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Filing a complaint

Building Codes Division
Consumers can submit complaints (using a Complaint Report) about code violations related to occupant safety and to report work performed by unlicensed electricians, plumbers, boilermakers, elevator contractors and manufactured structure installers.

Complaint Report:
#2509 -

Complaints about permit violations are usually handled by a local building department. To find your local building department, call your nearest city hall and ask what building jurisdiction you should contact for permits. Be sure to mention the address and the type of work (electrical, plumbing, mechanical, or structural) you wish to report.

All building departments in Oregon

Construction Contractors Board
Consumers should contact the Construction Contractors Board for complaints relating to:

  • A property owner alleging breach of contract, negligent or improper work
  • An employee alleging nonpayment of wages
  • A supplier alleging nonpayment for materials
  • One contractor against another, for breach of contract, negligent or improper work, or nonpayment

Complaint Report Instructions
The Building Codes Division initiates an investigation of violations based on information you record in the Complaint Report. The enforcement investigator will rely on the accurate information and detailed descriptions you submit. The following points are important for the investigation and these instructions may assist you writing your report.

  • Type of violator:
    Indicate whether the alleged violator is an individual or a business. At times, an additional Complaint Report may need to be completed. For example, if a plumbing business allowed an unlicensed person to perform work, a Complaint Report would be needed for the business and another for the individual.

  • Type of codes violated:
    Indicate whether commercial or residential (one- and two-family dwelling).

  • Alleged violator:
    The respondent (alleged violator) must be correctly identified in order to initiate an investigation. Please ensure that the respondent’s name is properly spelled so the investigation will be focused on the correct individual or company. Attempt to include all other information asked for on the Complaint Report.

  • Description of alleged violation:
    Indicate whether or not you observed the alleged violation. If you did not personally witness the violation(s), provide a detailed explanation of how you know the violation occurred.

    • “Wanna B. Sparky” stated he installed the electric service box.
    • A witness, “I. B. Peking” saw “Wanna B. Sparky” install the service box.

There is another portion of the Complaint Report in which you will list witness information.

  • Violation date and location:
    Indicate the date and time that the alleged violation occurred. If it is unknown, write down the approximate date. Showing the time of the violation is important when reporting violations. Indicate the address of the violation.

  • Description of structure/specific area:
    Specifically describe the structure such as “new single family dwelling” or “commercial retail store.” Also describe the area of the alleged violation with descriptions like “remodeled bathroom in the basement” or “attic area of an attached two-car garage.” Generally, you will have first hand knowledge of the violation location and, in some cases, the investigator will never see the site. Therefore, the investigator must rely on your description or will require later clarification from you.

  • Purpose of installation:
    Indicate why the work was performed, with statements such as “installation of new circuit for an air conditioning unit” or “new hot tub being installed.”

  • Witnesses:
    In most cases the investigator will attempt to contact the witnesses you list. Provide as much accurate information as possible including complete name(s), address(es), and phone number(s).

  • Description of the violation(s):
    This portion can be the most important area of the Complaint Report. You may be called to testify to your observations in a hearing, so write your report with that in mind. When you testify, you and your report will be subject to cross-examination. Inspectors should make a practice of making field notes to document specific details and use those notes to assist in report writing.

  • Indicate how you discovered the violation and note the date of the discovery.
    (It may be different than the day of the violation).

    • “I discovered the violation while I was completing a scheduled plumbing inspection.”
    • “I observed the violation while driving by on other business.”

  • Be as specific as possible in articulating your observations or the observations of witnesses that you have spoken to.

    • “I observed “Wanna B. Sparky” gluing PVC together at the water meter.”
    • “I saw “Wanna B. Sparky” stripping electrical wire and terminating the wire on an outlet in the garage.”
    • “I. B. Peking” stated that he saw “Wanna B. Sparky” secure an electrical junction box to the wall stud in the kitchen area of the new home.”

  • The investigator is required to have permit information for every case report. When available, include a copy of the permit and any invoices, written contracts, etc. that will help the investigation.

  • Include any statements made by the Respondent that show guilt.

    • “Wanna B. Sparky” admitted to me that he installed the faucet,” or “He said that he thought he could do electrical work in Oregon with his Washington license.”

The information you include in your report will be a public record and subject to examination by the respondent and the respondent’s legal representative. Make your report factual without editorial comment or suggestion. The latter elements will invite challenges to your report and deflect the focus from the violation.