News Updates - October 11, 2012
Specialized inspector program update
The Building Codes Division's specialized inspector
pilot program authorized by House Bill 3462 continues to evolve
to better meet the needs of local government. So far, the program
has been well received. Forty-two jurisdictions and 98 individuals
have participated in at least one of the four specialized inspector
training programs. We continually solicit feedback from the jurisdictions
and individuals participating in the program in order to continue
improving. One of the most common comments is that the fieldwork
component can be a barrier to certification. Additionally, we
have also received feedback on the examinations that some questions
are not appropriate to the certification.
We are working on an initiative to address these issues by making
changes to the fieldwork requirement and developing specific specialized
inspector examinations. We have hired John Powell to spearhead
our efforts. Instead of submitting documentation of 40 supervised
inspections, applicants will have the option to undergo an individual
evaluation and approval by the division. This will enable individuals
in areas with less construction to complete the certification
process in a shorter period of time. We also revised the specialized
inspector examinations to focus on specific installation examples.
The idea is to better assess an individual's ability to recognize
specific issues they are likely to see in the field and cite the
appropriate code section. Another strategy we are exploring is
the ability to tailor the scope of a specialized inspector's certification
to their knowledge and skill level. This would allow individuals
who may not be ready to inspect to the full scope allowed under
the rules to begin inspections of a more limited nature. For example,
an individual that doesn't have the knowledge level to perform
a single inspection on an electrical service replacement may be
able to perform finals on a 2,500-square-foot house where the
service inspection already had a cover inspection.
We are continuing to evaluate and make improvements to the HB
3462 pilot program to ensure it meets the needs of individuals
and jurisdictions. If you have questions, contact Aeron
Teverbaugh at 503-373-1354.
New HB 3462 pilot course for permit technicians
In July, BCD asked building officials to participate in a survey
on what courses they were interested in for the next HB 3462 pilot
project. The largest response suggested a course for permit technicians
to learn simple plan review and intake support.
We responded by designing a new Web-based course using live virtual
classroom webinar software. There will be several sessions and
the complete course will be approximately 10 hours. The first
portion of the course will deal with plan intake procedures, and
the rest of the course will concentrate on the 2011 Oregon Residential
Specialty Code and the types of simple plan review. Although there
is not a certification associated with this training, we feel
that permit support staff will benefit from the class.
The date for the first session of the course has not been determined,
but it will probably begin late November or early December. If
you are interested, contact Aeron
Teverbaugh at 503-373-1354 or Sherri
West at 503-373-7509.
The ePermitting team has been busy at work creating a new permitting
model that requires less time to implement and that has been designed
to be consistent with the requirements for a building program.
The new program model was designed to come to a city or county
fully configured with the exception of those provisions that are
unique to a specific building department, such as fee amounts,
addresses, or interfaces. The model can also be implemented with
and without data conversion from an existing software program.
In addition, training and project management is provided remotely
via online classes and teleconferences. This allows for training
to be conducted at more convenient times for each office and a
reduction in travel time for physical conferences.
Finally, a collaboration site is being created to allow those
participating in the program to share questions, thoughts, and
answers. All of this is designed to create the most possible efficient
system for implementation and system training.
If you are interested in learning more about the new program
model, the available training, or have other questions, contact
help desk at 503-373-7396.
Statewide alternate method for 2012 IBC available soon
BCD anticipates the 2014 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC),
based on the 2012 International Building Code (IBC) as amended
by Oregon provisions, to be adopted and become effective April
1, 2014. As an interim measure, we have developed an alternate
method that will provide designers the option of designing to
the latest edition of the model codes ahead of the statewide implementation
The Building Codes Structures Board met on Sept. 26, 2012, and
recommended to the division the scientific and technical merits
of adopting the 2012 IBC with certain Oregon amendments as an
acceptable alternate method to the 2010 OSSC.
We believe the 2012 IBC serves as an effective, comprehensive
alternative to the 2010 OSSC for the assembly of the built environment
subject to the following:
The use of the alternate method constitutes a separate compliance
path from the 2010 OSSC in that designs must comply with the
2012 IBC in its entirety. Limited crossover applications are
allowed where approved by the building official.
Designs must also comply with the 2012 International Mechanical
Code and the new construction provisions of 2012 International
Fire Code. Alternate methods for these respective codes will
be available online at www.bcd.oregon.gov.
