A Guide to Navigating the Permit Process

When construction work has been done without benefit of permits or inspections

What do I need to do to resolve my building code violation?

Thank you for working with the Clackamas County Code Enforcement staff to bring your property into compliance with the Building Code. The following information is intended to help you understand the permitting process and help you resolve the code violation.

Keep these points to keep in mind as you navigate this process:

  • The building code violation is not considered fully abated until you receive an approved final inspection for all of the permits required by the county.
  • Several inspections may be required before your project is ready for a final inspection.
  • The 180-day expiration for permits applies to projects that have not yet been started; it does not apply to a code violation in a case where the work has already been done.
  • A $75 per month administrative compliance fee is assessed from the day the violations are confirmed until all final inspections are approved. All, or a portion of this fee, may be waived when violations are resolved in a timely and voluntary fashion.
  • It is very important to communicate with the Code Enforcement Officer assigned to your case. The officer will set a schedule for compliance and will work with you throughout this process.

Code Enforcement and Building Codes staff are committed to working cooperatively with residents and property owners to resolve building code violations.

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Building permit application information

You will apply for building permits in the Development Services lobby on the second floor of the Development Services Building. We are open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. map

Submitting a building permit application can involve several divisions and agencies depending upon the complexity of the application. The process can take considerable time as you meet with representatives from the different agencies, so please plan accordingly. We suggest that you begin the process earlier in the day so that you are more likely to complete the process the same day.

Please begin by checking in at the front reception desk in the lobby, where you will be given a routing slip that identifies when you arrived. Customers are served in the order in which they arrive.

The process begins at the permit counter (Station One) and involves other departments as necessary based on the type of permits you are seeking. You complete the process at Station One and pay any fees. The county accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card, cash or check. Please be advised that there is currently a $1,500 limit on credit card purchases.

Depending on the nature of the code violation, one of more of the following permits may be required: building, plumbing, electrical, grading, manufactured home or mechanical. An exemption from the structural building code for agricultural buildings may be granted in certain cases.

Required submittal materials

Building

  • A completed building permits application
  • Site plan, drawn to scale and no larger than 11 x 17. Photos or satellite pictures are not accepted in lieu of the required site plan.
  • For residential projects: Two sets of construction drawings, drawn to scale, typically 18" x 24" or larger.
  • For commercial projects: Three sets of construction drawings, drawn to scale, typically 18" x 24" or larger. See resolving structural building code violations.

Electrical

  • A completed electrical permit application signed by the homeowner or, if the property is for rent, lease or sale, signed by a licensed electrical contractor. See resolving electrical code violations.
  • Fees are based on the scope of the work, either on square footage or equipment / fixtures installed, such as panel and circuits, etc.

Plumbing

Grading

  • A completed application form.
  • Site plan no larger than 11" x 17"
  • Three sets of detailed grading plans drawn to scale. (Additional sets of plans may be required.)

Mechanical

  • A completed mechanical permit application
  • Three sets of plans (may require schematics or gas piping drawings)

Manufactured dwelling

  • A completed permit application form
  • Site plan no larger than 11" x 17"
  • This permit is most often issued over the counter without any review time.
  • Additional permits such as plumbing and electrical may be required.

Exemptions for agricultural, equine and forest buildings

  • An agricultural exemption application
  • A site plan no larger than 11" x 17"
  • One of the following documents:
    • County Assessor Farm Deferral
    • IRS Schedule F
    • Other proof of farm or forestry activity such as payment receipts for products
    • There is no cost for an agricultural, equine or forest exemption
    • This is typically issued over the counter
    • Please note that this exemption from the Oregon Structural Specialty Code does not prohibit a citizen from obtaining all other applicable permits

Depending on the scope and nature of the work performed, other divisions such as Engineering or Soils may have additional fees. We recommend you contact these departments directly to verify costs and requirements. The following is list of a few divisions that may be involved in the permit process:

Planning 503-742-4500
Soils 503-742-4740
Engineering 503-742-4691

If you have additional questions regarding the building permit process, contact a Permit Technician at 503-742-4240.

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Resolving structural building code violations

This information is designed to help residents and property owners who are permitting construction work that has been partially or completely constructed or installed without permits or inspections.

This applies to all forms of construction that cannot be readily seen by an inspector (i.e., concrete poured without inspections, framing and any other structural component enclosed by gypsum wallboard, and all other concealed forms of construction).

