Edition: Vol. 02, No. 17
Edition date: October 7, 2009

Printable version

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

News Updates - October 7, 2009

Building Codes Division closes offices on October 16

As you know, tough economic times have severely reduced state revenues, forcing legislatures throughout the nation to make deep cuts in state budgets. Nearly half the states have found that temporary closures and furloughs are necessary ways to save money while preserving the important functions and services of state government.

As part of its strategy to address its own budget cuts, Oregon's state government will close most agencies on 10 Fridays that fall throughout the current two-year budget period (see the list of closure dates below). The closures will require our employees to take mandatory unpaid furloughs on those days and will save about $2 million a day statewide.

Our first closure day is Friday, October 16. The Department of Consumer and Business Services will close all its offices on that day. This includes the main office for the Oregon Building Codes Division in Salem and the two BCD field offices in Pendleton and Coquille. BCD enforcement officers will be working on mandatory closure days. We also recommend that you request electrical inspections that are done by BCD employees early, so there is little inconvenience.

We expect online services that are normally available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to be available on the closure day. This would include both our ePermitting and Minor Label Web sites.

We regret any inconvenience this closure may cause. Please be assured we will do everything possible to minimize disruption and hardship to those who rely on our services.

We appreciate your understanding, and look forward to reopening on Monday morning, October 19.

Closure Dates

Friday, October 16, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday, March 19, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday, March 18, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011

Future BCD mandatory closure dates will be featured on the newsletter's left side at least one month in advance of the closure date.

Structures Board reviews proposed 2010
Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC)

At its September 30, 2009 meeting, the Building Codes Structures Board completed its review of the proposed 2010 OSSC. The board reviewed provisions recommended by the Oregon Structural Specialty Code Committee, which included changes in the 2009 International Building Code, proposed changes submitted by members of the public, and existing Oregon amendments. The board also reviewed and approved proposals for code changes to masonry cleanouts, lodging house occupant loads, and Chapter 16 Structural Design tables, which were submitted for board consideration by BCD staff.

After completing its review, the board approved the proposed 2010 OSSC as recommended by the Oregon Structural Specialty Code Committee, with the additional changes proposed by BCD staff, and sent it to public hearing. Based on the board's actions, the proposed code will be set for a public hearing where it may receive additional testimony and finally to the BCD administrator for the final decision on adoption.

Oregon Solar Energy Code Committee Meets

The Oregon Solar Energy Code Committee will continue its review of proposed solar code provisions this Thursday, October 8. The initial goal is to develop a code that provides clarity and promotes consistency in the installation and construction standards of solar energy systems statewide, focusing on photovoltaic installations. The code will not address licensing, solar hot water heaters, or thermal issues.

The committee has met twice and is expecting to meet every other Thursday through November 5. The committee will make recommendations to the division on the proposed statewide solar installation code. The division will open up a public comment period once the draft document proposed by the committee is complete. The meetings scheduled to take place between 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on October 8, 22, and November 5 will be Webcast live and accessible from the division's Web site.

Check out the committee's Web page for more information.

Energy Efficiency through "Right Sizing" of HVAC Systems

While rainwater harvesting, solar, and wind installations are all the rage for creating a "green" environment, the simple act of sizing HVAC systems correctly will have a substantial impact on the structures energy efficiency. Although the Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC) does not provide prescriptive requirements for sizing HVAC systems, it does identify two nationally recognized standards used for the sizing of those systems.

An air distribution system should be selected for each house based on its performance characteristics, the local climate, the structural features of the house, and the individual heating and cooling loads associated with the various rooms of the house. Local jurisdictions should request documentation verifying the appropriate use of the ORSC's Manual J and Manual D, or an equivalent calculation methodology for sizing duct systems and furnaces.

Local inspectors do not need to know the intimate details of the standards, but they should be asking for and checking the worksheets for a few key areas. Since sizing and proper installation of an HVAC system is critical to energy efficiency and home comfort, the worksheets should identify information such as the level of insulation, type and size of the windows, floor area, etc.

