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Addition to Enlarge the Building Footprint- Residential Building Permits

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Apply online for residential addition permits that enlarge the footprint of a single-family home or duplex. Get all required forms for a residential addition like adding a bedroom. Find information on addition permits and inspections. Learn more before you add a room to a home or remodel a home.
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Any project that enlarges the footprint of an existing building is an addition and requires a building permit. Depending on the scope of work, your project will most likely need electrical, plumbing and/or mechanical permits.   

What you need for an addition permit

You will need a completed building permit application, a site plan (often called a plot plan) and architectural plans. Review the plan drawings requirements:

  • Drawings, drawn to scale where necessary to verify compliance with code.
  • Drawings may be handwritten/drawn if clear and legible. Text or note shall be in print.
  • Minimum drawing size: 11x17. All required information is to be clear and legible. Minimum printed text is to be 3/32” or the equivalent 12-point font.
  • Cannot use professional's drawings without the permission of the professional who signed the original drawings. For example, an architect’s stamped plan set cannot be used without their permission.

Depending on the scope of work, you may also need structural calculations. 

If your project qualifies as a Major Residential Alteration and Addition, there are additional requirements including a delay period and notification to neighbors and neighborhood associations. See the MRAA page for more detail on these requirements.

If you are applying for a combination permit you will also need to submit the trade permit applications (Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing). Learn more about what to include with your application

Who can do the work 

Contractors must have a license to work in Oregon. The Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) issues licenses to contractors. The permit application and their company materials must list the license number. Need help finding a contractor? The CCB website has good tips on how to search for one.  Plumbing and Electrical contractors have additional license requirements.  

If you are a homeowner doing the work yourself, then you can sign the trade permit applications. You can only do the electrical work if you own and occupy the home and are not planning on selling or renting within 6 months. The State of Oregon has some helpful information for homeowners: 

Building permit application and other information needed for a residential addition building permit

The following information is part of the application. This is everything you might need when applying for a permit to construct an addition. Since every project is unique, there may be some situations where you will be asked to provide additional information. Things you need to apply for this permit may include some or all of the following.

If you aren't sure what you need, contact Permitting Services.  

Architectural plans 

Building permit application

Completeness Checklist: Residential Additions and Alterations for Life Safety and Structural Review (Fillable)

Download the Word document and save a copy to use this form:

Disclaimer for Existing On-site Sewage Disposal System 

If building an addition and house has a septic tank or cesspool on site:

Erosion control plan

Major Residential Alterations & Additions permits have additional requirements 

Mitigation form and/or a stormwater plan (simplified approach form)

If your project will add more than 500 square feet of impervious area: 

Residential system development charge (SDC) form 

 Sample site plan

 Simple site erosion control requirements form 

If the project will result in disturbing the ground with mechanical equipment and if the project qualifies as a simple site (less than 10% slope, more than 50 feet from a wetland or waterbody and outside an environmental or greenway zone:

Structural plans and calculations 

Temporary excavation guidelines  

2017 Energy Efficiency Additional Measures Requirements

W-3 form: small meter sizing worksheet 

If project will result in more than 3 bathrooms on site: 

For combination permits (if applicable)

Step 1: Research your property and what you need for your addition project

Residential addition building permit code and rules

Permits are reviewed under multiple city and state codes including: 

Other codes may apply based on the scope of work. The City and State Codes, Administrative Rules, Code Guides and Program Guides web page has the codes, administrative rules, code guides and program guides.

How to check the permit history for a house 

Depending on the age of your house, we may have inspection cards or microfilmed plans that show the permit history for your house. It is important to verify the permit records, not rely on the tax information from the county assessor’s office.  If "existing” living space was not permitted, it will need to be legalized through a new permit.  To be considered living space, you would need to submit for the same conversion permits as if the work was not already done.

Some records are available online, visit our How to Request Public Property Records webpage.

Planning and Zoning

Before getting started, contact Planning and Zoning to find out what is allowed on your property. There are rules about maximum building coverage and required setbacks that could impact your project.

Major Residential Alteration and Additions (MRAA)

A major residential addition is adding more than 500 square feet of new interior space by expanding the building footprint or envelope. A major alteration means removing 50% or more of the exterior walls above the foundation. If the Major Residential Alterations and Additions have a notification rule. There is also required delay period. (Portland City Code Section 24.55.210). For more information, visit apply for a Major Residential Alteration and Addition permit (MRAA): 

Additional work including garages and adding an upper story 

The information on this page is for additions and enlarging the building footprint.  If your scope of work includes adding a garage, adding an upper story, or conversion of unfinished space into living space, there are important things to know that can impact your project:

  • If your work includes a new garage, visit Garage, Shed and Accessory Structure Residential Building Permits for additional requirements. 
  • If you are also Increasing the building envelope by adding an upper story, visit Dormer or Upper Floor Addition Residential Permits for additional requirements. 
  • If you are also converting unfinished space into living space, visit Attic, Basement or Garage Conversion Residential Building Permits for additional requirements. 
  • If your project includes and Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), visit ADU Permits for additional requirements.