Where construction has been performed without benefit of a building plan review permit(s) and/or inspections, plans must be submitted showing conformance with the life safety provisions of the code, and the construction must be evaluated for structural soundness and conformance to the applicable codes by an Oregon licensed architect or engineer. This evaluation, along with drawings of as-built condition, must be stamped, signed and dated by the architect or engineer and presented to the Clackamas County Building Codes Division.

Letter

The evaluation letter accompanying the building permit application and submittal must include the following information;

  1. A statement indicating the date the structure was inspected by the engineer or architect or his/her authorized representative.
  2. A statement that summarizes the findings and results of the inspection.
  3. A copy of the structural analysis / calculations that were used to determine structural adequacy, prepared and stamped by the architect or engineer.
  4. A statement indicating that the structure was built in accordance with all applicable codes and in accordance with the plans submitted to the Clackamas County Building Codes Division for review.
  5. If the structure is in need of repair or structural modifications to make it sound, a written summary of all work necessary to correct the deficiencies.
  6. If roof or floor trusses have been used, the manufacturer's truss details or equivalent engineering information.

Plan review

The plans will be reviewed to determine whether they meet minimum criteria for acceptance and demonstrate compliance with all applicable codes and regulations.

Fees

The cost of a permit is based on the calculated value of the project. An investigation fee will be assessed on verified violations for all work done prior to the issuance of a building permit. For building violations, this investigation fee is charged at the county's current rate of $85 per hour, with a minimum 2-hour charge.

Inspection

After permits are issued, staff will inspect the construction that is visible and not yet covered for compliance and identify any corrections that may be required in order for the project to move forward. The inspector may also require the removal of materials that impede the visual inspections.

Request the first inspection through the county's automated system at 503-742-4720, using code 270. Please do not expect to be able to get a final inspection on the first inspection.

When structural repairs or modifications are required, the work must be left open and the applicant must call for the appropriate inspections. If the engineer of record approves any repairs or modifications, a stamped letter from the engineer should state the description of the inspection, date, approvals and denials.

The ultimate goal of this policy is to help ensure public safety by bringing buildings that have been constructed without permits into compliance with the building code. Clackamas County will look at all avenues to reasonably assert that a building has met the code criteria.

If you have any questions about this policy, please contact Building Codes at 503-742-4240.

Resolving building code violations step-by-step

  1. Submit required building and/or mechanical permit application along with plans, the architect or engineer evaluation, and as-built drawings.
  2. If required, pay the plan review fee (65% of the total cost of the permit)
  3. Pay the balance of the permit cost and investigation fee when the permit is ready to be issued.
  4. Schedule an inspection.
  5. Perform any corrective work and schedule any additional inspections.
  6. When all corrective work is complete, schedule a final inspection.

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Resolving electrical code violations

If a violation involves electrical work on residential property in which you reside, that is not intended for sale, lease, rent or exchange, and that is not part of a commercial enterprise, then you as the owner may purchase a permit and perform the necessary corrective work to bring the structure into compliance with the minimum electrical safety standards set by the Oregon Electrical Specialty Code (OESC). In all other cases, Oregon law requires electrical work to be performed by a licensed electrical contractor.

Permits

There is a fee for the permit. Electrical permit fees are based on the entire scope of work involved in the project including the number of electrical circuits added, altered or repaired and other related electrical work. An investigation fee will be assessed on verified violations for all work done prior to the issuance of the electrical permit. For electrical violations, the investigation fee is charged at the county's current rate of $85 per hour, with a minimum 2- hour charge.

First inspection (cover inspection)

Your responsibilities:

  • Schedule the cover inspection by calling the county's automated system at 503-742-4720 and using Code 120. Please do not expect to be able to get a final inspection on the first inspection.
  • Arrange to meet the inspector on the site to identify the scope of the electrical work included in the violation.
  • Remove all covers from electrical receptacles, switches and other electrical boxes, and pull out electrical devices and light fixtures. (Electrical devices and fixtures may hang by the wires.)
  • Do not install sheet rock or any other covering over electrical wiring until it has been inspected and approved.
  • Depending on what problems are identified during the inspection, you may be required to remove sheet rock or insulation for the inspector to make a full inspection.

The inspector's responsibilities:

  • Conduct an investigation, including checking the wire termination and the make-up of the wires in each box,
  • Will need to remove the electrical panel cover for inspection.
  • Test all devices for proper operation and grounding.
  • If additional corrections are necessary, make a written report of any required corrections. (Inspectors make every effort to identify all corrections the first time but, on some occasions, additional corrections will need to be made before the electrical final can be approved.)

