Edition: Vol. 05, No. 10
Edition date: October 11, 2012


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

BCD Office Closures

Friday, October 19, 2012 - Mandatory closure

BCD Events

None at this time


October 3: Residential & Manufactured Structures Board

October 18: State Plumbing Board

November 15: Electrical and Elevator Board

November 27: Rulemaking Hearing

Statewide Interpretations

OSSC 907.2.6 and NPFA 72

Jurisdiction Questions or Issues

Email: localjurisdictioncontact.bcd

Aeron Teverbaugh

News Updates - October 11, 2012

Specialized inspector program update

The Building Codes Division's specialized inspector pilot program authorized by House Bill 3462 continues to evolve to better meet the needs of local government. So far, the program has been well received. Forty-two jurisdictions and 98 individuals have participated in at least one of the four specialized inspector training programs. We continually solicit feedback from the jurisdictions and individuals participating in the program in order to continue improving. One of the most common comments is that the fieldwork component can be a barrier to certification. Additionally, we have also received feedback on the examinations that some questions are not appropriate to the certification.

We are working on an initiative to address these issues by making changes to the fieldwork requirement and developing specific specialized inspector examinations. We have hired John Powell to spearhead our efforts. Instead of submitting documentation of 40 supervised inspections, applicants will have the option to undergo an individual evaluation and approval by the division. This will enable individuals in areas with less construction to complete the certification process in a shorter period of time. We also revised the specialized inspector examinations to focus on specific installation examples. The idea is to better assess an individual's ability to recognize specific issues they are likely to see in the field and cite the appropriate code section. Another strategy we are exploring is the ability to tailor the scope of a specialized inspector's certification to their knowledge and skill level. This would allow individuals who may not be ready to inspect to the full scope allowed under the rules to begin inspections of a more limited nature. For example, an individual that doesn't have the knowledge level to perform a single inspection on an electrical service replacement may be able to perform finals on a 2,500-square-foot house where the service inspection already had a cover inspection.

We are continuing to evaluate and make improvements to the HB 3462 pilot program to ensure it meets the needs of individuals and jurisdictions. If you have questions, contact Aeron Teverbaugh at 503-373-1354.

New HB 3462 pilot course for permit technicians

In July, BCD asked building officials to participate in a survey on what courses they were interested in for the next HB 3462 pilot project. The largest response suggested a course for permit technicians to learn simple plan review and intake support.

We responded by designing a new Web-based course using live virtual classroom webinar software. There will be several sessions and the complete course will be approximately 10 hours. The first portion of the course will deal with plan intake procedures, and the rest of the course will concentrate on the 2011 Oregon Residential Specialty Code and the types of simple plan review. Although there is not a certification associated with this training, we feel that permit support staff will benefit from the class.

The date for the first session of the course has not been determined, but it will probably begin late November or early December. If you are interested, contact Aeron Teverbaugh at 503-373-1354 or Sherri West at 503-373-7509.

ePermitting update

The ePermitting team has been busy at work creating a new permitting model that requires less time to implement and that has been designed to be consistent with the requirements for a building program.

The new program model was designed to come to a city or county fully configured with the exception of those provisions that are unique to a specific building department, such as fee amounts, addresses, or interfaces. The model can also be implemented with and without data conversion from an existing software program.

In addition, training and project management is provided remotely via online classes and teleconferences. This allows for training to be conducted at more convenient times for each office and a reduction in travel time for physical conferences.

Finally, a collaboration site is being created to allow those participating in the program to share questions, thoughts, and answers. All of this is designed to create the most possible efficient system for implementation and system training.

If you are interested in learning more about the new program model, the available training, or have other questions, contact the ePermitting help desk at 503-373-7396.

Statewide alternate method for 2012 IBC available soon

BCD anticipates the 2014 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC), based on the 2012 International Building Code (IBC) as amended by Oregon provisions, to be adopted and become effective April 1, 2014. As an interim measure, we have developed an alternate method that will provide designers the option of designing to the latest edition of the model codes ahead of the statewide implementation date.

The Building Codes Structures Board met on Sept. 26, 2012, and recommended to the division the scientific and technical merits of adopting the 2012 IBC with certain Oregon amendments as an acceptable alternate method to the 2010 OSSC.

We believe the 2012 IBC serves as an effective, comprehensive alternative to the 2010 OSSC for the assembly of the built environment subject to the following:

  • The use of the alternate method constitutes a separate compliance path from the 2010 OSSC in that designs must comply with the 2012 IBC in its entirety. Limited crossover applications are allowed where approved by the building official.

