Edition: Vol. 01, No. 14
Edition date: December 31, 2008

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

BCD Events
January 2009

Coming Soon

Board meetings
January 2009

January 7: Residential Structures Board

January 22: Electrical & Elevator Board

Public meetings and hearings

None at this time

Contact a Code Chief

Dennis Clements
Chief Electrical Inspector

Ron Crabtree
Chief Elevator & Amusement Ride Inspector

Albert Endres
Chief Manufactured Structures

Mike Graham
Chief Boiler Inspector

Richard Rogers
Chief Structural Program

Terry Swisher
Chief Plumbing Inspector

News Updates - December 31, 2008

Energy efficiency in commercial buildings is changing

As of December 30, 2008, the division is accepting code amendment proposals relating to increasing energy efficiency in commercial buildings through construction practices or methods. Because energy efficiency is such a broad topic area, the division is accepting proposed changes to any of the codes including structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or boiler. BCD will be accepting code amendment proposals for energy efficiency until February 13, 2009.

A Commercial Energy Conservation Group (CEC) is being formed to advise the division on proposed code changes related to energy efficiency. The CEC will review code amendment proposals that have met the criteria of increasing energy efficiency in commercial buildings. The division will include the group's input and advice when forwarding proposals to the appropriate advisory board(s) in August and September 2009. The Oregon Structural and Mechanical Specialty Codes will be adopted April 1, 2010.

Electrical licensees designing fire protection systems

The permanent rule allowing general supervising electricians, general journeyman electricians, and class "A" limited energy technician licensees to design, plan, and lay out the electrical portions of a fire protection system goes into effect on Jan. 1,2009. This permanent rule exempts these three licenses from the requirement that a licensed engineer perform this type of work.

In May of 2008, Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (OSBEELS) issued a statement declaring in part, "unless an exception to the engineering laws apply, the design of fire protection systems must be performed under the supervision and control of a registered professional engineer or architect…" Because of this OSBEELS statement, licensed individuals, including licensed electricians employed by fire alarm contractors, were prohibited from designing fire protection systems. Representatives of both industry and local government approached the division and requested BCD address the effect of the OSBEELS action on the common practice of allowing electrical licensees to design the electrical portions of fire protection systems.

The permanent rule replaces the temporary rule in effect since July and is the result of numerous conversations between the division and diverse stakeholders such as electricians, contractors, engineers, local jurisdictions, and fire and life safety personnel. It clarifies which licensees may design, plan, and lay out the electrical portions of a fire protection system.

Local government gets local amendment capabilities

In an effort to help jurisdictions address the needs of their communities, the division has adopted a rule providing a mechanism for requesting a local code amendment to the state building code. The Local Amendment Rule, OAR 918-020-0370, becomes effective January 1, 2009.

The rule contains the procedure for adopting a local amendment through an ordinance or administrative rule. The rule requires jurisdictions to provide an opportunity for public comment prior to submitting a local amendment request to the division. The request will need to include a report explaining how the local jurisdiction responded to the substantive concerns raised during the public comment period. What exactly a "substantive issue" is will be defined by public input.

The rule prohibits "severance clauses" in local amendments. The local ordinance or administrative rule approved by the director represents the "terms and conditions" of the local amendment. If one of the terms is invalidated, the whole local amendment becomes null and void because it is no longer what the director approved. The jurisdiction's building official is responsible for enforcing and interpreting the local amendment once approved.

The director can approve an ordinance conditionally, in whole or in part, and may review local amendments as necessary. The director can withdraw their approval of the local amendment for reasons including: new information, changes in technology, and failure of a building official to uphold the terms and conditions relating to the local amendment. Where chapters or appendices are included in the code specifically for optional local adoption, jurisdictions won't have to follow the local amendment procedures.

If you have any questions, please contact Aeron Teverbaugh at (503) 373-1354 or through e-mail at aeron.teverbaugh@state.or.us.

A new look for some BCD Web pages

You may have noticed that some of our Web pages have a new look! We have reorganized some of the individual pages to group similar topics together in an effort to make the information a bit easier to find. We have redesigned the Web pages to provide a "one-stop shopping" experience, allowing you to access all the information for a specific topic in one place. These updated pages include:

Rulemaking- all things rulemaking, from newly adopted rules, to rulemaking advisory committees, to BCD's OAR compilation

Boards- all board activities, including upcoming meetings, links to each board's individual page, open board positions, and the board bylaws

Committees- a page devoted to the many advisory committees utilized by BCD

Statutes- you will find the most current BCD ORS compilation and other helpful links on this page

BCD Home- the home page now has a BCD activity calendar where notices of upcoming meetings and events will be posted, replacing the old "public notices" page

We hope the new format will be user-friendly and allow you to find what you are looking for faster.

New Year, some new rules

January 1st is just around the corner and with the New Year come some new rules. The division has adopted several rules that become effective on January 1, 2009. Some rules of interest to jurisdictions include:

Consistent Forms & Fee Methodology rules require all municipal building inspection programs to calculate permit fees using the same calculation methodologies and use permit forms consistent with the division's minimum requirements.

Local Amendment Request rule establishes a process municipalities must follow when adopting code requirements as local amendments. (Article in this issue)

Engineer Exemption rule allows a general supervising electrician, general journeyman electrician, and class "A" limited energy technician licensees to design, plan, and lay out the electrical portions of a fire protection system. (Article in this issue)

Pressure Vessel Inspection Frequency rule specifies the frequency of pressure vessel inspections to improve efficiency by tailoring inspection cycles to match the safety risks posed by particular classes of pressure vessels.

And the new rules don't stop there! The following rules are also effective on January 1, 2009:

With the new year, and the new rules, the division is also launching a brand new rulemaking Web page, which includes information on the division's rulemaking activities- all in one place! You can always visit the rulemaking Web page to see the division's ongoing rulemaking projects. Sign up to be notified each time the page is updated- just click on "sign up for BCD rule updates by email" at the top of the new page.


Summary of enforcement cases presented to the Oregon State Plumbing Board

Summary of cases resolved by BCD
These cases were resolved by the division's enforcement section and did not need any action by the Oregon State Plumbing Board.

Summary of contested cases
With these cases, the enforcement section represented the division in legal actions and the board was required to review the results and take action. Each final order was approved by the board with no changes.


New look and feel for the Directory of Responsibility

As part of the ePermitting team's revisions and improvements to the current Quick Permits program, the Local Building Department Directory (formerly the Directory of Responsibility) is being updated too. The new directory will give jurisdictions more control over the essential information that identifies each building department and allow them to update information as necessary.

The new directory is a Web based application that allows you, as the local jurisdiction, the ability to input, verify, and maintain your own data. The information you input is what the customer sees when they enter an address on the Web site. With the use of unique login information, you will now be able to make any necessary changes to important operation information, thereby keeping everything accurate and up-to-date.

With the new ePermitting portal coming on board in April, it is a great time to get familiar with the revised directory and verify your jurisdictional information. Get started by simply filling out the registration form. The registered contact person will receive a unique jurisdictional login and a link to training tutorials for the new directory. Once your jurisdiction completes the tutorials, you will be able to begin reviewing and updating the information in the directory.

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Published by the State of Oregon Building Codes Division.
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