Depending on your commercial project we may need more information or your project may not need all the items on this list. Please schedule a free 15-minute virtual meeting to discuss what you'll need for your project.
The Small Business Empowerment Program assists Black, Indigenous, People Of Color business owners and business owners with disabilities recognized by the ADA who have experienced barriers in the review process.
Find Requirements by Project Type
Project types definitions:
- Alterations that have little* or no exterior changes to the building and/or no structural work.
- Alterations with a change of use or occupancy that have little* or no exterior changes to the building and/or no structural work.
- New construction, additions and/or major exterior changes to the building.
*Little or no exterior changes might include:
- Alterations that do not add floor area or increase building height.
- Alterations (other than repair and maintenance) affecting the lesser of 1,500 square feet or 50% of the facade area.
- Alterations with less than 100 square feet of ground disturbance.
|Submittal Materials||Alterations||Alterations with a Change of Use or Occupancy||New Construction, Additions and/or Major Exterior Changes|
|Required if adding or removing plumbing fixtures.||X||X|
|Required for residential buildings proposing 20 or more new residential units|
|All project types - projects subject to an approved Design Review or Historic Resource Review. Please refer to the land use decision or contact Planning & Zoning.|
|Stormwater Management Manual Simplified Approach Form/Stormwater Report/Operations & Maintenance Plan||-||-||Refer to Stormwater Management Manual. Please contact BES (503) 823-7761 or email: besdevelopmentreview@portlandor…|
|-||-||Review the form for requirements.|
|Structural Calculations||Required for structural work.||Required for structural work.||X|
|Neighborhood Contact documentation||-||-||Depends on your project. Visit Neighborhood Contact to learn more about what prompts this requirement.|
|Energy Efficient Design Forms||Depends on your project. Required for any project that is adding or increasing space conditioning (i.e. heating or cooling)|
|Structural Plans||Required for structural work.||Required for structural work.||X|
|Plumbing Plans*||All project types - Depends on your project. Learn more about plumbing plan requirements.|
*Separate mechanical, plumbing, and electrical permits are required.
Additional Forms and Documents - Required For Some Projects
Depending on the scope of your project, the following forms and documents must be completed and submitted.
Energy Efficient Design Forms
Required for any project that is adding or increasing space conditioning. (i.e. heating or cooling).
New Buildings only:
New Buildings and all other applicable buildings:
Envelope: ONE of these two options:
- Standard approach:
- Simplified approach:
Lighting: ONE of these two options:
- Standard approach:
- Simplified approach
Mechanical: See Mechanical Plans section
Shell Permit Acknowledgement Statement
Required for projects that have indicated “No Occupancy This Permit” for spaces within the building.
A structural calculation package is required for all New Commercial Projects, Additions to Commercial Projects, and Commercial Projects that propose structural alterations.
The structural calculation package must be prepared and stamped by the architect or engineer of record for the work proposed.
Calculations must include the following:
- A design summary
- Demonstrate that the structural system is capable of supporting all imposed vertical and lateral loads
- Demonstrate how loads are carried to the foundation
For more information visit Structural Engineering.
Flood Hazard Area Requirements
Is the project site located within the flood hazard area? If so please contact Site Development for information regarding floodplain development submittal requirements and code requirements of Title 24.50 – Flood Hazard Areas. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 503-823-7300.
What To Include On Plans
Requirements For All Plans:
- Plans must be:
- Black and white (no colors allowed)
- With appropriate line weights and line types
- Use a recognizable sheet size and scale that will provide room to clearly show all details
- Use a 12 point font or minimum printed text size of 3/32” for dimensions and notes
- Distinguish between existing conditions, areas to be demolished and proposed work
- Allow space for the addition of City review notes and stamps
Plan Document Checklist:
- Permit drawings must be stamped by an engineer or architect licensed by the state unless they meet a listed exception of OSSC 107.1.
- List of Deferred Submittals, where applicable
- List of Separate Permits, where applicable
Site Plan Requirements
What is a Site Plan?