  • Designs must also comply with the 2012 International Mechanical Code and the new construction provisions of 2012 International Fire Code. Alternate methods for these respective codes will be available online at www.bcd.oregon.gov.

  • Designs may comply with either the 2010 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code or the 2012 International Energy Efficiency Code.

  • The Oregon amendments listed in a separate document known as "Exhibit A" are made part of the 2012 IBC Alternate Method Ruling.

The alternate method is going through the administrative processes, so watch for it to become effective in the near future. When finalized, the alternate methods for these respective codes will be available on the Commercial Structures program page of our website.

For more information, contact Richard Rogers at 503-378-4472 or Steve Judson at 503-378-4635.

Arc-fault current interrupters

BCD spent the past several months gathering information on arc-fault current interrupters (AFCIs). We held a public meeting on Aug. 8 and heard testimony from various contractors and manufacturers on the use of AFCIs to develop a response to the Electrical and Elevator Board's recommendation to delay expansion of AFCI protection beyond residential bedrooms to other living areas.

Division Proposal

We proposed several changes to OESC 210.12(A) in response to the Electrical Board recommendation. First, we replaced "hallways" with "alcoves" as an AFCI-covered area. Second, we added an exception for use of AFCI circuits. Third, we included an informational note after the new exception.

  • The exception reads:
    "It shall be permissible to install not more than five branch circuits that each supply one or more outlets labeled as 'not AFCI protected' serving a single system in a single room of a dwelling unit without AFCI protection."

  • The informational note reads:
    "The State recognizes the arc-fault circuit interrupter as a safety device that generally improves consumer protection. However, because the AFCI technology is still maturing, reliability and affordability of electrical installations should be considered. Therefore, the State intends to encourage the expanded use of AFCIs while allowing for some exceptions to its use."

We have outlined the administrative process and timeline for the AFCI changes. If you have questions or need more information, contact Electrical Program Policy Analyst Brett Salmon or Chief Electrical Inspector Dennis Clements.

OESC requirements for supplemental grounding for SR occupancies

BCD has become increasingly aware of some misunderstanding in the application of the Oregon Electrical Specialty Code (OESC) requirements for supplemental grounding (redundant grounding) and standby power as it relates to SR occupancies.

After consulting with representatives of the Oregon Health Authority and the Office of State Fire Marshal, we have determined that the requirements for supplemental grounding and standby power are not applicable to SR occupancies as detailed in our analysis.

Electric vehicle charging station permits

In August, BCD opened a public comment period on changes to the electric vehicle charging station rules. The Electrical and Elevator Board recommended the changes in order to address changes in charging station technology. The previous rule provided for a feeder permit, but recent changes to charging station technology involve branch circuits instead of feeders. As a result of the public comment period, we recommended changes to the proposed rule. The changes, approved by the board, provide for a single electric vehicle charging station permit regardless of the technology. The fee for the permit should be based on a jurisdiction's charge for a feeder for a similar sized circuit. We also recommended changes to the language of the rule to align it with the language in the Oregon Electrical Specialty Code. The permanent rule became effective Oct. 1, 2012.

If you have questions on the rule, contact Aeron Teverbaugh at 503-373-1354. For questions about electric vehicle charging station installations, contact Dennis Clements at 503-378-4459.

Oregon is in top tier of energy efficient states

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its 2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard earlier this week and we're happy to report that Oregon remained in the top tier of states for energy efficiency. Despite more stringent scoring methodology, Oregon maintained its position as the fourth most energy efficient state in the nation. In this year's ranking, Massachusetts came out on top, followed by California and New York.

The report pointed out that Oregon is in the elite group of states that have adopted building energy codes that exceed the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2009 or ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for both residential and commercial construction. At this time, only Maryland and Illinois have adopted the 2012 IECC, but only for residential construction.

While the ACEEE evaluates states in six categories, including state-led initiatives around energy efficiency, transportation policies, and appliance standards, the report recognized the importance of building energy codes to increase building performance and reduce overall electricity use. Since buildings tend to be long-lasting and energy retrofits are expensive, it's the building energy code requirements that ensure efficiency measures.

Oregon also got points for Governor Kitzhaber's 10-Year Energy Action Plan. Although still in draft form, the plan put forward an ambitious goal of meeting 100 percent of the state's growing demand for electricity with increases in efficiency and conservation. It also calls for improving the energy efficiency of state-owned buildings in the coming years.

Read more about the results of 2012 ACEEE State Scorecard in an Oregonian article.


Summary of enforcement cases presented
to the Electrical & 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.

Final orders after hearing: These cases went to a contested case hearing. Each penalty assessment was reviewed and approved by the Electrical and Elevator Board.

Published by the State of Oregon Building Codes Division.
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