The inspector will give you a written report identifying the corrections required. All corrective work must be completed, re-inspected and approved before a final inspection may take place and be approved.

Please be advised that exposed electrical wiring poses safety hazards. If you are uncomfortable doing this type of work, have pets or small children that may come in contact with exposed wiring, or are concerned about electrical safety for any other reasons, we recommend you hire a licensed electrical contractor to perform this work for you.

Final inspection

  • After all corrections are completed by you or your contractor, call the automated system at 503-742-4720 and use Code 199 to schedule a final inspection.
  • Once again, please arrange to meet the inspector on site.
  • The inspector will check over the list of corrections, reinspect the corrective work and determine if minimum OESC requirements have been met.

If you have questions about code requirements, please contact Doug Rudisel at dougrud@clackamas.us or 503-742-4764.

Thank you for taking these steps in an effort to resolve your electrical code violation.

Resolving electrical code violations step-by-step

  1. Obtain the required electrical permit and pay the fee and investigation fee.
  2. Remove all covers from electrical receptacles, switches and other electrical boxes, pull out the device and light fixtures.
  3. Schedule a cover inspection using code 120.
  4. Perform any corrective work and schedule any additional inspection if necessary.
  5. Once all corrective work is complete, schedule a final inspection.

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Resolving plumbing code violations

If a violation involves plumbing work on residential property in which you reside and that is not intended for sale, lease, rent or exchange, and is not part of a commercial enterprise, then you as the owner may purchase a permit and perform the corrective work needed to bring the structure into compliance with the minimum standards set by the Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code.

Applying for a permit

There is a fee for the permit. Plumbing permit fees are based on the entire scope of work involved in the project including the number of plumbing fixtures added, altered or repaired and other related plumbing work. An investigation fee will be assessed on verified violations for all work done prior to the issuance of a plumbing permit. For plumbing violations, this investigation fee is charged at the county's current rate of $85 per hour, with a minimum 2-hour charge.

First inspection

Your responsibilities:

  • Request an inspection through the county's automated system at 503-742-4720, using code 365 to schedule the inspection. Please do not expect to be able to get a final inspection on the first inspection.
  • Arrange to meet the inspector on site to identify the scope of the plumbing work included in the violation.
  • Expose portions of subject piping, both interior and exterior. The amount of exterior storm, sanitary and water supply piping to be exposed will be determined at the time of the investigation based on the scope of work and the number and extent of violations noted in the permit.
  • Disconnect plumbing fixtures and provide required leak test on drainage waste and vent system. (We strongly recommends using 5 PSI air test rather than a water test to limit possible damage to structure and building contents if the test were to fail.)
  • For structures built using slab-on-grade construction, you may choose to have the under-slab piping video-taped with an approved plumbing piping camera system rather that cutting into the concrete to expose the pipe for inspection.
    • If the video shows clearly that the under-floor system is properly installed using approved materials and that the plumbing system is without defect, removal of concrete will not be required.
    • If the video shows improper materials or installation defects, it will be necessary to expose and repair any non-code compliant items before the County can approve the installation.
  • Depending on what problems are identified during the inspection, you may be asked to remove additional sheet rock or insulation

If for any reason you are uncomfortable with these requirements, we recommend you hire a licensed plumbing contractor to perform this work for you.

 

The inspector's responsibilities:

  • Conduct an investigation.
  • Prepare and give you a written report identifying the required corrections. (Inspectors make every effort to identify all corrections the first time, but on some occasions additional corrections will need to be made before the plumbing final can be approved.)

Final inspection

  • After all corrections are completed by you or your contractor, call the automated system at 503-742-4720 and use code 399 to schedule a final inspection.
  • The inspector will check the list of corrections, re-inspect the corrective work and determine if minimum requirements have been met.
  • If additional corrections are necessary, the inspector will prepare a written report of any required corrections.

If you have questions about code requirements, please contact Wayne Seiffert at waynesei@clackamas.us or 503-742-4777.

Thank you for taking these steps to resolve your plumbing code violations.

Resolving plumbing code violations step-by-step

  1. Obtain required plumbing permit and pay the permit fee and investigation fee.
  2. Expose a portion of subject piping, interior and exterior, for required inspections.
  3. Disconnect plumbing fixtures and provide required leak test on drainage waste and vent system.
  4. After above noted inspections and tests have been approved, fixtures can be reconnected and the county can perform a final inspection.