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Permits, Fees...

Construction permits are required for work that is regulated by the Oregon Building Code which would include the disciplines of building (structural), mechanical, plumbing, fire life safety (commercial) and electrical. A construction permit shall be required to be issued prior to beginning the construction, alteration or repair of a structure, except ordinary repairs. Ordinary repairs are nonstructural repairs and do not include the addition to, alteration of, or the replacement or relocation of water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, mechanical or other work which a permit is required by the Building Official.

Electrical permits are issued through the Douglas County Building Department. For questions regarding electrical work call 541-440-4559.

The Tri-County permit office is now the only location in the State which issues plumbing and electrical 'minor label' permits. Questions regarding these permit programs should be directed to the Tri-County Service Center in Portland at 503-872-6731.

Permits Required

Generally permits are required for everything with a few exceptions. Work exempt from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of the code or any other laws or ordinance of the jurisdiction.

The following residential work which may be structural in nature and which does not encroach over subsurface disposal systems or into required yards are exempt from construction permits and fees.

  • Retrofitted insulation.
  • Flatwork (concrete slabs, driveways, sidewalks).
  • Masonry repair.
  • Uncovered porches or decks which are less than 30 inches above the average finished grade within 6 feet of the porch or deck, and more than 3 feet to any adjacent property line.
  • Patio covers and window awnings that are supported by an exterior wall which cover an area less than 120 square feet.
  • Non-habitable detached accessory structures which do not exceed 200 square feet in floor area and not exceed 10 feet in height to the average point.
  • Rigid framed fabric covered accessory structures not more than 500 square feet in area, a maximum of one story in height and a minimum of three feet from any property line.
  • Shelving, cabinet work, gutters and downspouts and 'applied' finishes such as painting or interior wall, floor or ceiling coverings, for example: paneling, wall paper, carpet or vinyl tile.
  • Nonbearing walls or partitions which do not create ‘habitable rooms'.
  • Fences 6 feet or less in height, except when required as a barrier around a swimming pool.
  • Retaining walls 4 feet or less in height (when measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a 'surcharge').
  • Replacement of doors or windows where no structural member is changed.

Refer to Section R105 of the Oregon Residential Specialty Code for the actual code language and list of exemptions.
Oregon Residential Specialty Code Section 105
Oregon Structural Specialty Code Section 105 (commercial)

Application Submittal

To submit an application for a construction permit the applicant must present an approved Planning Department ‘work sheet’, at the Building Department counter and fill out a Construction Permit Application. The complete application form, approved ‘work sheet’ and two sets of construction plans for residential, three sets for commercial, if required, may then be submitted for review by the Building Department.

The initial review time for a project is ten working days. The time frame to actually issue the permit may be longer due to delays receiving required revisions to the construction plans or approval from interested agencies such as On Site Sanitation.

Construction Permit Fees

At this time the Douglas County Building Department is totally fee supported, which simply means that only the fees the Department collects are used to pay all the operating costs of the Department.

The basic fee schedule is established by the State of Oregon Building Codes Division. The total amount of the construction permit fee for a project is based on the accumulated totals of the fees required for each of the disciplines (building, mechanical, plumbing and electrical involved in a project, plus a plan review fee (if applicable), fire and life safety fee (commercial only) and twelve percent (12%) surcharge which is assessed by and collected for the State. Contact our office for assistance in calculating 'estimated' fees, which are subject to change based on the actual plan review.

Residential Permit Fees

Residential fees are based on a ‘fair market’ cost per square foot value.

Residential mechanical and plumbing permit fees are assessed and applied in addition to the calculated building (structural) permit fees.

The estimated total fee for an average home of 2000 square feet (3 bedrooms, 2 baths) with an attached 484 square foot garage would be approximately $1966 for structural, mechanical and plumbing only. Electrical is a separate permit and the estimated cost for this permit would be $209.94. Without the garage, the fee would be approximately $1700.

Commercial Permit Fees

Commercial fees are more difficult to calculate then residential fees because they may include a fire and life safety plan review fee (which is 40% of the actual building permit fee), fire alarms systems, sprinkler systems, elevators and other similar building features.

Manufactured Home Permits
The fees for the installation/placement of a manufactured home are as follows:
  • New Placement of a Manufactured Dwelling - $365.14
  • Re-placement of a Manufactured Dwelling - $300.74
  • Manufactured Dwelling as a Storage Building - $236.34
  • Manufactured Dwelling Service (electrical) - $81.14

The above fees for manufactured dwellings DO NOT include the permits required to construct decks (other than landings at all doorways), carports, garages, shops, sheds or for the installation of any mechanical system such as a heat pump, natural or LP gas systems. No permit is required for sheds/storage buildings less than 200 square feet and less than an average roof height of 10 feet. These fees DO NOT include the permit for the installation of an electrical service and an electrical permit is required. Additional fees may be assessed if changes to an existing water or sewer line are required or if the new water or sewer service is more than 30 feet from the manufactured dwelling to the service connections.