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How to Fill Out a Building Permit Application- A Step-by-Step Guide

Guide
Woman on a couch using a laptop to fill out a building application while looking at a web guide on how to fill it out.
Do you need help filling out the building permit application? In this step-by-step guide, you'll learn what permit application fields are required and what each field means. We also provide examples. Get help with the building permit application with these instructions.
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Did you know we return building permit applications to applicants if there's missing information? Use this guide to make sure you fill out all the required fields.

The building permit application

You can fill out this form online or by paper and pen.

Let's learn what each section is asking for. You'll find notes and yellow highlights for any required sections or fields.

Type of work

Type of work section has four options: New construction; Demolition; Addition/alteration/replacement; Other. Select one of the options that applies to your project.

The Type of work section has four options. This section is required. Select one that applies to the project: 

  • New construction: Are you building something that does not exist now? Are you getting a permit for a structure that does not have any permit records? If yes, select this option.
  • Demolition: Are you tearing down or removing an entire structure? If yes, select this option.
  • Addition: Are you adding to an existing structure? Are you creating new space as part of an existing structure? If yes, select this option.
  • Alteration: Are you altering the interior walls of an existing structure? If yes, select this option.
  • Other: Are trees are being removed or grading taking place? Or, something else not covered by the other selections? If yes, select this option.

Example: 

You want to build an addition to make your home bigger. As part of this project, you’ll need to tear down a weight-bearing wall. Although you’re removing walls, you’ll want to select addition. This is because you’re not removing the entire house, you're adding on to it.

Category of construction 

Category of construction section of the building permit application

The Category of construction section has five options. This section is required. Select the category that applies to your project: 

  • Residential: 1 and 2 Family Dwelling 
  • Residential: Other 
  • Commercial: Apartments/Condos/Multifamily 
  • Commercial: Business/Industrial
  • Commercial: Other

Job site information and location

Job site information and location required fields: Job address; City/State/ZIP; Suite/bldg./apt.no (if applicable)

Fill out the required fields (highlighted in yellow): 

  • Job address: The address of job site. Where will the work be performed?
  • City/State/Zip: The city, state and zip code.  

You can leave Suite/bldg./apt. no. blank, if they don't apply. You can also leave Project name and Tax map/parcel no. R# blank unless you are building on an empty lot or a property that has never had an address or doesn't have an address- then this needs to be completed. If you put an address in Portland Maps and the address comes up in search results, we will have information about that address.

For "Provide Land Use or associated Permit number (if applicable)" only enter if applicable to your project. For example, if you have a deferred submittal. 

Description of work 

Description of work field is required.

Here are some guiding questions to help you write the description of work. This section is required. 

For this project:

  • What are you planning to do? 
  • Are you creating livable space? This can be a bedroom, living room, office space, dining area, entertainment or play rooms. 
  • What is the square footage? 
  • Will there be a bathroom? 
  • Will there be a kitchen? 
    • If yes, will there be a.... 
      • Sink? 
      • Stove? 
      • Refrigerator?
      • Permanently installed microwave in a cabinet (not on the countertop)?

Example: 

You want to convert an existing backyard shed that is 150 square feet to a guest house. It will be a studio with a sleeping area. There will be a bathroom and a kitchen with a sink and refrigerators, but no stove.

Property owner or Tenant

Property owner or Tenant required fields: Select either Property owner or Tenant; Name; E-mail; Address; City/State/ZIP; Phone; Owner signature; Date.

The Property owner or Tenant box is required. Make sure to check one of the boxes:

  • Property owner: a person or company that owns a house or land. 
  • Tenant: a person who rents/leases a business structure or land. This is for commercial projects only. This option is not for residential (1 & 2 family dwelling only) projects.

Fill out the required fields in this section:

  • Name 
  • Phone 
  • Address 
  • City/State/ZIP 
  • E-mail 
  • Owner signature: Either the owner/tenant, contractor or applicant/contact person needs to sign this application. If the owner/tenant is signing, they will sign here. Note: the owner must sign if they are doing the work. 
  • Date 

Read the Owner installation agreement. If the owner and/or tenant will be the general contractor for the project, they need to sign and date. 

