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Most City of Portland offices will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

Commercial New Construction and Addition Permits & Inspections

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Apply for commercial new construction and additions building permits online. Find step-by-step instructions on the commercial permit application process.
Commercial high-rise building under construction downtown next to other high-rise buildings with train passing by on the street
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Step 1: Research the property and what you need for your project 

You need a building permit to build a new commercial structure with three or more units.

You also need a permit to add, repair, alter, or change of occupancy of existing structures.

Before you apply for a permit, research the following items:

Codes in effect in Portland include City Codes, such as Titles 24 and 33, as well as State building codes. Please visit Codes and Rules Guides for more information.

Step 2: Get Early Assistance 

For projects with complicated building or fire code issues, you may request a preliminary Life Safety meeting.

Land use Early Assistance requests will help you prepare a complete project proposal, usually a land use review application. 

A Land Use Pre-Application Conference is required for all Type III and IV land use reviews before submitting your application. They are also available but optional for lower-tiered Land use reviews.

Step 3: Gather application requirements

Find application requirements and plan design criteria on the Commercial Permit Application Requirements page specific to your project.

Step 4: Submit your building permit application

Submit your permit application request online using Development Hub PDX

Read step-by-step instructions for submitting a permit application request online or in person. 

For most projects, electronic plans are submitted through the Single PDF process. Large projects such as commercial new construction are submitted though PDX E-plans and ProjectDox.

If you need to submit paper plans, you can set up an appointment to pick up plans or drop off plans in person. Or, please call us and we will work with you. 

Step 5: Plan review and respond to feedback (checksheet) 

You can check the status of a permit review on Portland Maps permit/case search. Many people might review a single permit. The Permit Review Process webpage has more information about the groups who review permits. 

A checksheet is sent to the applicant when a reviewer needs additional information or a correction has to be made to the plans. Read more about how to send us corrections and how to prepare corrected paper plans.

Step 6: Permit issuance

We'll contact you when your permit is ready, and notify you about any fees due. You'll get instructions on how to get your approved permit and pay your fees. Your permit is not issued until all fees are paid. Read more about the pre-issuance process.

Step 7: Start building and get ready for inspections

The inspection card lists all the inspections you will likely need during your construction project, and what work needs to be done first.  

Once your building permit is issued, erosion control measures and sometimes tree protection measures must be installed, inspected, and approved before beginning any further ground-disturbing activities.

All permits need a final approval inspection to be complete.

Step 8: Schedule a commercial inspection and get inspection results 

To schedule an inspection, call the automated Requests for Inspection phone number. You will need your IVR or permit number and the three-digit code for the inspection. You must call before 6:00 a.m. or the inspection will be scheduled the following business day.

Get the results of the inspection on PortlandMaps permit/case search the next day.

Read more about why work does not get approved and how to schedule a reinspection

Contact commercial inspectors

If you have questions before or after your inspection, you can talk to an inspector.

You can start with this list of forms (if you know what you need) and continue reading to learn more about when the forms are required. 


Small Business Empowerment Program

The Small Business Empowerment Program assists Black, Indigenous, and people of color business owners and business owners with disabilities recognized by the ADA who have experienced barriers in the review process. Learn more about how we can help