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Residential Permit Inspections

Learn more about when the City of Portland requires a residential inspection. Find out about building permit inspections and when to call for home inspections. Get information about electrical inspections, house inspections, mechanical inspections, plumbing and structural inspections.

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  • Important Note: To protect the health of inspectors, contractors, occupants and the construction industry at-large, BDS inspectors may decline or discontinue an inspection if they observe work sites failing to comply with applicable COVID-19 public health guidance. These requirements include maintaining at least 6-feet of physical distance between people whenever possible, and wearing face covers when interacting with others. Please help ensure BDS can continue to perform inspections for your projects in a timely manner by following the public health guidance that applies to your work sites.

    More information about COVID-19 public health guidance for workplaces and contractors is available from the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon OSHA. If you have questions about BDS practices, please contact:

    Dave Tebeau
    Residential Inspections Division Manager
    David.Tebeau@portlandoregon.gov
    503-823-4072


The City of Portland requires residential inspections for one and two-family homes. This includes duplexes and two-unit townhomes. Get the customer's guide to quick and easy inspections online.

Safety during residential inspections

For residential inspections, the following practices are being implemented to protect the health of our inspection staff and customers:

  • We are temporarily postponing non-critical inspections that require entry into occupied homes
  • If there is anyone exhibiting signs of illness at the inspection site, we ask that customers wait to schedule their inspection until at least 72 hours after symptoms have passed.

Residential inspections will be performed as scheduled on:

  • New construction (structure must be vacated of personnel during Inspection)
  • Remodels or additions where access into the occupied structure is not required (structure must be vacated of personnel during the inspection)
  • Inspections in occupied homes where the customer is able to provide inspection access using FaceTime or Skype.

If you previously had an inspection and need reinspections, please use our Remote Video Reinspection program for quick results to prevent project delays.

Types of residential inspections 

The most common inspections include: electrical, mechanical, plumbing and structural inspections:

  • Residential electrical permits may require three inspections: rough-in, service and final.
  • You need mechanical permits before starting work on the heating, cooling or ventilation systems in a single-family home or duplex.
  • All plumbing and piping (water, sewer, storm water or vent system) must be tested (typically with water) and exposed for inspection prior to burial or covering with floor, wall or ceiling coverings.
  • Anything having to do with walls, floors, ceilings, stairs, roofs is structural.  If you are remodeling a small room or building a new home, these need to be inspected before they are covered in any way, or before pouring any concrete.

All permits need a final approval inspection to be complete.

General information about inspections 

The city calls one and two-family home inspections "combination inspections." Residential inspectors are trained to inspect all aspects of the project. This saves homeowners, contractors, and the City time, money and energy.

Request an inspection before 6 am the day of the inspection. You can request morning or afternoon. We do not make appointments, because we do not know exactly how long an inspection will take. 

If the dwelling is occupied, the applicant or an adult at least 18 years old must be present to let in the inspector and remain during the inspection.

Other types of inspections 

These types of inspections are done by different inspectors. 

Property Compliance inspectors perform: 

  • accessory short term rental (ASTR) inspections
  • code evaluation inspections
  • electrical safety inspections for the Multnomah County Adult Care Program
  • erosion control inspections
  • manufactured home inspection
  • zoning inspections

Septic Inspections 

Septic inspectors inspect permits related to on-site sewage disposal systems. These permits including the following: decommission permits, on-site sewage permits, existing system evaluations, land use feasibility studies, sanitation permits, alteration permits, installation permits, repair permits, holding tanks, pumper truck and sand filtration system inspections. For questions about septic inspections contact Site Development & Septic Review.

Special inspections

Special inspections are required to monitor certain critical structural materials requiring the attention of professionals with highly specialized skills and qualifications. The Oregon Building Officials Association has created a list of approved special inspectors and agencies. Get details about special inspections.  

Contact inspectors 

If you have questions before your inspection, you can talk to an inspector. The inspectors' name, region, and phone numbers are listed on the the 1 & 2 family inspector area map.  

Because of vacation or illness, your inspector may be different than the one listed on the map. If you have questions after your inspection, find out which inspector to call. Their contact information will be on the inspection results and on Portland maps.

When to call for inspections

Tree preservation (when required)

Protection must be in place and be approved before ANY other work takes place. Protected trees need a 6 foot chain link fence around them as detailed in the approved plans.

Erosion control

If you are disturbing the ground, you need to have erosion control measures installed, inspected and approved. The erosion control inspection must happen before beginning any further ground-disturbing activities.

To be done with the footing inspection. The inspector will look at excavation and grading, slopes, and fill materials. Structural fills will require a fill certification by a geotechnical or civil engineer.

Footing and setback inspections

After trenches or pad openings are excavated and cleared of loose material or mud.

After any fill materials are placed, forms erected and secured in place, and reinforcing is in place and secured.

Before placing concrete.

New construction requires a grounding electrode to be in place before inspection.

Property lines must be identified by finding the existing official corner markers or providing a property survey for inspection of the setbacks and fire separation distance between the lot lines and new construction.

We strongly recommend that you allow 24 hours from the time of your inspection to your pour to allow for corrections and re-inspections.

Foundation inspection 

After forms and reinforcing are erected and secured or braced. Before placing concrete.

All hold downs and special frame anchor bolts must be mounted in place before inspection.

Can be combined with the footing inspection

We strongly recommend that you allow 24 hours from the time of your inspection to your pour to allow for corrections and re-inspections.

Under-floor or electrical, plumbing and mechanical inspection 

Any plumbing, electrical, mechanical and gas piping work that will be installed under the floor.

