Edition: Vol. 04, No. 04
Edition date: April 13, 2011


Important information from the Oregon Building Codes Division to local building departments.

News Updates - April 13, 2011

Radon Mitigation Requirements Training Online

Radon mitigation standards for new residential occupancies affecting Baker, Clackamas, Hood River, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill Counties became effective on April 1, 2011.

To help local jurisdictions administering the new provisions and contractors required to incorporate the standards into their designs, the division has provided the following resources, including a short training video available on the web:

1) A high level overview for Group R-3 occupancies

2) A detailed commentary

3) Training video - Approx. 20 minutes

For further information contact Mike Ewert at (503) 373-7529 or mike.d.ewert@state.or.us.

Local Building Official Authority

The Building Codes Division has recently received questions from cities and counties regarding the scope of a building official’s authority in relation to code inspectors and the division. This can be a complicated question since the answer many times depends on the specific scenario a building official is addressing. However, there is a general framework for understanding the role inspectors, building officials, and the division have in administering and enforcing Oregon’s statewide building code.

  1. The first level of decision-making occurs at the inspector and plan reviewer level. These individuals review work for code compliance and make notations where corrections or changes are necessary. Inspectors and plan reviewers are the key personnel for correctly integrating specific code requirements with individual construction projects, and working with builders on code interpretation and application issues.

  2. The second level of decision making occurs at the building official level. The building official is the final local authority on administration, application and interpretation of the code. To that extent, a building official can override the decision of an individual inspector consistent with the code, and interpret and apply appropriate codes to local construction issues.

  3. The third level of decision making occurs at the state level through a formal appeal of local building official decisions only when requested. An appeal is a formal process that normally involves first the specialty code chief and then the appropriate advisory board. The other level of formal state level decision making is a statewide interpretation of the code.

The division can also provide informal technical assistance on specific code applications and construction issues to building officials, inspectors and contractors. On many issues it is important for inspectors and plan reviewers to first consult their building official before seeking guidance from the division. While useful in many specific applications, informal staff recommendations are not binding unless formalized as described above or by official direction from BCD management staff. Division staff and in particular the regional coordinators are available to assist in attempting to informally resolve specific disputes involving building officials, inspectors, and other local partners in appropriate situations.

If you have questions or want more information, contact policy analyst Trevor Johnson at trevor.w.johnson@state.or.us or (503) 373-1354.

House Bill 3462 Specialized Inspector Certifications Set to Begin:

As many of you are aware, the HB 3462 Specialized Inspector Certification program is quickly developing. The specialized plumbing and solar PV certifications will be the first two certifications offered this summer.

The Building Codes Division is completing the training courses for both certifications and has benefited from input from building officials and inspectors from across the state, the HB 3462 Rule Development Committee, the Oregon Building Officials Association, and the Southern Oregon Chapter of the International Code Council.

In response to this input, the division is proposing specific changes to ensure that these specialized inspector certifications are accessible and beneficial for building departments across the state. These proposed changes take into account the limited amount of small commercial work currently being performed and reduced building department staffs, and are aimed at enabling local building departments to obtain these specialized inspector certifications amidst current economic challenges in order to provide even better service as construction activity increases.

Plumbing Certification:

  • Training for this certification will begin with an online instruction component provided through Chemeketa Community College's eLearn program. Under the division's proposed changes, this portion of the academic training would be increased from 10 hours to 20-30 hours. This would enable applicants to obtain more instruction in their home jurisdictions via a personal computer. This would also better prepare applicants for the in-person portion of the academic training, which would be conducted on a shorter schedule.

  • This online training will be followed by a week of intensive in-person instruction offered at a central location. Under the division's proposed changes this in-person portion of the academic training would be streamlined from 60 hours to 30-40 hours. This would minimize the time applicants are away from their home jurisdictions and make this training more accessible for building departments and applicants.

