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Past Feature Articles


Important Code Change Update

The effective date of the Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC), Oregon Electrical Specialty Code (OESC) and Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code (OPSC) is October 1, 2014.

The public process for each of these codes has been completed. It’s anticipated that the publication process will be completed in the next couple of months and that code books will be available for purchase shortly afterwards. The online version of these codes will be available here.

Additionally, the division will allow a three month transition period for implementation of the ORSC from October 1 to December 31, 2014.

Standard Investigative Fees

Effective January 1, 2014 municipalities administering and enforcing a building inspection program may only assess investigative fees for work commencing without a permit as specified in House Bill 2978 (2013).

A portion of HB 2978 standardizes current state and local government policy for assessing investigative fees for work started without the required permit across all program areas. The bill caps investigative fees at the actual or average cost of investigation to ensure compliance with the state building code.

These requirements preempt any existing code language, rule or local ordinance requirements regarding “double permit” fees. Municipalities may need to update their forms, computer plans and operating plan to reflect the changes.

Additionally, the bill specifies that permits for emergency repairs obtained within five business days after commencement of the repair are not subject to investigative fees.

ePermitting Logo2010 ePermitting Update

The ePermitting system continues to build upon the benefits of statewide code standards by providing a uniform platform for online access to building services. ePermitting is rolling out a new streamlined "Oregon" full service model for bringing jurisdictions onto the system more quickly and efficiently. The Oregon model includes:

Online access for businesses to apply, pay for and receive building permits 24/7 Pre-configured applications for all buidling department services
Electronic plan review and mark up
Comprehensive permit tracking, data collection and reporting
A mobile app for inspectors
Ability to interface with GIS, Financial, Document Management and other software applications

Currently, close to 40 jurisdictions are using the ePermitting system, and this summer the first jurisdictions coming onto the new Oregon model will be Marion County, the City of Aurora and MCCOG (Mid-Columbia Council of Governments). Deschutes County, Redmond, Happy Valley and Malheur County are next in line to implement the Oregon model in Fall 2813.

As we proceed, ePermitting is focusing on:

Partnering with rural communities to provide efficient and cost effective local services
Increasing predictability for consumers, businesses and jurisdictions through the use of consistent forms, standards and processes
Connecting Oregon electronically by getting more cities and counties involved in ePermitting

ADA Logo2010 OSSC Chapter 11 Accessibility Revisions

In an effort to provide a very affordable and easily accessed course on the 2010 OSSC Chapter 11 Accessibility Revisions, BCD has designed an online class available on Chemeketa Community College’s (CCC) eLearn system. Due to the magnitude of changes that have been made to the OSSC’s Chapter 11, BCD is requiring a class on the revisions as part of the code change continuing education obligations for inspectors and plans examiners stated in 918-098-1450 of the Oregon Administrative Rules. This is in addition to the requirement to complete a course on the OSSC.

This online course is self-paced and BCD has a link to access it on the CCC eLearn page of this website. The course is the equivalent of four hours of classroom training. There are four lessons that each consist of several presentations, an assignment, and a quiz. There will be a printable certificate available at the end of the course. The registration fee for the class is only $35 and is paid directly to Chemeketa. Once registered for the course, students will have access to the site 24/7 and can go at their own pace. Just remember that you must finish the course within the same Chemeketa quarter as you started.

Oregon Reach Code LogoOregon Reach Code (ORC)

In 2009, the Oregon Legislature with the approval of Senate Bill 79, directed the Oregon Building Codes Division (BCD) to increase energy efficiency in buildings that are newly constructed, reconstructed, altered or repaired. In addition to increasing efficiency in the statewide mandatory energy code, Senate Bill 79 required the establishment of a new code called the Reach Code.

The Reach Code is a set of statewide optional construction standards for energy efficiency that exceed the requirements of the state's mandatory codes. The Reach Code covers a variety of topics including: mechanical systems, lighting designs, overall building design (both residential and commercial), plumbing practices, and product approval. Builders will have an optional path for high performance construction and jurisdictions can be assured the innovative construction methods are sound. The Division is working to align the code with federal, state, and local financial incentives.

Please visit the Reach Code web page to view the draft code and information pertaining to the code.


