Edition: Vol. 03, No. 11
Edition date: December 8, 2010

Printable version

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

News Updates - December 8, 2010

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and ADA

With electric vehicles making their way into the Oregon auto market, jurisdictions are starting to see more permit applications for the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. In anticipation of some of the questions pertaining to charging stations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that will arise as you apply the codes to these new installations, here is a short Q&A, we hope will be helpful.

Q: Are the charging station spaces on building sites covered under the ADA?
A: Yes.

When charging stations are located on the site of a building that is required to be ADA accessible, they are considered an "element" or "facility" of that building and must also be made accessible.

Q: What are the technical standards that must be met under Chapter 11 of the Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC)?
A: 1) The operable parts of the EV charger must be within the reach ranges. (1109.3.3)
2) The charging station needs to be on an accessible route. (1103.1)

Neither the Federal ADA Accessibility Guidelines for buildings and facilities (ADAAG) nor Chapter 11 of the OSSC have construction criteria specific to charging stations at this time. Both the ADAAG and Chapter 11 do contain general provisions mentioned above that are applicable to all facilities and elements when provided on the site of any building that is required to be ADA accessible.

Q: Are EV charging spaces required to comply with the accessible parking design criteria? (i.e., nine feet wide with an access aisle, striping etc.)
A: No. Not when they are provided in addition to the required accessible parking spaces.

The building code design criteria for accessible parking spaces and the quantity of such spaces are mandatory code requirements of lots located on the site of affected buildings. The primary purpose of these spaces is parking. An EV charger could be added to a required accessible parking space. However, the space must still meet all of the criteria of an accessible space. Unlike regular parking spaces, charging is considered the primary purpose of parking spaces equipped with EV charging equipment. When EV parking spaces are provided in addition to or separate from the required accessible spaces, they are not required to meet the design criteria of accessible parking spaces.

Q: Do EV charging spaces need to be located on the shortest practical route to accessible building entries?
A: No.

The accessible EV charging spaces should be located in close proximity to major buildings and site facilities; however, the EV charging stations do not need to be located immediately adjacent to the buildings and other facilities like traditional ADA parking since EV charging, not parking, is considered the primary purpose.

For questions or comments, please contact Shane Sumption at 503-373-1200 or shane.r.sumption@state.or.us.

Energy Codes Resource Guide

The U.S. Department of Energy just released the "Building Energy Codes Resource Guide - Code Officials Edition". The guide brings together all available resources from the federal Building Energy Codes Program to help code officials navigate the world of energy efficiency compliance.

This guide was designed for a national audience, so there are a few things to be aware of for Oregon readers. All of the "Residential Compliance" section does not apply to Oregon, since we have not adopted REScheck as a compliance tool and we have our own unique residential energy code. When looking at the commercial construction sections of the guide remember we use an Oregon amended version of the 2009 IECC, so not all of the information given is pertinent. This aside, it is an excellent resource to help building officials, inspectors, and plans examiners gain a greater understanding on how to check for compliance. The Guide is worth a cover-to-cover read for knowledge of what is going on in energy efficiency compliance around the country.

You may get a downloadable copy of the Guide here.

For assistance using and interpreting the Oregon specific version of COMcheck, please contact Mark Campion, 503-378-4530 or mark.campion@state.or.us.

New Assistant Building Official for BCD

BCD welcomes a new Assistant Building Official and Plan Reviewer: Rick Sterling. Prior to BCD, Rick was a full time instructor for Chemeketa Community College's Building Inspection Technologies Program. His hands-on experience includes 10 years as a Senior Plans Examiner for Washington County Building Services Department and 3 years as a plans examiner/structural-mechanical inspector with Benton County Development Services. He also spent 17 years working various trades in the fields of residential, commercial and heavy highway construction. Rick graduated from Chemeketa's BIT Program with an A.S. degree in 1993. You can contact Rick at: Richard.L.Sterling@state.or.us or 503-378-2833.

Survey Results--House Bill 3462 Specialized
Inspector Training Certification

Thank you to all the Building Officials who recently completed BCD's email survey on the implementation of the HB 3462 specialized inspector certification program. The response was excellent, with 64 Building Officials providing detailed answers and comments.

Overall, the survey results show statewide enthusiasm for this program and a desire for flexible training options:

  • 90% of respondents indicated that they could begin sending applicants to specialized inspector certification trainings in the next six months, and 75% wanted trainings to be offered every six months to provide opportunities for more inspectors to be certified.

  • 69% preferred that the academic training be offered in an incremental or self-paced schedule, rather than an intensive format at a single location.

  • 98% indicated that local community colleges were the most convenient locations to provide local academic training. Salem, Portland, and Bend were other popular locations.

  • The Division is exploring the possibility of providing some online training options. 78% favored having any online training be self-paced and available via a personal computer.

  • 82% indicated that the fieldwork and academic training components of each certification should be interspersed. And 69% indicated that cooperation directly between different jurisdictions is the best way to arrange the necessary fieldwork training inspections required for each certification.