Designs may comply with either the 2010 Oregon Energy Efficiency
Specialty Code or the 2012 International Energy Efficiency
The Oregon amendments listed in a separate document known
as "Exhibit A" are made part of the 2012 IBC Alternate
The alternate method is going through the administrative processes,
so watch for it to become effective in the near future. When finalized,
the alternate methods for these respective codes will be available
on the Commercial Structures
program page of our website.
For more information, contact Richard
Rogers at 503-378-4472 or Steve
Judson at 503-378-4635.
Arc-fault current interrupters
BCD spent the past several months gathering information on arc-fault
current interrupters (AFCIs). We held a public meeting on Aug.
8 and heard testimony from various contractors and manufacturers
on the use of AFCIs to develop a response to the Electrical and
Elevator Board's recommendation to delay expansion of AFCI protection
beyond residential bedrooms to other living areas.
We proposed several changes to OESC 210.12(A) in response to
the Electrical Board recommendation. First, we replaced "hallways"
with "alcoves" as an AFCI-covered area. Second, we added
an exception for use of AFCI circuits. Third, we included an informational
note after the new exception.
The exception reads:
"It shall be permissible to install not more than
five branch circuits that each supply one or more outlets
labeled as 'not AFCI protected' serving a single system in
a single room of a dwelling unit without AFCI protection."
The informational note reads:
"The State recognizes the arc-fault circuit interrupter
as a safety device that generally improves consumer protection.
However, because the AFCI technology is still maturing, reliability
and affordability of electrical installations should be considered.
Therefore, the State intends to encourage the expanded use
of AFCIs while allowing for some exceptions to its use."
We have outlined the administrative
process and timeline for the AFCI changes. If you have questions
or need more information, contact Electrical Program Policy Analyst
Brett Salmon or
Chief Electrical Inspector Dennis
OESC requirements for supplemental grounding for SR occupancies
BCD has become increasingly aware of some misunderstanding in
the application of the Oregon Electrical Specialty Code (OESC)
requirements for supplemental grounding (redundant grounding)
and standby power as it relates to SR occupancies.
After consulting with representatives of the Oregon Health Authority
and the Office of State Fire Marshal, we have determined that
the requirements for supplemental grounding and standby power
are not applicable to SR occupancies as detailed in our analysis.
Electric vehicle charging station permits
In August, BCD opened a public comment period on changes to the
electric vehicle charging station rules. The Electrical and Elevator
Board recommended the changes in order to address changes in charging
station technology. The previous rule provided for a feeder permit,
but recent changes to charging station technology involve branch
circuits instead of feeders. As a result of the public comment
period, we recommended changes to the proposed rule. The changes,
approved by the board, provide for a single electric vehicle charging
station permit regardless of the technology. The fee for the permit
should be based on a jurisdiction's charge for a feeder for a
similar sized circuit. We also recommended changes to the language
of the rule to align it with the language in the Oregon Electrical
Specialty Code. The permanent rule became effective Oct. 1, 2012.
If you have questions on the rule, contact Aeron
Teverbaugh at 503-373-1354. For questions about electric vehicle
charging station installations, contact Dennis
Clements at 503-378-4459.
Oregon is in top tier of energy efficient states
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
released its 2012
State Energy Efficiency Scorecard earlier this week and we're
happy to report that Oregon remained in the top tier of states
for energy efficiency. Despite more stringent scoring methodology,
Oregon maintained its position as the fourth most energy efficient
state in the nation. In this year's ranking, Massachusetts came
out on top, followed by California and New York.
The report pointed out that Oregon is in the elite group of states
that have adopted building energy codes that exceed the International
Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2009 or ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for both
residential and commercial construction. At this time, only Maryland
and Illinois have adopted the 2012 IECC, but only for residential
While the ACEEE evaluates states in six categories, including
state-led initiatives around energy efficiency, transportation
policies, and appliance standards, the report recognized the importance
of building energy codes to increase building performance and
reduce overall electricity use. Since buildings tend to be long-lasting
and energy retrofits are expensive, it's the building energy code
requirements that ensure efficiency measures.
Oregon also got points for Governor Kitzhaber's 10-Year
Energy Action Plan. Although still in draft form, the plan
put forward an ambitious goal of meeting 100 percent of the state's
growing demand for electricity with increases in efficiency and
conservation. It also calls for improving the energy efficiency
of state-owned buildings in the coming years.
Read more about the results of 2012 ACEEE State Scorecard in
Summary of enforcement cases presented
to the Electrical & 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.
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.