Contractor

Contractor required fields: Business Name; CCB lic. no.; Authorized signature; Print name; Date

Fill out the required fields in this section:

  • If you’re hiring a contractor*, check the Contractor box. 
  • Business Name: The business name goes here.  
  • Phone: Enter the phone number. 
  • Address: Enter the business address.
  • City/State/ZIP: Enter the city, state and zip code. 
  • Email: Enter the email address. 
  • CCB lic. No.: A licensed contractor will have this number. The CCB number is required before we can issue the permit.  
  • Authorized signature: Either the owner/tenant, contractor or applicant/contact person needs to sign this application. If the contractor is signing, they will sign here.
  • Print name: Print the name here. 
  • Date: Enter the month, day and year.  

*If you are not hiring a contractor, write, “Owner doing work” in the business name field. For residential projects (1 & 2 family dwelling only), owner should be a person not an LLC and/or corporation. 

If you plan to hire a contactor but have not hired one yet, write “To bid” or "TBD" in the business name field. You can update this information once you hire a contractor. 

Applicant or Contact Person

Applicant required fields: check whether this person is the applicant or contact person; Contact name; Address; City/State/ZIP; Phone; E-mail; Authorized signature; Print name; Date

Pick one:

  • Applicant
  • Contact person 

Choose Applicant or Contact Person. This person will communicate with the city about permit updates and inspections. Permit updates may include requests for additional information, clarification on information submitted, request for payment, notification of when a permit is ready to be issued, and permit abandonment and expiration.

Pick a person who will respond quickly and will communicate well with your building team. This person may be the contractor, architect or homeowner. 

Fill out the required fields in this section:

  • Business name: The business name goes here.
  • Contact Name: The applicant or contact person’s name 
  • Phone: Enter the phone number. 
  • Address: Enter the business address.
  • City/State/ZIP: Enter the city, state and zip code. 
  • Email: Enter the email address. 
  • Authorized signature: Either the owner/tenant, contractor or applicant/contact person needs to sign this application. If the applicant or contact person is signing, they will sign here. 
  • Print name: Print the name here. 
  • Date: Enter the month, day and year.  

Office Use Only

Image of the Office Use Only field of the application.

This section is for office staff only, please skip to the next section below.

Required Data: One and Two Family Dwelling Units 

Data Required: One and Two Family Dwelling Units required field: Valuation

The Data Required: One and Two Family Dwelling Units section is for single family homes or two unit homes like a duplex.

If you have three or more unit homes, you will need to fill out the next section, Required Data: Commercial Use.

Fill out the required field in this section:

  • Valuation: 
    • Are you doing the work yourself? 

      • If yes, the valuation is the fair-market value of the work being done. The fair market value to be used in computing the permit fee for alterations and repair shall be the total value of all construction work for which the permit is issued, as well as all finish work, painting, roofing, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, elevators, fire extinguishing systems and other permanent work or equipment, and contractor’s profit. The cost of materials is based on the type of material. A marble counter top will be a different price than laminate. If you aren't sure how to estimate fair market value, please contact us.  

    • Are you hiring a contractor? 

      • If yes, the valuation is the cost of the contractor’s labor and materials for your project. 

Required Data: Commercial Use

Required Data: Commercial Use required field: Valuation

The Required Data: Commercial Use section is for three or more unit homes and for all other permits that don’t fall under the Required Data: One and Two Family Dwelling Units section.  

Fill out the required field in this section:

  • Valuation: 
    • Are you doing the work yourself? 

      • If yes, the valuation is the fair-market value of the work being done. The fair market value to be used in computing the permit fee for alterations and repair shall be the total value of all construction work for which the permit is issued, as well as all finish work, painting, roofing, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, elevators, fire extinguishing systems and other permanent work or equipment, and contractor’s profit. The cost of materials is based on the type of material. A marble counter top will be a different price than laminate. If you aren't sure how to estimate fair market value, please contact us.  

    • Are you hiring a contractor? 

      • If yes, the valuation is the cost of the contractor’s labor and materials for your project. 

Notice (and disclaimer)  

Building Permit Application Guide: Notice & Disclaimer

Finally, read the notice and disclaimer.

Congratulations! You’ve filled out your building permit application!

Complete your application and apply for a building permit

Next steps: make sure you have a complete application packet. Learn more about project requirements in What You Need for a Permit- Minimum Submittal Requirements.

Then, apply online or apply in person for your building permit.