News Updates - June 3, 2009
Small wind turbine certification standards
At its May 28 meeting, the Electrical and Elevator
Board approved a draft rule providing a process for certifying
small wind turbines. Because ORS 479.610 requires electrical equipment
to be certified before it can be installed, representatives of
the small wind turbine industry and Department of Energy approached
the board to try to develop a short term solution to the certification
issue. Standards organizations, such as Underwriters Laboratory
(UL), are working to develop certification standards that will
keep up with the fast changing renewable energy technology. The
draft rule sets up a process for field certification of small
wind turbines, requiring a manufacturer to submit a turbine for
a field evaluation and then submit documentation that all other
turbines of that model are the same as the first. Permitting,
licensing, and inspection requirements would also apply under
the draft rule. The division anticipates holding a public hearing
on July 21st, with a temporary rule effective in late July, followed
by an 18-month rule that sunsets in December 2010.
Wallowa County applies to assume the building inspection program
Wallowa County has initiated the process to assume the building
inspection program beginning July 1, 2009. As part of the process,
there is a protest period. Anyone with specific concerns about
the proposed assumption
must submit their objection to the division by June 12, 2009.
inspection program for Wallowa County is currently being administered
by the state. If approved, the division anticipates that Wallowa
County will take over the program.
Update on Oregon Mechanical and
Oregon Structural Specialty Code Change
The final date to submit code change proposals for both the Oregon
Mechanical and Oregon Structural Specialty Codes (OMSC and OSSC)
was May 21. The code committees will spend the next few meetings
reviewing these public proposals for their respective codes, along
with model code changes and Oregon amendments.
You will find a list of future meeting dates for both committees
listed below. Remember you can view all these committee meetings
live over the internet by clicking the "view live meetings"
link on BCD's Web site.
June 10: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
June 3: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
June 25: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
June 17: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
July 9: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
July 2: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
July 22: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
July 14: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Both the OSSC
committees have Web pages where you can view the code proposals
and other committee documents. The adoption of both the 2010 OSSC
and the 2010 OMSC codes is scheduled for April 1, 2010.
BCD has new acting deputy administrator
Andrea Simmons has accepted the position of acting deputy administrator
for the Building Codes Division. Simmons has been with BCD for
over 11 years, including 7 years as policy and technical services
manager, and most recently as manager of BCD's green building
services, as well as serving as BCD's legislative liaison. Her
background, skills, and history with BCD will be an invaluable
help to the division.
"Space-age" pneumatic elevator technology comes to
photo to enlarge.
While it may sound like something out of the Jetsons, pneumatic
elevator technology has made it to Oregon. Under Elevator
Statewide Alternate Method No. 09-01, pneumatic elevators
may be installed in Oregon residences. Pneumatic elevators
move up and down by changing air pressure, rather than by
means of motor driven cables or chains. The elevator car
is made of polycarbonate walls with an iron floor and roof,
which runs inside a clear polycarbonate tube. At the top
of the tube there are turbines, vacuum valves, and an elevator
Elevator operation for an ascent works as follows:
A set of turbines begin to exhaust air from above the elevator
car, the decrease in pressure above the car causes the elevator
to begin to rise.
Two seconds later another set of turbines turn on to accelerate
the car by increasing the vacuum pressure.
Within 5 cm of the stopping level, a magnetic sensor signals
the controller to turn off the second set of turbines, thus
slowing the elevator down.
When the elevator reaches the desired stopping point, another
magnetic sensor signals the first set of turbines to shut
down and activates the car locks.
5. When the turbines shut down, the car adjusts to the gravity
shift by slowly dropping several centimeters; this drop
positions the car snugly on the car locks.
6. When the car is anchored on the car locks, a mechanical
position sensor opens the doors.
Elevator operation for a descent works as follows:
car locking pins are mechanically released by the turbines
lifting the car slightly to trigger a magnetic sensor that
releases the locks.
2. The turbines are turned off and vacuum valves are opened,
which allows air to enter the vacuum chamber causing the
car to descend.
