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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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Tenant Improvement Permits: Timing of Core/Shell and TI Permits


July 27, 2017

Tenant Improvement Permits: Timing of Core/Shell and TI Permits

In the past, tenant improvement permits (TIs) associated with a core/shell permit could be issued only if the core/shell permit had received final inspection approval, a certificate of occupancy or a temporary certificate of occupancy. Exceptions were made on a case by case basis. However, there are situations where a temporary certificate of occupancy is not an option, or where final inspection of the entire core/shell building will not occur until a later time. BDS has determined that TI permits may also be issued when a core/shell permit meets Substantial Completion Guidelines. Establishing Substantial Completion guidelines will help ensure more consistent expectations for both customers and staff, and allow projects to progress at a timely rate without negatively affecting compliance with fire, life safety, structural, and other requirements.
In summary, TI permits associated with a core/shell building permit can be issued if:

  1. The core/shell permit also establishes the Occupancy, and a Certificate of Occupancy or Temporary Certificate of Occupancy has been issued;
  2. The core/shell does not establish occupancy, but a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy has been issued indicating completion but that does not authorize actual physical occupancy of the structure/building; or
  3. The core/shell permit meets the new Substantial Completion Guidelines, as determined by the building inspector. 

Substantial Completion Guidelines: 

  1. Structure must be framed and dried in.
  2. Elevator, stair, exit passage ways must be framed and wallboard/core board installed, inspected and approved.
  3. HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire sprinkler and fire alarm system must be rough in for the core shell permit, inspected and approved with systems available for TI work to connect to those systems.
  4. Fire stopping of the core and shell permitted work within the TI area must be completed, inspected and approved.
  5. No core/shell permit revisions that overlap with the TI area may be Under Review (not yet issued). Shell permit revisions that overlap with TI’s Issued or Under Review, will require work to be stopped on the TI (or delay TI review) until such time as core/shell permit revisions are Issued. Core/shell permit revisions that impact TI’s will require TI re-review prior to re-start of TI work.
  6. The TI permit must include a clear statement that occupancy will not be approved until the core and shell work is completed, inspected, approved and at a minimum a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy is issued.
  7. Specific circumstances of the project and building may be considered at the inspector’s discretion.

Early communication necessary
To effectively utilize the options available for issuance of TI permits prior to final inspection of the core/shell building, early communication with BDS is essential. Customers should communicate their intent at pre-construction meetings or before, if possible.
Mitch Nickolds, BDS Inspection Services Manager 503-823-1054
Andy Peterson, BDS Plan Review/Permitting Services Manager 503-823-7883

To learn more about the Bureau of Development Services, visit us online at


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