Again, thank you for completing this survey. The Division is excited about providing the academic training portion of this program in several different formats, including classes located in several regions, online self-paced courses, and independent study segments. BCD is working to introduce the Solar PV and Plumbing specialized inspector certifications in the first half of 2011. We are in the process of creating the training curriculum for these two initial certifications and will continue to provide information throughout the implementation process.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Policy Analyst Trevor Johnson at trevor.w.johnson@state.or.us or 503-373-1354.

Important Code Adoption and Amendment Dates

The division is adopting and amending a new plumbing code, electrical code, and low-rise residential code (ORSC & Appendix N). Coordinating these three codes involves a complex process of incorporating legislative mandates, code committee meetings, board meetings, public hearings, and having a published code available prior to the scheduled effective date. Two bills approved by the Legislature, House Bill 3450 (carbon monoxide alarms) and Senate Bill 1025 (radon gas mitigation) made this cycle even more complex.

On April 1, 2011 several code amendments will become effective in order to implement certain legislative mandates (see table below). April 1, 2011 is also the effective date for the new 2011 Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code and the 2011 Oregon Electrical Specialty Code. On July 1, 2011 the 2011 Oregon Residential Specialty Code and amendments to Appendix N (2010 OSSC) becomes effective. Lastly, on April 1, 2013 radon mitigation standards for new public buildings become effective. Below you will find detailed information about the codes and amendments mentioned above.

Effective Date




April 1, 2011*

2010 OSSC

Adopt Section 1812 (new Group R-2 & R-3)

SB 1025 radon gas

April 1, 2011*

Appendix N (2010 OSSC)

Amend AN115

SB 1025 radon gas

April 1, 2011*

2008 ORSC

Adopt Appendix F (final version pending board approval)

SB 1025 radon gas

April 1, 2011

2010 OSSC

Amend Section 908

HB 3450 carbon monoxide

April 1, 2011

Appendix N (2010 OSSC)

Adopt AN103.6

HB 3450 carbon monoxide

April 1, 2011

2008 ORSC

Adopt Section R326

HB 3450 carbon monoxide

April 1, 2011

2011 OPSC

2009 UPC w/Oregon amendments

Base model code adoption

April 1, 2011

2011 OESC

2011 NEC w/Oregon amendments

Base model code adoption

July 1, 2011

2011 ORSC

2011 ORSC consists of:
- 2009 IRC (struct/mech) w/Oregon amends
- low-rise plumbing from 2011 OPSC
- low-rise electrical from 2011 OESC
- Appendix N (2010 OSSC) w/amends

Base model code adoption

April 1, 2013*

2010 OSSC

Adopt 1811(new public buildings)

SB 1025 radon gas

*Radon mitigation standards are required to be adopted January 1, 2011 with varying effective dates - new R-2 and R-3 residential buildings standards become effective April 1, 2011, while radon mitigation standards for new public buildings become effective April, 1, 2013.

Code Updates - Plumbing, Residential & Electrical

Plumbing & Residential Codes:
The State Plumbing Board at the board's October 21st meeting approved the proposed Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code (OPSC) for public hearing. A public hearing will be held in January 2011 on the proposed draft code, including the low-rise plumbing provisions approved by the Residential and Manufactured Structures Board (see below). We expect the 2011 OPSC to become effective April 1, 2011.

The residential code review committee completed its review of the structural and mechanical provisions of the proposed 2011 Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC). The committee's recommendations are being considered by the Residential and Manufactured Structures Board at the board's December 8th meeting. At this meeting the board will also review the low-rise plumbing provisions of the ORSC, which are contained within the Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code. Following the board's recommendation on the structural and mechanical provisions, a public hearing will be held on the proposed draft code in January 2011. We expect the 2011 ORSC to become effective July 1, 2011.

If you have questions or need further information regarding the Oregon Residential Specialty Code, please contact Mike Ewert, residential and mechanical code specialist, at mike.d.ewert@state.or.us or at 503-373-7529.

If you have questions or need further information regarding the Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code, please contact Terry Swisher, plumbing chief, at terry.l.swisher@state.or.us or at 503-373-7488.

All board meetings and public hearings are video streamed live over the internet. Click the "view live meetings" link on BCD's website.

Electrical Code:

The Electrical Specialty Code Review Committee has held four meetings. The next meeting of the code review committee will be Friday, December 17, 2010 at the Building Codes Division. This code will be based on the 2011 National Electrical Code (NEC), published by the National Fire Protection Association and is anticipated to be effective April 1, 2011. The committee is reviewing both changes to the model code and current Oregon amendments. They will make a recommendation to the Electrical and Elevator Board to approve the proposed code. Once this board sanctions the code changes, the division reviews and adopts the changes as the 2011 OESC.

All committee meetings are video streamed live over the internet. Click the "view live meetings" link on BCD's website.

If you have questions or need further information regarding the Electrical Code Review Committee, contact Dennis Clements, chief electrical inspector, at dennis.l.clements@state.or.us or at 503-378-4459.


Summary of enforcement cases presented
to the State 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 State Electrical and Elevator Board.

License suspensions

Published by the State of Oregon Building Codes Division.
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