The City of Portland also issues building permits for the City of Maywood Park.
Residential permits are for one- and two-family homes
This home repair and remodeling permit information is for one-family and two-family homes.
Apartments and buildings with three units or more, called "commercial buildings", have different requirements. Learn more about projects that require permits for your business or commercial building.
Work that requires a residential building permit
*Note that all development work must comply with zoning requirements, whether or not it requires a building permit. Please visit the section above for work that requires a zoning permit.
- Build a one- or two-family home
- Build, demolish or add a room, garage, shed or other enclosed structure attached to a house
- Build, demolish or move any structure that is
- more than 200 square feet in area or
- has a height of more than 15 feet measured from the grade plane to the average height of the highest roof surface.
- Note: If the parcel of land is over 2 acres and the structure is at least 20 feet from property lines and other structures, then a permit is required when the building area is over 400 square feet.
- Finish an attic, garage or basement to create habitable space
- Add a bathroom in new or existing space
- Move, remove or add walls
- Add or enlarge a porch cover, patio cover, carport or other open-sided roofed structure with an area greater than 200 square feet that is attached to a house
- Enclose a patio cover, porch or carport
- Build a deck more than 30 inches high
- Cut new window or door opening, widen or reduce the size of existing openings
- Build or replace an exterior stairway more than 30 inches above adjacent grade or over any story or basement
- Build a retaining wall that exceeds four feet high measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall or any retaining wall affected by the weight of an adjacent slope, or nearby driveway or structure
- Put up a fence more than seven feet high
- Move more than 10 cubic yards of earth
- Pour concrete sidewalks, slabs and driveways more than 30 inches above adjacent grade or over any story or basement
- Install a barrier around any swimming pool, or construct an in-ground swimming pool.
- Replace roofing in a wildfire hazard zone or on a Townhouse
- Reroof a house or duplex when more than 15% of the existing roof sheathing is being removed and replaced
- Installation of solar panels or solar roof coverings.
- Tree planting, preservation, or related requirements may apply to your project under Title 11, Trees (the Tree Code). To find out more about these regulations and how they affect your project please visit the Trees area or call 503-823-TREE (8733).
Work that requires a zoning permit
*Note that all development work must comply with zoning requirements, whether or not it requires a building permit.
- Creating a new or enlarged parking area or driveway, or paving a graveled parking area.
- Making any improvement required to resolve a code compliance case or demonstrate zoning compliance when development does not require a building permit, such as tree planting to meet tree density prior to land use approval.
- Development that does not require a building permit but is required by a condition of a land use review approval, such as a historic resource review approval, design review approval, or an environmental review approval.
- Proposing development that does not require a building permit but requires zoning compliance within some Plan Districts or Overlay Zones—such as Environmental overlay zones.
- Example: building a patio or deck in the environmental zones.
Get more information about zoning permits.
Work that requires a residential mechanical permit
- Install or change any part of a heating or cooling system which has duct work or must be vented into any kind of chimney or vent
- Install a wood stove or fireplace insert
- Install, alter or repair gas piping between the meter and an appliance (indoors and outdoors)
- Install a fuel oil tank
- Install exterior heat pump or air conditioning condenser units
Read more about residential mechanical permits.
Work that requires a residential electrical permit
You must be both the owner and occupant of the home in order to do electrical work yourself. If the home is intended for sale, lease, rent or exchange in the near future, work must be done by a licensed electrical contractor. A permit is required to:
- Install, change or repair any hard-wired electrical system
- Run any additional wiring, put in an additional electrical outlet or light fixture, or change your fuse box to circuit breakers
- Install or alter low voltage systems such as security alarms, central vacuum systems, or low voltage lighting
- Add or replace electrical wall/baseboard heaters
Read more about residential electrical permits.
Work that requires a residential plumbing permit
- Repair, replace, relocate or add to the piping system within your home
- Install new plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, tubs, dishwashers, etc.
- Replace a water heater
- Replace existing plumbing fixtures if the replacement involves concealed plumbing connections
- Install rain drains, cesspools, septic systems, drywells, sewer lines, water lines, backflow prevention assemblies for lawn sprinkler systems or cap a sewer
- Cap of fixtures that have been removed
Note: Adding a bathroom not only requires a plumbing and building permit, but may also require an electrical and/or mechanical permit.
Read more about residential plumbing permits.
Work that doesn't require a residential building permit
Some minor repairs and maintenance on one- or two-family homes don't require a building permit.
Even when a building permit is not required, the project must meet the Building and Zoning Code requirements. Learn about how zoning requirements in the section above.
Outside home repair projects that don't need permits
- Paint buildings
- Install insulation in existing homes
- Install storm windows
- Install window awnings, not more than 54 inches deep and not in a design zone, that are supported by an exterior wall and do not project beyond the property line
- Install gutters and downspouts (a plumbing permit may still be required for stormwater disposal)
- Replace or repair siding that is not required to be fire resistive
- Replace or repair roofing, including replacement of no more than 15% of the existing roof sheathing (a maximum of two layers of roofing is allowed), except if the structure is in a wildfire hazard zone or is a Townhouse.
- Replace doors or windows if the existing openings are not widened or reduced in size
- Install swings and other play structures
- Build a fence up to seven feet high in compliance with Zoning Code requirements for fences (refer to the Fences brochure, or if the fence encloses a swimming pool) Fences, Decks and Outdoor Residential Projects (Brochure 3)
- Pave a walkway
- Build stairs, patio, or deck that is not more than 30 inches above grade
- Build a shed or other non-habitable one-story detached accessory structure, provided that it is smaller than one which requires a residential building permit (see above). Note, if the parcel of land is over 2 acres and the structure is at least 20 feet from property lines and other structures, then a permit is not required when the building area is not over 400 square feet.
- Repave driveways where expansion is not proposed
- Build a patio or porch cover not over 200 square feet and supported by an exterior building wall
- Construct a non-habitable accessory structure composed of a rigid frame covered with a fabric membrane that does not exceed 500 square feet in area, is only 1 story in height, and is not closer than 3’ to a property line
Please note: If your property is in a flood hazard area, additional requirements apply. Check out the Site Development webpage for more information or call General Inquiries to discuss your project.
Inside work that doesn't need permits
- Replace interior wall, floor or ceiling covering (such as wallboard or sheet vinyl)
- Construct non-structural partitions where these do not enclose habitable space, such as for a closet.
- Install shelving and cabinets
- Remove and reinstall a toilet when installing new floor covering
- Replace accessible plumbing fixtures to make emergency plumbing repairs or to replace freeze-damaged or leaking concealed plumbing pipes that are no more than five feet in length
Other construction types that need permits
Learn more about different types of projects that require permits:
- Commercial permits for commercial construction sites (including multi-family dwellings)
- Other permits include banner permits, changing occupancy permits, sign permits and more
- Outside work permits include concrete patio permits, decommission permits, driveway permits, sewer connection permits and more
- Trade permits for adding a bathroom, replacing plumbing fixtures or adding water lines
Still not sure if you need a permit? Schedule a 15-minute appointment
If you have questions after reviewing the information on this page, we recommend you book a free 15-minute appointment with us.
We're here for you if you have questions about the information and materials you need to apply.
This web page is also available as a PDF: