Apply to the Alternative Technology Committee

What you should know before submitting an application

  1. Applications to the Alternative Technology Advisory Committee may be for either a technology that will be used in a specific project being reviewed by BDS, or for a particular technology (such as a new building product) that may be used in multiple future projects. 
  2. Applications can be made in advance of a building permit application, or as part of the permit review process.
  3. The Committee review is an optional process that is intended to help applicants get innovative products approved into their projects. An applicant may proceed directly to a building code appeal, without a committee recommendation, if desired.
  4. With any application to the Committee the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that the proposed technology promotes a more positive impact to the earth’s natural systems, when compared to similar, approved technologies. 
  5. In addition, the applicant must provide evidence that shows that the proposed technology can meet the building code requirements. 
  6. The typical review of an application is as follows: A BDS staff person will review the application to determine if it is complete. The Committee will meet to discuss the request. If more information is required before the Committee can make a decision, a written letter outlining the necessary information, with a due date for re-submittal, will be sent to the applicant. When additional information is submitted the Committee will issue a written recommendation on the proposal. A copy of the recommendation will be sent to the applicant and posted on the internet. The recommendations of the Committee do not authorize use of the product or technology. The applicant can have the recommendation from the Committee considered by BDS as supporting documentation during a building code appeal. (See Building Code Appeals for instructions)
  7. In some cases the Committee may require additional testing to be done on the technology prior to issuing a recommendation for approval. In these cases it will be the applicant’s responsibility to acquire the necessary testing. In some cases the Committee may give a “conditional” recommendation for a technology, requiring monitoring, or follow up testing once the technology is in place. In these instances the applicant would be required to sign and record a waiver against the property that would hold the City of Portland harmless against any future issues resulting from the use of the technology.
  8. BDS is not bound by the recommendations of the Committee. A favorable recommendation of a technology by the Committee does not guarantee approval of a building code appeal by BDS for the use of the technology.
  9. The Alternative Technology Advisory Committee meets as applications are received. Therefore, it may take several weeks for an application to be reviewed by the Committee. Applicants interested in using this process are encouraged to submit their applications as early in their design process as possible.

Application requirements

A complete application for the Alternative Technology Advisory Committee must include:

  • Application form
  • Supplemental Information (see information below)
    • Showing how technology can meet the building code
    • Describing sustainable attributes of the technology
  • Building plans or drawings showing how technology will be used (if available)
  • Fee of $150 payable by cash, check or Visa

Supplemental information

In order for the Committee to reach a supportive recommendation the applicant must provide adequate information that shows that the proposed technology can meet the building code standards and promotes a more positive impact to the earth’s natural systems, when compared to similar, approved technologies. The following is a list of recommended information that should be provided by the applicant, if available:

Building code requirements

  • Product testing protocols and results performed by a testing agency
  • International product certifications
  • Case studies of buildings that have successfully used the technology
  • Academic research about the technology
  • Articles from books or professional journals

Sustainable attributes

  • Narrative describing how and where the technology is extracted, harvested, and manufactured
  • Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the technology
  • Installation instructions (from manufacturer if possible)
  • Recognition from a green product certifier (Green Seal, Cradle to Cradle, Pharos)
  • Listing of the product on GreenSpec.com

How to submit your application

You may submit your application by mail or in person.

  • A complete application, including all supplemental information and the application fee must be received for an application to be considered by the Committee.
  • The Committee meets as applications are received.
  • Applications will be screened for completeness. Submittal of inaccurate or incomplete forms may cause a delay in the review of the application.

Mail or deliver applications to:

Alternative Technology Advisory Committee
Bureau of Development Services
c/o Donna Ruark
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 5000 (5th floor)
Portland, OR 97201

Make checks payable to: The City of Portland

For questions regarding the application packet submittal, please call 503-823-6251.

Committee applications and recommendations

Review committee applications and recommendations.