Combination permits

The Bureau of Development Services sells a "Residential Combination" permit package. This allows you to call for all inspections using one Building Permit (RS) IVR number. You can also pay for all the permits at one time. If you choose a combination permit, you will need to submit the trade (mechanical, electrical, and/or plumbing) applications with your plans.  If you are hiring subcontractors to do the trade work, they must sign their trade permit application.  

Decommissioning a Septic Tank or Cesspool

If you are building an addition, and the house was not connected to the sewer when it was built, you will likely need to decommission the cesspool or septic tank.  

Excavation guidelines

Be careful when digging near the property line for construction. The work should not cause damage to the next door property and buildings. The temporary excavation guidelines has information on requirements

Floodplains

If your house is located in a floodplain, there are restrictions that may limit your ability to add or to significantly improve your house. The work may require retrofitting your house to be flood resistant. Flood plain information is available on Portland Maps Flood Hazard gallery.  If the property is located in a flood plain, talk to Site Development & Septic Review in the early stages for what is needed. 

Residential Engineering

Your project must be designed to meet all structural requirements in the building code. The construction drawings must show how both gravity and lateral (wind and earthquake) loads will be resisted. Please see our page on Residential Engineering for more information on these requirements.

Permit Fees

Permit fees are based on the type of permit, the work proposed, the valuation of the work, and the staff that need to review the work. Permit Fee information.

Step 1b: Still need help? 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. 

This is an optional step. We're here for you if you have questions about the information and materials you need to apply. 

If you need help, here are some experts we recommend you meet with for this project*: 

Meet with a Permit Technician 

  • Schedule this appointment if you have questions about the permit process. Permit technicians will provide you with the information found on this page. 
  • Get help with permit application requirements. 

These are optional meetings. Only book if you have questions. 

Meet with a Permit Technician

Meet with a City Planner 

  • We recommend you meet with city planner about planning and zoning or tree code requirements before submitting building permits.  
  • Get information on rules that apply to your property. 

These are optional meetings. Only book if you have questions.

Meet with a City Planner

Meet with a Building Code and Engineering Reviewer

  • Get help with building code and engineering requirements. 
  • To submit a question by phone, call Building Code Plan Review.  

These are optional meetings. Only book if you have questions. 

Meet with a Building Code and Engineering Reviewer

Meet with a Water expert 

  • Find out if your project requires you to increase the size of your existing water meter. 
  • For development and construction related questions about water services. 

These are optional meetings. Only book if you have questions. 

Meet with a Water expert

Meet with a Transportation expert 

  • Questions about how your project will affect the right-of-way.  
  • Find out if your project will trigger right-of-way improvements. 

These are optional meetings. Only book if you have questions. 

Meet with a Transportation expert

Get help from the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) 

  • Questions about the sewer, waste line, or stormwater. 

These are optional meetings. Only book if you have questions. 

Get help from BES

*Not all review groups are listed. The groups listed above will help get you started. 

Step 2: How to apply for a residential addition building permit 

You can submit your permit application request online using Development Hub PDXRead step-by-step instructions for submitting a permit application request online or in person. 

For most projects, electronic plans are submitted through the Single PDF process. Large projects such as commercial new construction are submitted though PDX E-plans and ProjectDox.

If you are unable to create electronic plans, please call us and we will work with you.

Step 3: Plan review process and checksheets

You can check the status of a permit review on Portland Maps permit/case search. Many people might review a single permit. The Permit Review Process web page has more information about the groups who review permits. 

A checksheet is sent to the applicant when a reviewer needs additional information or a correction has to be made to the plans. Read more about how to send us corrections and how to prepare corrected paper plans.

Step 4: Get your residential addition building permit

You will be contacted when your permit is ready, and notified of your final fee total. Instructions will be given on how to get your approved permit and pay your fees. Your permit is not issued until all fees are paid. Read more about the pre-issuance process.

Step 5: Start building and get ready for inspections

The inspection card lists all the inspections you will likely need during your construction project, and what work needs to be done first.  Anything having to do with walls, floors, ceilings, stairs, roofs is structural.  These need to be inspected before they are covered in any way, or before pouring any concrete.

For combination permits including electrical, mechanical and plumbing, visit the trade permit pages for information on the order of inspections. 

All permits need a final approval inspection to be complete.

Step 6: Residential inspections, 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.

Get the results of the inspection on Portland Maps permit/case search the next day.

Read more about why work does not get approved and how to schedule a reinspection

Contact residential inspectors about your residential permit inspections

If you have questions before or after your inspection, you can talk to an inspector.

Contact

Building Code Plan Review

Development Services

Permitting General Information

Development Services

Oregon Relay Service711 Oregon Relay Service

Zoning Information Line

Development Services

phone number503-823-7526

Monday through Friday from 8 am - 5 pm. Leave a message with a phone number, the project address, and your questions.

Oregon Relay Service711 Oregon Relay Service

Requests for Inspection

Development Services

phone number503-823-7000

Automated Line - Requires an IVR or permit number

Oregon Relay Service711 Oregon Relay Service

Residential Inspections

Development Services

phone number503-823-7388

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

Oregon Relay Service711 Oregon Relay Service
fax number503-823-7693

Location