A site plan is an accurate drawing of a property that shows the site size, the location of the property boundaries, and all constructed and natural features (such as buildings, structures, driveways, and trees).
Site plans show both what currently exists on the site and what development is proposed.
Depending on the project scope, the below information may be all on one sheet or on separate sheets, as appropriate.
Types of Site Plans
A simple site plan is required for projects, including:
- Alterations with little or no exterior work
- Changes of use not affecting parking, truck loading, vehicle access
Include items 1-12 on your simple site plan.
A detailed site plan is required for more complex projects including:
- New construction
- For any project with significant exterior work
- For projects with a final valuation equal to or greater than the threshold set forth in PCC 33.258.070.D.2
Include items 1-23 on your detailed site plan.
Additional information may be required based on the specific circumstances of your development proposal.
Simple Site Plan
- Property address
- Legal description (Tax Roll on Portland Maps)
- Tax Account number or R number or Property ID
- Vicinity map
- North arrow
- Drawing scale (minimum 1 inch = 10 feet)
- Property lines with dimensions
- Adjacent street names
- All existing and proposed structures and development on the site, with dimensioned distances from property lines and other structures. Include the area (in square feet) of any existing buildings
- Location and dimensions of all driveways, parking areas, and other paved areas (existing and proposed), including accessible parking spaces/aisles, and the accessible route to building entry
- Width of adjacent rights-of-way, public sidewalk, planting strip and/or tree wells, street trees, curb or edge of pavement
- Location and number of exterior bicycle parking spaces
Detailed Site Plan
Include everything required on the simple site plan (Numbers 1-12). In addition, include numbers 13-23 for a complete detailed site plan.
- Lot area in square feet
- Existing and proposed pedestrian connections on the site
- Location, dimensions, and type of any existing and proposed easements
- Existing and proposed elevations of sidewalks, property corners and corners of structures (if there is more than a 4-foot elevation differential, the site plan must show existing and proposed contour lines at 2-foot intervals. A separate grading plan may also be required to legibly show grading changes).
- Proposed grading and erosion control measures
- The boundaries of any wetlands, streams, rivers, steep slopes, and environmental, greenway or river overlay zones. Zoning information can be found on PortlandMaps
- When a property is located in more than one zoning district, the location of the zone boundary must be clearly depicted relative to existing and proposed development. Zoning information can be found on PortlandMaps
- Where a structure has a door, person gate or garage entry within 5’ of a public street right-of-way, also include:
- Proposed finish floor elevations of doors, person gates, and garage entries
- Elevations at top of existing curb and back of existing sidewalk and property line (perpendicular along the right-of-way)
- All features that extend above or below public rights-of-way or easements (basements, balconies, window projections, utility vaults, etc.)
- Location and screening of exterior trash and recycling areas and ground-located mechanical equipment
- For projects with a final valuation equal to or greater than the threshold set forth in PCC 33.258.070.D.2 (currently $330,800), provide additional information to facilitate staff review for compliance with the Non-Conforming Upgrades (NCUs) requirement of the Portland Zoning Code.
Additional Site Plan Requirements (Depending on your Project)
- Gas lines
- Power poles
- Street lights
- All new and existing water meters and water piping (fire, domestic and irrigation) with points of connection to the City water system and related sizes
- All existing and proposed backflow assembly locations, including size and type of water service
- All existing and proposed stormwater facilities
- Surface drainage
- All existing and proposed public and private sanitary and storm sewers and easements with points of connections and discharge
- Locations of all existing and proposed fire hydrants (if none on-site, note the distance to nearest)
Landscaping and Tree Plan
A Landscaping and Tree Plan should be provided for projects that prompt NCUs. These are projects with a final valuation equal to or greater than the threshold set forth in PCC 33.258.070.D.2 (currently $330,800).
See Title 11 Tree code.
- All trees 6 inches or greater in diameter: Identify tree diameter (inches), species, and location. Tree preservation and tree density requirements may apply to your project. Find more information on our website.