After the electrical, plumbing, ductwork and gas piping are in place and secured but before covering the floor framing.

Mechanical and plumbing inspections may be done at the same time as the under-floor framing inspection.

Under-floor or post and beam inspection

After all under floor plumbing, electrical and mechanical (including gas pipe) systems have been installed

After all sill plates and under floor structural components are in place secured and properly fastened

Before the application of flooring or insulation materials.

All structural components which have been improperly cut or notched for plumbing, etc. are to be repaired or replaced as needed.

Concrete floor slabs inspection (within buildings/structures)

After all under floor plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems have been installed and approved

After the ground surface is prepared and leveled, forms are in place and secured, reinforcing or woven wire mesh (if required) and under slab insulation (when required) are in place.

We strongly recommend that you allow 24 hours from the time of your inspection to your pour to allow for corrections and re-inspections.

Roof coverings inspection

The roof covering may be installed over the roof sheathing at any time unless otherwise noted on your plans.

Rough In inspection, all systems (rough plumbing, electrical, mechanical and gas piping system)

Before the framing inspection and covering any work.

Can be done at the same time as the framing inspection.

Shear walls inspection

After the structural frame is in place, all panels are to be nailed per the shear wall schedules, hold-downs and straps are to be installed and in any miscellaneous attachments installed.

Can be done with the structural frame inspection.

Structural frame inspection

After approval of all the above systems. All structural components that have been improperly cut, notched or altered for systems installations must be replaced or repaired as indicated. Roof, wall and floor sheathing are to be in place and nailed. Bracing, blocking and fire stops are to be complete. Windows and doors must be installed.

Insulation and vapor barrier inspection

After all insulation and vapor barriers are in place and secured.

Includes walls, floor, ground covers etc.

Does not include loose insulation to be supported by ceiling finish materials.

Weather protection must be provided before insulation. Wet or soaked insulation will be rejected. Substantially wet or soaked wood construction is not to be covered with vapor barriers unless adequate provisions are made for thorough drying of the structure. Under-floor and attic insulation may be done at a later time, but must be in place before the final inspection.

Gypsum wallboard (drywall) inspection (on firewalls and gypsum wallboard/drywall shear walls only)

After all nailing or other fastening systems are complete.

Before tape, plaster or other coverings are applied.

If multiple layer of gypsum wallboard are required, the nailing of each layer must be inspected.

Public sidewalk and driveway approach inspection

Required for all concrete paving within the street right-of-way.

After the excavation is complete, the forms are in place and secured, and the sub grade is properly prepared.

Before placing of any concrete.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) performs ALL driveway aprons and frontage sidewalks. Please call (503) 823-7002 to schedule inspections for this part of your project.

The Bureau of Development Services will continue to inspect the flatwork part of the driveway from the back of the sidewalk to the garage/house. Please call (503) 823-7000 to schedule the inspections for this part of your project.

Driveways, porches and flat work inspections (concrete driveways, patios, walkways and porches)

After the ground service is prepared and leveled, and forms are in place and secured.

The inspector will verify that the placement of concrete will not be against untreated framing or siding, and the rise and run of any steps or stairs.

We strongly recommended that you allow 24 hours from the time of your inspection to your pour to allow for corrections and re-inspections.

Other inspections

Other inspections may be required on particular jobs. These inspections will be on the approved plans and specifications. Or the Building Inspector will inform the permit holder of the need for them.

Special inspections

When special inspections are required, a qualified and approved special inspector is to be at the job site whenever work requiring special inspections is in progress. The City of Portland does not perform special inspections. The building inspector or approved agency shall submit a report of their findings upon completion of the inspection.

Final inspections

After all other required inspections are approved including:

  • building
  • electrical
  • plumbing
  • mechanical
  • erosion control
  • tree planting (if required)
  • fire suppression (if required) 

Must have final approval before occupancy of the premises is allowed.

Inspection results and corrections

To schedule an inspection, call the automated inspection request line. You will need your IVR or permit number and the three digit code for the inspection.

If you got your permit online through Development Hub, you can schedule your inspection online too.

Find out your inspection time and inspector's name on the daily residential routes. This is posted daily after 8:15am weekdays. 

Get the results of the inspection online by searching for your permit on Portland Maps.

Not approved - there are many reasons why the electrical work did not get approved:

  • no access - the inspector may not have been able to inspect the work
  • incomplete work
  • code violations

The inspector will list the corrections needed on the inspection report. 
Call for a reinspection after making the corrections. Use the same three digit inspection code.
If you make the corrections the same day wait until 5 pm to request a reinspection. The inspector needs to enter their results before you can schedule the reinspection.

There is a reinspection fee charged for more than one reinspection for a single issue.

Field Issuance Remodel (FIR) Program

The Field Issuance Remodel (FIR) program is a pilot program designed to provide plan review and inspection services to a small group of registered contractors and architects. The program is limited to current members of the Oregon Remodelers Association or members of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland.

Contact

Property Compliance Help Line

Development Services

phone number503-823-2633

Monday through Friday from 8 am - 4 pm. Leave a message with detailed information.

Requests for Inspection and Inspection Results

Development Services

phone number503-823-7000

Automated Line - Requires an IVR or permit number

Residential Inspections

Development Services

phone number503-823-7388

Monday through Friday from 8:15 am - 3:45 pm. Leave a message with detailed information.

fax number503-823-7693

Site Development & Septic Review

phone number503-823-6892

Monday through Friday from 8 am - 5 pm. Leave a message with detailed information.