For additional information or if you have questions contact Micheal D. Ewert, residential and mechanical code specialist, at 503-373-7529 or mike.d.ewert@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.


Full services is the next step
Now that ePermitting basic services is up and running, the team is focusing their energy on the creation of ePermitting full services. This expanded system will really kick the tires of the Accela Automation product, which is the core software being used for developing full services. The first step the ePermitting team has taken is reviewing the original implementation plan and incorporating what they have learned so far through the roll out of basic services. The next step is to develop the Oregon Permit Model (OPM), a template which will be integrated into the Accela's software. It is the team's goal to reduce the typical Accela time frame through the use of the OPM.

The OPM is the master template that will incorporate best practices from across the state and will be used in the implementation of each participating city or county. Ideally, the template will be broad enough to be useful to large, medium, and small communities alike.

Part of the template development will also include standardization of items such as application and permit status, inspection names, and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) codes. One of the primary goals of this project is to create a system where Oregon contractors can do business across the state with ease. In order to accomplish this goal, contractors should be able to call the IVR and use the same codes to request the inspections from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The ePermitting team has put a focus group together to address some of these issues. If you have an interest in the work of the focus group, let us know and we will be happy to update you on their progress.

The first building department to implement ePermitting's full service product will be Springfield. We anticipate work with Springfield will start this month (October), with a going live date during summer 2010. Also in 2010, work will begin with Eugene and then Lane County to get their full service packages up and running. Finally, in an effort to bring more cities and counties onto the system, we are looking at implementing groups of jurisdictions together. This will involve working with several jurisdictions at one time and creating a single workflow and configuration that everyone in the group agrees upon. A group of willing city and county building departments are discussing this avenue and the team's work will begin in the first part of next year. We have an ambitious schedule because we know there is a lot of interest from building departments all over Oregon in obtaining the system. Remember, a typical implementation takes approximately 9 to 18 months. We hope to shorten that time frame. Wish us luck!

If you have any questions about what is happening with ePermitting, please feel free to contact Debbie Wells at 503-373-7278 or Debbie.l.wells@state.or.us; or Lori Graham at 503-373-7755 or lori.l.graham@state.or.us.

BCD Board Information

Confirmation of recent executive
appointments and re-appointments

The Senate Interim Committee on Rules and Executive Appointments confirmed the following executive appointment and re-appointments to BCD's advisory boards:

Electrical and Elevator Board (ORS 455.138)
Timothy Frew
Position representing - Journeyman electrician
New appointment to 1st 4-year term [expires 06/30/2013]

Electrical and Elevator Board (ORS 455.138)
Michael Weaver
Position representing - Electrical equipment supplier
New appointment to 1st 4-year term [expires 06/30/2013]

Mechanical Board (ORS 455.140 & 144)
James Culbertson
Position representing - Sheet metal contractor
Re-appointment to 2nd 4-year term [expires 07/01/2013]

Mechanical Board (ORS 455.140 & 144)
Bradley Wright
Position representing - HVAC installer
Re-appointment to 2nd 4-year term [expires 07/01/2013]

Building Codes Structures Board (ORS 455.132)
Terry Dieter
Position representing - Architect
Re-appointment to 2nd 4-year term [expires 06/30/2013]

Oregon State Plumbing Board (ORS 693.115)
Sara Heinicke
Position representing - Public member
New appointment to 1st 4-year term [expires 09/30/2013]

Oregon State Plumbing Board (ORS 693.115)
Robin Scheffer
Position representing - Plumbing inspector
New appointment to 1st 4-year term [expires 09/30/2013]

Board vacancies
BCD has six governor-appointed boards that assist the division with its work. The following positions are currently vacant:


Designated Position

Board of Boiler Rules

practical steam operating engineer

Mechanical Board

public member

Residential Structures Board

public member

Please fill out an application if you are interested.

Published by the State of Oregon Building Codes Division.
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