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The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Prepare Your Appeal

Appellants must have an alternative method of meeting the intent of the code. The appeal must demonstrate how the proposed alternative provides equivalent protection as the code requires for health, accessibility, structural capacity, energy conservation, life safety or fire protection.

Building Code Appeals apply only to Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Floating Structures Codes. Appeals for each specific Code are processed separately, so a single appeal package may not contain items from different Codes. However, if multiple appeals are submitted together, only the first is charged the full fee, with the others charged as Additional Items at a reduced fee.

A complete Building Code Appeal Packet consists of:

  1. Building, electrical, mechanical or plumbing code appeal application(s)
  2. Plans and any supplemental information
  3. Appeal fee

Building Code Appeal Application: The following three sections of the building code appeal application provide the primary information from which the Appeal Board will make a decision. It is critical that information provided in these sections be clear, concise, accurate and completely written. Each appeal submittal must be a comprehensive set of documents and stand on its own merit (without referring to plans or material submitted separately for building permits) and will be reviewed based on the specific conditions related to the project under consideration.

  1. Code provisions: This section asks first for the code section being appealed and then for the requirements of that code section. It is important to accurately specify the code section being appealed and what it requires.

  2. Proposed design: This section asks you to describe the actual alternate method and/or materials of construction that are proposed for use. It is important that the actual conditions you are asking to have approved be described. This is not the section where equivalency or rationale for use of the proposed design should occur.

  3. Reason for alternate: This is the section where you should describe how or why the proposed design provides an equivalent level of fire or life safety to what the code requires and the reason you are requesting the alternate.

Plans: One set of plans that addresses your appeal (in addition to any plans submitted for permit processing) must accompany appeal applications. Plans should provide sufficient information to detail the areas that are being appealed as well as any areas that may be affected by or that may affect the appeal.

Supplemental information: Supplemental information, such as photographs, engineering analysis, test data, etc, that will help to clarify the appeal and make it easier for the board to understand the conditions being appealed or which supports the argument for equivalent safety are welcome accompaniments to the appeal submittal.

Appeal Fees: The following fee must be submitted with the building code appeal application:

  • 1 & 2 Family Residential: $238 (up to and including four appeal items) $119 for each appeal item over four, when submitted at the same time.

  • Other occupancies: $477 (up to and including four appeal items) $119 for each appeal item over four, when submitted at the same time.

  • Separate appeals with associated fees must be submitted for each individual building. Contact the Appeal Board Secretary at (503) 823-7335 where there are multiple buildings with identical appeal items.

  • Subsequent appeal packages are charged at the full rate when submitted at a later time.

  • See information below on payment processing.