captured by permit data alone. 

Preissuance Turnaround Times

The preissuance process applies to all permit applications that are taken in for review. Preissuance provides a quality control check prior to the permit documents being issued. While simple residential and commercial addition and alteration projects can be reviewed and issued the same day “over the counter,” with necessary corrections being made to the drawings immediately, more complex projects and new residential permit applications are taken in for review. Preissuance occurs after all plan reviewers have approved a set of project plans that address their concerns. This may involve the applicant making multiple changes to the original documents to meet relevant code standards. Development Services Technicians consolidate all plan sets, verify that all necessary technical reviewers have approved the latest version of submitted documents, and work to resolve any identified deficiencies or conflicts in the documents. They create two identical sets of approved plans, one for the applicant to build from, and one to be scanned for BDS records. The Preissuance Turnaround Time Graph reflects the current fiscal year goal of the Bureau which is to preissue 80% of permits within three days of their last technical review approval.   

Preissuance List Status Table

This table is updated daily and designed to assist customers gauge when the preissuance process will be completed for their permit. The Preissuance list proceeds in a first on, first off order. If there are no quality assurance/control issues with the plans, preissuance proceeds in a fairly predictable, but staff-intensive manner. The table reflects the number of permits preissued or removed from the list on the previous business day. It also identifies the number of permits added the current morning. To check on the status of your permit, follow this link:

Percent of Permits Meeting First Review Turnaround Goals FY 2012-13 to Present

When permit applications are taken in for review, the project plans are circulated to all plan reviewers required to approve them. This includes reviews by the BDS zoning, life/safety, engineering, and site development sections, and may require reviews by the Parks, Environmental Services, Transportation, and Water Bureaus. When every required reviewer has either approved their review or issued the applicant a check sheet specifying necessary corrections, the “first review” is considered complete. The length of time required to complete the first review is the “first review turnaround time.” The current BDS first review turnaround goals are shown below:


Review Type Goal
Commercial – Additions 20 Days
Commercial – Alterations 10 Days
Commercial – New Construction 20 Days
First Review Turnaround Goal for all Commercial Permits 75%
Residential – Additions 15 Days
Residential – Alterations 7 Days
Residential – New Construction 15 Days
First Review Turnaround Goal for all Residential Permits 85%

The first review turnaround graph shows the percentage of permits that met their first review turnaround goal for each month of the current, and past two fiscal years. The graph tracks performance for “All Commercial’ permits, “All Residential” permits, “New Single Family Residence” permits, and a composite percentage (labeled “Total”) for all permits combined.