  • Following the completion of the online and in-person academic instruction, applicants will be eligible to complete their fieldwork training requirements. Under the division's proposed changes, the number of fieldwork inspections would be reduced from 80 specific inspections of particular installations to 40-50 more general inspections allocated between bottom-out, top-out, and finish inspections. This would allow applicants to utilize the types of inspections that are available in their home jurisdictions. This would expose applicants to the specific inspections covered by this certification while providing increased flexibility for applicants to complete their fieldwork training more efficiently by receiving credit for inspecting multiple installations in the course of a single bottom-out, top-out or finish inspection visit.

Solar PV Certification:

  • Training for this certification will follow the same training format as the plumbing certification, except that all 8 hours of the academic instruction will be provided online through Chemeketa Community College's eLearn program. This will enable applicants to obtain the required academic instruction in their home jurisdictions via a personal computer.

Under the division's proposed changes, the number of fieldwork inspections would be reduced from eight specific inspections to four general solar installation inspections. These inspections would be supervised by an appropriately qualified electrical inspector. Additional inspection instruction would be covered during the academic instruction portion of the training to provide all applicants with exposure to specific types of installations that might otherwise be difficult for some applicants to inspect in their home jurisdictions.

Both training programs will begin at the start of Chemeketa Community College's summer term on June 20, 2011. Later this month, the division will be making the application and registration forms for both certifications available. Each training program will be limited to 30 participants and cost $200, which covers all application, training, and certification costs.

If you have further questions about the HB 3462 program, contact policy analyst Trevor Johnson at trevor.w.johnson@state.or.us or (503) 373-1354.

Temporary Rule Code Change on Brace Walls

Due to ACI 318-08 requirements in Appendix D relating to anchoring in concrete, modifications have been made to the loading capacity of some embedded strap type anchors that have affected the prescriptive code provisions. The ACI 318-08 code criterion requires that embedded anchors be evaluated for cracked concrete conditions. Based on this analysis the manufacturers of the style of anchors used in the R602.10.6.2, Alternate Braced Wall Panel Adjacent to a Door or Window Opening, can no longer meet the loading capacity of 4,200 pound minimum tie-down strength. This configuration can be seen in Figure R602.10.6.2 of the 2008 ORSC.

In order to help preserve the ability to use the portal style of construction, the Building Codes Division along with partner industries, has developed an amendment to the code that will enable the designer to provide similar designs to the previous standards with minor modifications. Depending on the plate height of the structure, wall panels may need to increase slightly in width or may utilize alternate configurations at interior and corner panels with standard complying hold-down anchors to achieve the design goals.

The temporary rule amending the 2008 ORSC will be effective April 15, 2011. The code changes are now available for viewing.

For more information contact Steve Judson, Commercial Structures Code Specialist at (503) 378-4635 or steven.w.judson@state.or.us.

Energy Code Interpretation: Semi-Conditioned Spaces

A new statewide interpretation of the OEESC has been issued regarding semi-conditioned spaces. Semi-conditioned spaces were defined under prior code cycles. This space definition was removed from the 2010 code. The division has received several questions regarding how the new code provisions apply to previously constructed buildings that undergo alterations. The interpretation clarifies how to maintain compliance with the energy code in several scenarios.

For more information about the energy code, contact Mark Heizer at 503-373-0205 or Mark.R.Heizer@state.or.us.

Energy Code training available online

The 2010 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code (OEESC) code-change course is now available online. The class is made up of a series of videos and questions about each video segment. The whole course takes between 3 and 4 hours to complete. The participant is able to take the course in segments if they can’t complete the whole class in one sitting. You do need speakers or headphones to be able to listen to the audio portion of the training. Participants will receive 4 BCD continuing education credits for the course. If you have not already completed the 2010 OEESC code-change course, think about participating in this online version of the class!

Reference Manual for Building Officials

The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (OSBEELS) and the Oregon Board of Architect Examiners (OBAE) are pleased to announce publication of the 2010 Edition of the Reference Manual for Building Officials. Printed copies will be available by contacting the OSBEELS office at 503-362-2666 towards the end of the month.


Summary of enforcement cases presented
to the Electrical and Elevator Board

Summary report: These cases were resolved by the division's enforcement section without going to a contested case hearing. No action was required by the Electrical and Elevator Board.


Published by the State of Oregon Building Codes Division.
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