Edition: Vol. 02, No. 10
Edition date: June 3, 2009

Printable version

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

BCD Events
June, July

None at this time

Board meetings
June, July

June 19: Oregon State Plumbing Board

July 1: Residential Structures Board meeting

July 8: Building Codes Structures Board meeting

July 23: Electrical and Elevator Board meeting

Public meetings and hearings

June 10: 2010 Oregon Structural Specialty Code Committee meeting


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. The building 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 and OMSC 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 Oregon

Click 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 controller.

Elevator operation for an ascent works as follows:

1. 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.
2. Two seconds later another set of turbines turn on to accelerate the car by increasing the vacuum pressure.
3. 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.
4. 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:

1. The 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 a stop.
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 ron.m.crabtree@state.or.us.

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 (PDF / Word) must be securely taped to the inside of the window closest to the entrance door.

    • The NLEA form will indicate which construction inspections still remain to be performed by BCD or its agent.
    • A gold insignia will not be issued until these inspections are completed.
  • 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:

    • Minimum setbacks
    • Foundations
    • Electric, water, sewer, and gas connections on and to the structure
    • Mate lines/multi-level module connections for two or more stories
    • Field-installed headers
    • Fire sprinklers installed on-site
    • Alarm 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 citations.

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 liz.a.browder@state.or.us.

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.

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.


Testing, testing…
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 tool.

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, or lori.l.graham@state.or.us.

Published by the State of Oregon Building Codes Division.
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