Commercial Permit Application Requirements

Applying for a building permit for your commercial projects? You'll need to submit specific documents and plans. Find submittal requirements for commercial projects for new construction, additions, alterations, and change of use or occupancy.
On this page

Depending on your 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.

For an overview of the commercial permit application process, visit Commercial New Construction and Addition Permits & Inspections.

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 MaterialsAlterationsAlterations with a Change of Use or OccupancyNew Construction, Additions and/or Major Exterior Changes
Required if adding or removing plumbing fixtures.XX
Required for residential buildings proposing 20 or more new residential units
Missing media item.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 CalculationsRequired 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 formsDepends on your project. Required for any project that is adding or increasing space conditioning (i.e. heating or cooling)
Site PlanXXX
Architectural PlansXXX
Structural PlansRequired for structural work.Required for structural work.X
Mechanical Plans*--X
Plumbing Plans*All project types - Depends on your project. Learn more about plumbing plan requirements.
Electrical Plans*XXX
Civil Plans--X

*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. 

Change of use or occupancy

For change of use or occupancy permit application requirements, visit Change of Use or Change of Occupancy.

Commercial food establishments

Find requirements for commercial food establishments.

Commissioning compliance checklist

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: 

  1. Standard approach:
  2. Simplified approach:

Lighting: ONE of these two options: 

  1. Standard approach:
  2. Simplified approach

Mechanical: See Mechanical Plans section

Note: When we review your application, we may provide you with an Energy Efficiency Compliance Form to acknowledge the method for meeting air barrier and commissioning compliance.

Fire and Life Safety Summary

For very complex projects, the Fire and Life Safety Summary may be needed. The Fire Life Safety Summary form has more details about sprinklers, fire alarms, detection systems and other construction information about the building.

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:,  Phone: 503-823-7300.

Learn how to find out if your project is in a Flood Hazard Area.

Rack storage system permits requirements

Seismic strengthening requirements

Portland City Code, Title 24.85 contains criteria that may trigger requirements for additional seismic strengthening when the work involves an existing building.

Shell Permit Acknowledgement Statement

Required for projects that have indicated “No Occupancy This Permit” for spaces within the building. 

If your project contains space that will not be built out and ready for occupancy at the time the permit is finalized, a separate Tenant Improvement (TI) permit will be needed to establish first occupancy of the space. Since changes between the first Shell permit and the subsequent TI permit are common, a signed Shell Permit Acknowledgement Statement is required.

Structural calculations

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.

What to include on plans

Requirements for all plans: 

  • Plans must be:
    • Black and white (no colors allowed) 
    • Legible
    • Reproducible
    • 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
  • Additions
  • 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 1-30 on your detailed site plan.

Additional information may be required based on the specific circumstances of your development proposal. 

Simple site plan

  1. Property address
  2. Legal description (Tax Roll on Portland Maps)
  3. Tax Account number or R number or Property ID
  4. Vicinity map
  5. North arrow
  6. Drawing scale (minimum 1 inch = 10 feet)
  7. Property lines with dimensions
  8. Adjacent street names
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Width of adjacent rights-of-way, public sidewalk, planting strip and/or tree wells, street trees, curb or edge of pavement
  12. Location and number of exterior bicycle parking spaces

Detailed site plan

Include everything required on the simple site plan (items 1-12). In addition, include items 13-30 for a complete detailed site plan.

  1. Lot area in square feet
  2. Existing and proposed pedestrian connections on the site
  3. Location, dimensions, and type of any existing and proposed easements
  4. 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).
  5. Proposed grading and erosion control measures
  6. The boundaries of any wetlands, streams, rivers, steep slopes, and environmental, greenway or river overlay zones. Zoning information can be found on PortlandMaps
  7. 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
  8. 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)
  9. All features that extend above or below public rights-of-way or easements (basements, balconies, window projections, utility vaults, etc.)
  10. Location and screening of exterior trash and recycling areas and ground-located mechanical equipment
  11. For projects with a final valuation equal to or greater than the threshold set forth in PCC 33.258.070.D.2. Provide additional information to facilitate staff review for compliance with the Non-Conforming Upgrades (NCUs) requirement of the Portland Zoning Code.
  12. Landscaping and Tree Plan (items 25-29)

Landscaping and tree plan

A Landscaping and Tree Plan should be provided for projects with exterior ground disturbance and/or with a final permit value that requires Zoning Nonconforming Upgrades. These are projects with a final valuation equal to or greater than the threshold set forth in PCC 33.258.070.D.2.