- Location of trees in the right-of-way (street trees)
- Existing and proposed plantings, including species and common names, location, size and spacing. Find more information on our website.
- Any proposed on-site irrigation
- Proposed activities that impact existing trees (grading, pruning and removal, storage areas, etc.)
For simple projects, this information can be incorporated into the site plan where details are clearly shown.
- Erosion Prevention and Control Plan
- Utility Plan
- Grading Plan, please include the reference elevation datum
- Excavation/Shoring Plan (shoring design by engineer)
Building Code Summary
Required for all projects.
- Building code edition
- Scope of work proposed, including proposed use of building or space
- Building location
- Tenant space location
- Suite number and/or business name
- Building construction type (IA, IB, IIA, etc)
- Occupancy classification(s) (A, B, M, etc)
- Building Height and Stories with analysis
- Building Area and floor areas with analysis
- For mixed uses provide separated or nonseparated use analysis with calculations showing compliance
- Synopsis of rating requirements for building elements (Primary Structural Frame, Walls, Floors, Roof)
- Exterior wall ratings and opening allowances based on fire separation distance
- Number of plumbing fixtures required and provided
- Energy Code analysis
- Code information on requirements or exceptions for fire and smoke dampers at penetrations through fire rated construction
- Fire sprinkler type and extent of coverage
- Fire alarm and smoke alarm coverage
- Any other applicable building code information
Additional requirements for existing buildings
- Barrier removal summary: Itemized list of accessible improvements and costs for changes as a ratio of overall project (25% rule). See Code Guide for information
- Analysis for selected existing building alteration compliance method (e.g. Prescriptive, Alteration Level 1, Alteration Level 2, Alteration Level 3, etc). Prescriptive path is assumed if no information is provided. See International Existing Building Code for allowable compliance methods
Additional requirements for Changes of Occupancy or Use
- Building code analysis of existing conditions compared to current code, identifying all deficiencies and how these are resolved.
- Seismic Upgrade trigger analysis for occupancy changes by area and total occupant load change. Provide an occupancy chart with floor plans establishing occupancy, occupant load, and areas based on legal occupancy as of October 1, 2004 versus the proposed current occupant load.
Building Code Life Safety Plans
These may be shown as a separate diagrammatic plan or they may be shown on the Architectural Floor Plan for simple projects.
- Uses of rooms/areas and occupancy classifications
- Occupant loads
- Wall types (i.e. area separation, occupancy separations, corridors, exits enclosures, shafts, etc.) and fire-rating (i.e. 1-hr, 2-hr), where rating is required
- Floor and Roof Assemblies and fire-rating (i.e. 1-hr, 2-hr), where rating is required
- Notations at rated walls and horizontal assemblies indicating that smoke and fire dampers are required at penetrations through fire rated construction
- Location and rating of doors and windows, where rating is required
- Exterior wall ratings and rated openings, where rating is required
- Exit sign locations and backup power source
- Egress lighting diagram and backup power source
- Exit access, exit, and exit discharge locations
- Exit separation distance with dimensions
- Maximum travel distance shown orthogonally
- Common path of travel distance shown orthogonally
- Egress paths to the public right of way
Additional requirements for buildings with complex fire and life safety systems
- Submit a Fire and Life Safety Summary for large and/or complicated buildings such as hospitals, malls, large assembly buildings, high-rise buildings and buildings with smoke control systems.
Floor Plans - Required for all Projects
Floor plans must be fully dimensioned and labeled.
- Uses of rooms/areas
- Room and corridor dimensions
- Detail tags/callouts
- Building section and wall section tags/callouts
- UL listings for fire rated walls
- Assembly details based no wall type (i.e. partition, barrier, fire wall, etc)
- Swing direction
- Hardware type, including closer and lock information
- Fire rating and smoke gasketing, where required
- Operation type (i.e. casement, fixed, sliding, etc.)
