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Permit a project through the FIR Program

Information
For FIR registered contractors. The FIR Program permit process differs from the regular permit process. Find out what projects can be permitted through the FIR Program. Get applications and forms. Learn how to apply for a permit through the FIR Program. Check the status of a FIR permit application.
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The FIR Program permit process and the regular permit processes are alike in many ways, including the required documentation, plan review, and inspections.

The differences include the types of building projects allowed under the program, routes of communication, document submission, the requesting of inspections, and billing procedures.

Projects that can be permitted through the FIR Program

Certain types of alterations and additions to one and two-family dwellings and accessory structures can be permitted through the FIR program, including:

  • The alteration of existing habitable space
  • The conversion of existing non-habitable space into habitable space
  • The creation of new habitable or non-habitable space attached to an existing structure
  • The erection of a new detached accessory structure
  • The demolition of a detached accessory structure.
  • Work defined as a Major Residential Alteration or Addition in Portland City Code Section 24.55.150.

Note: Creation of new square footage and exterior alterations must comply with applicable zoning and land use regulations and the Portland City Code.

Limitations: projects that do not qualify

Because of unique construction and regulatory requirements, the following projects cannot be permitted through the FIR Program:

  • Conversion of single-family residences to duplexes
  • Creation of accessory dwelling units
  • Demolition of a one or two-family dwelling. See Portland City Code subsection 24.55.150 for the definition of “Demolition”.
  • Fire damage repair
  • Floating structures
  • Manufactured dwellings
  • Shared garages
  • Solar installation (standalone projects)

Projects that do not qualify, must be permitted through the standard residential permit process.


Apply for a permit through the FIR Program

Application Process

  1. Complete and submit a FIR permit application.

  2. Send the completed FIR permit application by email to bdsfirpermits@portlandoregon.gov or fax (503) 823-7425.
     
  3. Pre-construction meeting. Schedule an onsite meeting with your FIR Inspector to discuss the following:
    • Scope of work
    • Required plans and documents (see standards below)
    • Zoning requirements
    • Code requirements
    • Site conditions
       
  4. Email your prepared permit documents to your FIR Inspector or Technical Staff. Do not use DevHub for any project permitted through the FIR Program.

    If files are too large to email, please request a file-sharing link from your FIR Inspector or Technical Staff.

    All trade applications must be submitted as part of the main permit submittal package.

    Paper plan option. You may also submit paper plans. Provide 3 sets of plans to your FIR inspector in person.

Standards for permit plans and documents

  • A completed FIR permit application is always required for permit submittals. Include a succinct but comprehensive scope of work. 
     
  • Trade applications (mechanical, plumbing, and electrical sub-contractors) if applicable must be completed in full including all required license numbers. You will not receive a final permit without providing completed subcontractor applications.
     
  • If submitting electronic files through email, attach each document as a separate PDF
     
  • The minimum plan size is 11" x 17"
     
  • Draw all plans to scale
     
  • Typically, plans include a site plan, floor plan, elevations, cross-sections, and detailed drawings
     
  • Dimensions and notes must match a 12-point font minimum

For instructions on preparing plans for a permit, including a Site Plan Checklist and Sample Site Plan, visit Plans You Need for a Building Permit.

We will reject incorrect, incomplete, or inadequate permit submittals. This may delay your project.

Application documents

Check with your FIR inspector for the requirements for your specific project. Use this table to determine what you need to provide with your application.

If the conditions listed in the left column are true about your project, then provide the application requirement listed in the right corresponding column.

If the conditions are true about your projectThen include the application requirement
For all projects permitted through the FIR Program
If there's electrical work
If there's mechanical work
If there's plumbing work
Certification regarding asbestos and lead-based paint
If a cesspool or septic tank is on the site, but the building is now served by public sewer. If your project is within 10 feet of a septic tank or cesspool you will need to have your septic tank decommissioned.
Ground disturbing activities
High-Efficiency Interior Lighting Systems

or

Moisture Sensitive Wood Framing
If more than 500 square feet of the ground will be disturbed AND if your site qualifies as a "simple site".

To qualify as a simple site, ALL of the following must be true: 

  • Area of work is flat, less than 10% slope prior to development
  • Less than 10,000 square feet of ground disturbance
  • More than 50 feet from a wetland or waterbody
  • Outside of an environmental, greenway, or river overlay zone
Tree root protection zones
If four or more bathrooms total are on the site (even if you're not adding new bathrooms)

Check the status of a FIR permit application

You may also check the status on Portland Maps. For more information visit, How to Use Portland Maps to Check on a Permit Under Review.

If you need help, ask your FIR Program Inspector or FIR Technical Staff to update you on the status of your permit.

Keep your contact information up-to-date

Always keep contact information current for your business. All timely communication depends on it.

Please email the FIR Program Technical Staff to request changes to contact information at bdsfirpermits@portlandoregon.gov.

Next step: Respond to feedback

Learn how to respond to feedback sent to you as checksheets. Follow the instructions for the FIR Program checksheets process.

Respond to FIR checksheets