See Title 11 Tree code.

  1. 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 tree requirements for building permits web page.
  2. Location of trees in the right-of-way (street trees)
  3. Existing and proposed plantings, including species and common names, location, size, and spacing. Get Landscaping and Screening Requirements.
  4. Any proposed on-site irrigation
  5. Proposed activities that impact existing trees (grading, new construction, trenching for proposed utilities, construction staging and materials stockpiling, pruning and removal, storage areas, etc.)
  6. Root Protection Zones, with required tree preservation fencing, for trees to be preserved per Title 11 requirements. Learn more about Protecting Trees During Construction and Tree Preservation Inspections.

Additional site plan requirements (depending on your project)

Utility information:
  1. Gas lines
  2. Power poles
  3. Street lights
  4. 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
  5. All existing and proposed backflow assembly locations, including size and type of water service
  6. All existing and proposed stormwater facilities
  7. Surface drainage
  8. All existing and proposed public and private sanitary and storm sewers and easements with points of connections and discharge
  9. Locations of all existing and proposed fire hydrants (if none on-site, note the distance to nearest)

Civil plans

For simple projects, this information can be incorporated into the site plan where details are clearly shown.

  1. Erosion Prevention and Control Plan
  2. Utility Plan
  3. Grading Plan, please include the reference elevation datum
  4. Excavation/Shoring Plan (shoring design by engineer)

Architectural plans

Building Code Summary 

Required for all projects.

  1. Building code edition 
  2. Scope of work proposed, including proposed use of building or space 
  3. Building location 
  4. Tenant space location 
  5. Suite number and/or business name   
  6. Building construction type (IA, IB, IIA, etc)   
  7. Occupancy classification(s) (A, B, M, etc)   
  8. Building Height and Stories with analysis 
  9. Building Area and floor areas with analysis  
  10. For mixed uses provide separated or nonseparated use analysis with calculations showing compliance
  11. Synopsis of rating requirements for building elements (Primary Structural Frame, Walls, Floors, Roof) 
  12. Exterior wall ratings and opening allowances based on fire separation distance 
  13. Number of plumbing fixtures required and provided 
  14. Energy Code analysis 
  15. Code information on requirements or exceptions for fire and smoke dampers at penetrations through fire rated construction 
  16. Fire sprinkler type and extent of coverage   
  17. Fire alarm and smoke alarm coverage 
  18. Any other applicable building code information
  19. Interior bicycle parking locations and bike rack installations meet the requirements of the Zoning Code Chapter 33.266.

Building Code Summary Worksheet

Make sure your building design complies with the building code, use the Building Code Summary Worksheet as a guide.

This worksheet is not required to apply. It is intended to be a helpful and optional tool.

Additional requirements for existing buildings

  1. 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
  2. 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  

  1. Building code analysis of existing conditions compared to current code, identifying all deficiencies and how these are resolved. 
  2. 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.

  1. Uses of rooms/areas and occupancy classifications 
  2. Occupant loads 
  3. 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 
  4. Floor and Roof Assemblies and fire-rating (i.e. 1-hr, 2-hr), where rating is required 
  5. Notations at rated walls and horizontal assemblies indicating that smoke and fire dampers are required at penetrations through fire rated construction 
  6. Location and rating of doors and windows, where rating is required 
  7. Exterior wall ratings and rated openings, where rating is required 
  8. Exit sign locations and backup power source 
  9. Egress lighting diagram and backup power source 
  10. Exit access, exit, and exit discharge locations 
  11. Exit separation distance with dimensions 
  12. Maximum travel distance shown orthogonally 
  13. Common path of travel distance shown orthogonally 
  14. Egress paths to the public right of way 

Additional requirements for buildings with complex fire and life safety systems   

  1. 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. 

