New 2019 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC) Takes Effect January 1, 2020

Public Notice
Applicants intending to be subject to the 2014 Oregon Structural Specialty Code must submit complete packages, prepare for possibility of service delays.
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December 2, 2019

New 2019 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC) Takes Effect January 1, 2020.
Applicants intending to be subject to the 2014 OSSC must submit complete packages,
prepare for possibility of service delays.

The City of Portland has adopted the new Oregon statewide building code, Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC) 2019, which fully takes effect for all permitted projects on January 1, 2020. Through December 31, 2019, permit applicants may submit for permits using either the current (2014) Oregon Structural Specialty Code or the new (2019) Oregon Structural Specialty Code.

Permit application deadlines

Customers submitting applications for a permit using the Oregon Structural Specialty Code 2014 prior to the January 1, 2020 deadline must, at a minimum, complete the application intake process, including the completeness review and payment of intake fees, before close of business December 31, 2019 in order to be subject to the 2014 Oregon Structural Specialty Code. To allow enough time for complete review of your application before December 31, 2019, the City recommends that you submit your application prior to December 16, 2019 to be subject to the 2014 OSSC.

Minimum submittal requirements 

For information regarding minimum submittal requirements Commercial Permit Submittal Requirements.

The Development Services Center will be closed on December 24, 25 and 31, 2019 and January 1, 2020 for the holidays, so customers intending to submit applications or pay intake fees before January 1, 2020 should plan accordingly.

Applicants should also prepare for the possibility of delays in their plan review timelines based on the volume of permit applications received in December. Additionally, the City will be replacing the TRACS permitting system with a new software on February 3, 2020, which could lead to further temporary delays in plan review timelines and wait times in the Development Services Center through the end of February as staff adapt to the new system. The City asks for patience during this busy period.

If a land use review is required for your project, you must substantially complete the land use review prior to being allowed to submit a permit application.

Updated requirements in the Oregon Structural Specialty Code 2019

Updated requirements in Oregon Structural Specialty Code 2019 may impact the design of structures and cost of construction. The impact of the new requirements is entirely dependent on the type of structure, the use and occupancy, and the location. Changes to 2014 OSSC are extensive and should be discussed with the appropriate design professionals before submitting any project.

One notable change is that the 2019 Oregon Structural Specialty Code will adopt the ASCE 7-16 Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures. Where the 2014 OSSC previously allowed 15% reduction in seismic forces for certain types of structures (when using Modal Response Spectrum Analysis per ASCE 7 12.9), the 2019 OSSC no longer permits the 15% reduction. This change will likely impact structures that require higher levels of structural lateral analysis (per ASCE 7 Table 12.6-1 for permitted analytical procedures), structures with structural irregularities (as defined by ASCE 7 Table 12.3-1 or Table 12.3-2) and/or structures greater than 160 feet tall.

Additionally, the design wind loading for structures has been reduced to considerable extent in certain areas and will likely result in less requirements, and lower costs, for structures whose lateral loads are governed by wind loads.

New code books, requirements coming in 2019

The State of Oregon Building Codes Structures Board plan to release code books in September 2019. Please contact the Building Codes Division for more information and updates on the availability of the new codes.

Applicants should consult with their design teams to ensure that a project is in line with updated requirements of the 2019 Oregon Structural Specialty Code. Consult the International Code Council for more information about changing codes and standards.

2019 Oregon Mechanical Specialty Code (2019 OMSC) is being changed on a similar timeline. You can sign up for email updates from the State of Oregon to receive information about code adoption. For information on the status of the 2019 Oregon Structural Specialty Code Adoption, click here.

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