Residential Code Guides

Information
Find all residential (one and two-family) dwelling code guides administered by Development Services. Code guides provide answers about the application of specific codes and outline optional alternates. View a list of residential building code guides published by Development Services.

The question or alternate described in each code guide is listed below the code guide link.

  • What building code modifications are allowed for accessory dwelling units?
  • Can cargo containers be installed on properties and used as accessory storage structures?
  • The scope of the Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC) is limited to structures not more than three stories above grade plane. Under what conditions may a four story residential structure be regulated under the ORSC? 
  • Are any deviations allowed in the City of Portland from the Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC) definition for townhouse?
  • Are any alternatives to the requirements of the Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC) allowed when non habitable space is being converted to habitable space, or when the habitable use of a space is changing within an existing one- or two-family dwelling?
  •  What are the structural loading requirements for private elevated driveways and parking decks?
  •  In certain instances the Portland Fire Bureau requires sprinklers to be installed in one and two family dwellings. What installation standard should be used for residential fire sprinklers?
  • Where NFPA 13D systems are required, are residential quick response sprinkler heads required to be installed over or adjacent to fuel-fired equipment located in garages? 
  • It is an increasing trend for homeowners to install permanent fuel fired generator systems where a system is not otherwise required by the code. What are the installation requirements for an optional fuel fired generator that is permanently installed for use by the occupants of a one or two family dwelling? 
  • There are several unvented room heaters available on the market for installation in residential occupancies. Are these vent free appliances allowed for installation in the City of Portland?
  • Do stormwater drainage systems on one and two family dwellings have to include gutters and downspouts or are alternative designs acceptable?
  • When is a slope hazard evaluation required? What are the requirements for slope hazard evaluations?

More Code Guides 

You can also read more about these codes, rules and guides: state building codes and related administrative rules and interpretations, City codes, City administrative rules, Business Practice Policies, program guides, Building Official's determinations, PBOT Codes and Guides, MOUs/IGAs and request a change to City codes or recommend a regulatory improvement change.