  1. Uses of rooms/areas 
  2. Walls 
    • 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) 
  3. Doors 
    • Swing direction 
    • Size 
    • Hardware type, including closer and lock information 
    • Fire rating and smoke gasketing, where required 
  4. Windows 
    • 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 
  5. Stairs 
    • Width 
    • Rise and run 
    • Head clearance 
    • Handrail information 
    • Guardrail information 
  6. Plumbing fixtures  
    • Grab bar locations, lengths, and heights, where required 
  7. Accessibility maneuvering clearances and heights at doors, fixtures and equipment 

Floor plans - additional requirements for existing buildings 

  1. Existing floor plan reflecting the last permitted layout.  This may be a reference drawing. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.

  1. All new or revised elevations with exterior finish materials 
  2. Height of each story above and below grade  
  3. Height of building above and below grade (i.e. basement/foundation) 
  4. Show location of property lines and dedication. 

Roof plan  

Required for new construction, additions and/or major exterior changes or if you're doing work on the roof.

  1. Roof materials 
  2. Slopes 
  3. Drains 
  4. Vents 
  5. Roof access hatch location and size
  6. Alternating tread device/ladder information at roof access hatch 
  7. Guard information where required at rooftop equipment and roof hatches information 
  8. Roof-mounted equipment 

Building sections and details  

  1. Assembly details based on wall type (i.e. partition, barrier, fire wall, etc.) 
  2. Assembly details for floor construction 
  3. Assembly details for ceiling and roof construction 
  4. UL listing for rated construction 
  5. Stair Construction details 
  6. Dimensions of rise, run, and width of stairway 
  7. Connections details (handrail connection, guardrail connections, connections at top and bottom of stair) 
  8. Handrail location with proper extension and returns 
  9. Handrail size and height 
  10. Guardrail location where required with design meeting opening limitation requirements 

Structural plans

  1. 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
  2. Foundation plans and details, including:
    • Piles
    • Shoring
    • Tiebacks
    • Retaining walls, etc.
    • Show location of property lines and dedication
  3. Floor and roof framing plans showing all member sizes and connection details for gravity and lateral load paths

Mechanical plans

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:

  1. Locations of shafts, corridors, occupancy separations and all other fire rated construction as shown on the most current Architectural Floor Plans
  2. Sizes and locations of duct work
  3. Fire and smoke dampers at penetrations through fire rated construction
  4. Design criteria for outside air

HVAC Roof Plan is required when there are new or replacement units. Identify the:

  1. Types, sizes, locations and weights of mechanical equipment
  2. Dimensions from equipment to the edge of roof

Mechanical permit

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: 

  1. Standard approach:
  2. Simplified approach:

For more information visit Mechanical Trade Permit.

Plumbing plans

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:

  1. Location, size, and type of all material for water service
  2. Rain drains
  3. Sanitary sewer
  4. Storm water sewer lines
  5. 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.

  1. Chemical drainage waste and vent systems containing chemical agents potentially detrimental to the integrity of a plumbing system
  2. Wastewater pretreatment systems for building sewers or pollution controls (source controls)
  3. Vacuum drainage waste and vent systems
  4. Reclaimed wastewater or harvested rainwater systems
  5. Commercial booster pump system needed to maintain minimum residual water pressure in a structure supplied by a municipal source
  6. 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
  7. Medical gas and vacuum system for health care facilities
  8. Installation of any multi-purpose fire sprinkler system under standards adopted by the department
  9. 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

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 | 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:

Additional information

  • 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. 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.

Submit your application materials

Electronic plans

For project plans with 35 pages or less submit your electronic plans using DevHub.

For project plans with more than 35 pages, submit through PDX E-plans and ProjectDox.

Paper plans

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

Need help?

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:

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.