3. Within 15 cm of the ground floor, a magnetic sensor signals
the vacuum valves to shut off and the elevator slows to
4. The elevator anchors onto the car locks allowing a mechanical
position sensor to open the elevator doors.
If this description brings to mind the tubes that take
your money at the bank drive-through, it should because
it is the same technology. Currently, pneumatic elevator
cars are fairly small with the biggest models made to accommodate
one person in a wheel chair. Pneumatic elevator installation
is, however, convenient for small spaces and existing homes
because it does not require a hoistway to be built. The
first pneumatic elevator was installed in a Portland residence
in May 2009. For more information, contact Chief Elevator
Inspector Ron Crabtree at (503) 378-3866 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prefabricated structure program improvements
There has long been some confusion concerning the shipment and
installation of incomplete prefabricated structures. In order
to clear up some of the confusion, BCD recently revised its Incomplete
Structure, Notice to Local Enforcement Agency (NLEA) forms
and procedures. The following is an overview of the new procedure:
Completed prefabricated structures are shipped
from the manufacturing plant with a gold insignia of compliance
indicating that all construction inspections have been completed
on the structure.
Incomplete prefabricated structures are shipped
without an insignia. Instead, a completed NLEA form
must be securely taped to the inside of the window closest
to the entrance door.
NLEA form will indicate which construction inspections still
remain to be performed by BCD or its agent.
gold insignia will not be issued until these inspections
Installation inspections that are performed
by the local jurisdiction will not be indicated on the NLEA
form. All of these inspections can be included in the valuation
for the installation permit. Installation inspection items,
as provided by OAR 918-674-0015(5), include:
water, sewer, and gas connections on and to the structure
lines/multi-level module connections for two or more stories
sprinklers installed on-site
systems completed on-site
Even when a home dealer is working with a customer to
get a home sited, it is the responsibility of the prefabricated
structure manufacturer to let both BCD and the local jurisdiction
know where and when an incomplete structure is going to be sited.
If you have questions, please contact the prefabricated structures
program at (503) 378-3080.
Training to enhance building departments' enforcement programs
BCD's enforcement section will provide training to local jurisdictions
who are interested in enhancing their enforcement programs by
issuing citations for elevator, boiler, plumbing, and electrical
licensing violations. The purpose of this program is to ensure
a greater enforcement presence throughout the state and ensure
that installations are safe. The training is a short presentation
which provides guidelines for jurisdictions to use when issuing
The enforcement section recently revised the process for issuing
tickets for licensing violations. Local jurisdictions will now
be reimbursed $200 per citation which require no additional actions
by the division. Payments to jurisdictions will be made on a quarterly
basis. To participate, jurisdictions will need to enter into an
Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with BCD.
If your jurisdiction is interested in the IGA process, please
notify BCD Enforcement Manager Liz Browder at 503-373-1983, or
by email at email@example.com.
Summary of enforcement cases presented
to the Electrical and Elevator Board
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.
after hearing: These cases went to a contested case hearing.
Each penalty assessment was reviewed and approved by the Electrical
and Elevator Board.
The switch from Quick Permits to the basic ePermitting system
is in the final steps. Plans are for the ePermitting basic system
to be up and running on June 22, 2009. The project team is busy
getting all of the current Quick Permits customers configured
into the system and then tested. If you are one of the jurisdictions
presently using the BCD online permitting system, you will be
notified when your testing will begin.
As part of an advertising campaign for this new system, all the
local building departments using the ePermitting online service
will receive 100 business cards with ePermitting information printed
on them to hand out to local contractors. They will also receive
templates to continue producing the cards, which will be a useful
Local Building Department Directory
At the same time as the new ePermitting basic system becomes available,
BCD will also be debuting the Local Building Department Directory
(LBDD). Remember, the LBDD, formerly the Directory of Responsibility,
is being updated. The new directory gives jurisdictions more control
over the essential information that identifies each building department
and allows them to update information as necessary. The LBDD is
your way to communicate fun and exciting information to your customers
too. If your building department has not updated their information
on the LBDD, please register your jurisdiction's directory administrator
and make sure your information is accurate.
If you have any questions about either the testing for the ePermitting
system or the LBDD, please contact Lori Graham at 503-373-7755,