- Size including clear opening size
- Sill height above walking surface
- Fire rating, where required
- Safety glazing, where required
- Rise and run
- Head clearance
- Handrail information
- Guardrail information
- Plumbing fixtures
- Grab bar locations, lengths, and heights, where required
- Accessibility maneuvering clearances and heights at doors, fixtures and equipment
Floor Plans - Additional requirements for existing buildings
- Existing floor plan reflecting the last permitted layout. This may be a reference drawing.
- Full building floor plan of story being altered, showing location of work in the context of the overall building. This may be a reference drawing.
- Floor plan for area being altered. Differentiate existing walls, new walls, and walls to be removed with legend key.
Building Exterior Elevations
Required for new construction, additions and/or major exterior changes.
- All new or revised elevations with exterior finish materials
- Height of each story above and below grade
- Height of building above and below grade (i.e. basement/foundation)
- Show location of property lines and dedication.
Required for new construction, additions and/or major exterior changes or if you're doing work on the roof.
- Roof materials
- Roof access hatch location and size
- Alternating tread device/ladder information at roof access hatch
- Guard information where required at rooftop equipment and roof hatches information
- Roof-mounted equipment
Building Sections and Details
- Assembly details based on wall type (i.e. partition, barrier, fire wall, etc.)
- Assembly details for floor construction
- Assembly details for ceiling and roof construction
- UL listing for rated construction
- Stair Construction details
- Dimensions of rise, run, and width of stairway
- Connections details (handrail connection, guardrail connections, connections at top and bottom of stair)
- Handrail location with proper extension and returns
- Handrail size and height
- Guardrail location where required with design meeting opening limitation requirements
- General notes which including:
- Design loads
- Geotechnical report references (if applicable)
- Materials grades and specifications
- List of special inspection items
- List of deferred submittal items
- Foundation plans and details, including:
- Retaining walls, etc.
- Show location of property lines and dedication
- Floor and roof framing plans showing all member sizes and connection details for gravity and lateral load paths
If the mechanical trade permit is not submitted with the building permit, the following minimum mechanical information must be provided as part of the building permit submittal:
HVAC Floor Plans indicating:
- Locations of shafts, corridors, occupancy separations and all other fire rated construction as shown on the most current Architectural Floor Plans
- Sizes and locations of duct work
- Fire and smoke dampers at penetrations through fire rated construction
- Design criteria for outside air
HVAC Roof Plan is required when there are new or replacement units. Identify the:
- Types, sizes, locations and weights of mechanical equipment
- Dimensions from equipment to the edge of roof
Mechanical permits require a separate mechanical trade permit. If possible, the mechanical trade permit should be submitted at the same time as the building permit with the mechanical drawings included as part of the building permit so that they may be reviewed together. The mechanical permit will have a unique permit number. You are responsible for tracking both permits.
Energy Code Information to be submitted during Mechanical Plan Review
ONE of these two options:
- Standard approach:
- Simplified approach:
For more information visit Mechanical Trade Permit.
Plumbing permits require a separate plumbing trade permit. All plumbing drawings must be submitted with the Building Permit for review and approval during the Building Permit process.
For exterior site utility piping provide the following:
- Location, size, and type of all material for water service
- Rain drains
- Sanitary sewer
- Storm water sewer lines
- New/existing connections
Projects with the installation and/or alteration of any of the following must include complete plumbing piping plans showing waste, vent, and water piping, with existing and proposed fixture unit counts calculated in accordance with the Oregon State Plumbing Specialty Code, Table 6-4 and Table 7-3. Riser diagrams may be required for projects three or more stories in height.