Learn More About Complying With The New Energy Code

COMcheck is Oregon's new method of compliance for the 2010 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code (OEESC). COMcheck was developed to clarify and simplify commercial building energy code compliance. The materials focus on Oregon specific code requirements that apply to all commercial buildings and offer a streamlined process for demonstrating code-equivalent levels of energy efficiency. Contractors and designers who use COMcheck can save time and effort in documenting code compliance.

COMcheck offers an easy-to-understand process for demonstrating compliance with all commercial energy code requirements for envelope, interior and exterior lighting, and mechanical systems. It eliminates calculation tasks other than determining square footages and requires no specialized technical knowledge of commercial codes. When applied to simple buildings, it is self-contained, requiring no additional resources or reference books. Finally, COMcheck uses terminology familiar to the design, construction and enforcement communities.

To learn more about using the COMcheck software consider taking the Web based class scheduled for August 19. Register today to better understand this new OEESC compliance method.


Code Change Training on the 2010 OEESC at No Cost

In preparation for the July 1 adoption of the 2010 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code (OEESC), BCD has scheduled several free four-hour energy code change trainings during June and July 2010. This course is required code change training for inspectors performing inspections under the Oregon Structural Specialty Code. The training will focus on 'what's changed and what's stayed the same' in the transition to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) format. Participants will get an overview of what is new in the OEESC. You can register online for one of the seven classes being offered around the state.


Presentation on R703.1 available - February 2010

In conjunction with recent code changes to ORSC section R703.1 addressing a means of draining water from exterior wall assemblies, the Oregon Building Codes Division partnered with the Oregon Home Builders Association (OHBA) in the development of live training classes. These classes were underwritten in part with funds from BCD's 1% Training program and have been made available to both industry and government employees. In an effort to expand opportunities for training, OHBA has agreed to make a free Web based presentation based on the training available through their website.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain an understanding of the scope and application of these new provisions as your schedule allows.


Local building department directory is here - July 2009

Your handy Local Building Department Directory (LBDD) is now available to help you locate the right building department to ask your permitting questions. This efficient new directory is simple to use; you just enter the city and zip code or select the jurisdiction for the address and the directory delivers a page full of information for your specified location. It provides you with building department phone numbers and addresses, as well as staff contact information, any permit services available online for the address, and much more. Try it and see what you think!


Oregon Smart Guides - March 2009

In its ongoing effort to help consumers understand their options when building and renovating, the Building Codes Division has released the first two guides in a series. Called "Oregon Smart Guides," the first two focus on the promotion of green building in Oregon, giving information on rainwater harvesting and water conservation systems.

The rainwater harvesting guide describes the method allowing rainwater collection from roofs to be used for gardens, flushing toilets, washing clothes, and in heating and air conditioning units. The water conservation systems guide explains the method for reusing wastewater (often known as gray water) for flushing toilets.

Oregon-ePermitting.info - December 2008

With the emergence of a new statewide ePermitting system on the horizon, the information Web site for the Building Codes Division’s ePermitting program has been given a new look. There are all sorts of new and interesting pages available.

The Web site is divided into three different sections: Local Building Departments, Property Owners, and Contractors. Each segment has its own “home page,” which has all the links pertinent to the group highlighted. What a great bookmark for your one-stop shopping in ePermitting! Please check out the new look and let us know what you think.


Greening the building codes - August 2008

The division has approved two new statewide alternate methods that allow homeowners to harvest rainwater and reuse wastewater. The first method involves reusing certain wastewater in homes when the owner installs water conservation systems. The water conservation systems treat water drained from bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks, washing machines, and laundry tubs, and then stores the water for use in flushing toilets. The second method gives both homes and commercial buildings the ability to collect rainwater from roofs to be used for gardens, flushing toilets, washing clothes, and in heating and air conditioning units.

BCD has also been working toward more energy-efficient buildings through upgrading the energy code provisions (chapter 11) of the 2008 Oregon Residential Specialty Code. The upgrades, which took effect April 1, 2008, require certain components be put in a building, including new upgrades to building insulation and an increase in the thermal efficiency rating for windows. Also, there is a new feature in which builders choose at least one of nine energy efficiency options to include in the structure.