- Chemical drainage waste and vent systems containing chemical agents potentially detrimental to the integrity of a plumbing system
- Wastewater pretreatment systems for building sewers or pollution controls (source controls)
- Vacuum drainage waste and vent systems
- Reclaimed wastewater or harvested rainwater systems
- Commercial booster pump system needed to maintain minimum residual water pressure in a structure supplied by a municipal source
- Plumbing system requiring a building water service line with an interior diameter or nominal pipe size of two inches or greater except those two-inch systems which have been designed and stamped by a licensed engineer
- Medical gas and vacuum system for health care facilities
- Installation of any multi-purpose fire sprinkler system under standards adopted by the department
- Grease processing or interception equipment systems for foodservice establishments and food processing facilities
Food Service Establishments are required to have outside agency approval. Contact Multnomah County Health Department 503-988-3400 and Oregon Agriculture Department, Food Safety 503-986-4720
For questions about plumbing plan requirements contact a commercial plumbing inspector.
Electrical plans submitted with the Building Permit are not reviewed or approved during the Building Permit Process. Electric Plan drawings provided in the Building Permit Set will not be stamped for approval.
Electrical permits require a separate electrical trade permit. Information provided on the electrical permit drawings must be coordinated with information provided on the building permit drawings.
Submissions for plan review should include:
- Site plans/floor plans showing the location of lighting, panels, services and other electrical equipment
- One-line or feeder diagrams
- Panel Schedules
- Load Calculations
Additional Information or Requirements can be found on Electrical Permits- Commercial | Portland.gov. Plan Review submission requirements can also be found within the Oregon Administrative Rules 918-311-0040.
If an electrical installation is required to comply with energy code, see below:
Provide documents during plan review to illustrate energy efficiency compliance with ASHRAE 90.1-2019
Chapter 8: Power
- Voltage drop for feeders and branch circuits below 5%
- Automatic receptacle control
- Metering and monitoring of total energy, HVAC systems, interior & exterior lighting and receptacles
- Transformer efficiency
Chapter 9: Lighting
- Declaration of Compliance Path used
- Illustrate Path requirements and application
- Mandatory lighting control
Chapter 10: Other Equipment
- Motor, elevator efficiency and energy consumption
Some examples of supporting documents are:
- Daylighting and side-lighting diagrams as required to evaluate lighting control requirements
- Spreadsheet of mandatory lighting control functions for the appropriate space type as defined in Table 9.6.1 of ASHRAE 90.1-2019
- ASHRAE 90.1-2016 COMcheck Lighting Report
- Simplified Building Method—Lighting Compliance Checklist
- Feeder Schedule showing distance, size and voltage drop of feeders and branch circuits
- Zoning Nonconforming Upgrades (NCUs) are triggered by permits for additions and alterations to existing development, with a project valuation as specified in Section 33.258.070, currently $330,800. The requirements are intended to bring sites into conformance over time with zoning standards that may have changed since the original approval of the development.
- Compliance with approved Land Use Review decisions, if applicable, will be evaluated as part of your permit review. Development that is not in conformance with approved Land Use Review exhibits may need additional land use review(s), and can substantially lengthen your permit approval process.
- Submit all Appeals, FM 41 Agreements, Accessibility Agreements, etc. for the building that could affect the space in question.
How to Submit Your Materials
For project plans with 35 pages or less submit your electronic plans through the Single PDF process.
For project plans with more than 35 pages, submit through PDX E-plans and ProjectDox.
You can scan your paper plans at the Development Services Center for a fee. For more information see Apply or Pay for Building Permits, Trade Permits, Signs and Zoning Permits
If you still need help, we are here for you if you have questions about the information and materials you need to apply. You can schedule a free 15-minute appointment with any of these reviewers:
- Meet with a Permit Technician if you have questions about the permit process or if you need help with application requirements.
- Meet with a City Planner to receive information about planning and Zoning and Tree Code requirements that apply to your property.
- Meet with a Building Code and Engineering Reviewer to get help with building code and engineering requirements.
- Meet with a Water expert to find out if your project requires you to increase the size of your existing water meter.
- Meet with a Transportation expert to find out if your project will trigger right-of-way improvements.
- Contact Environmental Services if you have questions about sanitary or stormwater sewer lines: 503-823-7761.
- Additional assistance for Source Control: 503-823-7122
If you need help, these are experts we recommend you meet with for this project. Not all review groups are listed. The groups listed above will help get you started.