BCD Newsletter May 2017

May 2017 news headergrey box revised

Customers have choices when using new materials, emerging technologies

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When permitting new construction projects, three regulatory options may be particularly helpful to designers, developers, and contractors who choose to apply new, emerging materials or technologies in the building process:

  • Develop alternative regulatory options for emerging technologies rules (ORS 455.065). The Building Codes Division (BCD) can respond to and address issues related to emerging technologies by establishing alternative regulatory options. Modified rules are proposed by the division.

  • Request rapid approval assessment for essential projects (ORS 455.466). This assessment was established to “fast track” projects that are deemed essential to Oregon’s economic development. This option is typically initiated through the Oregon Business Development Department.

  • Review of master plan and specifications to determine compliance, effect of approval, and fees (ORS 455.685). Developers can request that BCD perform a plan review (regarding the state building code) for a new building while the local jurisdiction reviews the plan regarding local ordinances. This may be especially helpful to a contractor using the same building plan in multiple jurisdictions.

State law directs that construction-related activities in Oregon proceed quickly and efficiently to promote economic development. These three optional pathways provide a flexible and responsive approach when using innovative materials or technologies in construction.

Read full article online

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The challenge of navigating state and national building codes


Understanding the association between state and national model building codes can be challenging. Many individuals in Oregon are unaware that state statute governs the adoption, scope, and other aspects of national model codes, including rules related to contractor and trade licenses and certifications.

Oregon specialty codes (electrical, plumbing, structural, etc.) are based on national model codes. Oregon codes are typically reviewed every three years; each review provides an opportunity to examine and adopt an updated national code and/or code amendments specific to Oregon. State variations from national codes are often due to local climate; exposure to natural disasters; access to materials; or state policies on energy and other construction-related topics.

It is always helpful for building officials, contractors and trade professionals to remember this code hierarchy, especially when working with individuals who are unfamiliar with the state’s building industry:

  • Oregon has a uniform building code that applies to all municipalities. A statewide, uniform code provides a comprehensive set of health and safety standards for consistent application in new construction. 

  • Oregon’s code is comprised of specialty building codes that may differ from national model codes. Consumers should not assume that a national code applies when building in Oregon. State codes can be accessed online at www.oregon.gov/bcd.

  • Local city and county building departments administer the Oregon Building Code. Individuals should contact their local building official to clarify code requirements. The Building Codes Division can also address questions or concerns.

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Public hearings, comment period set for 2017 specialty codes

The Residential and Manufactured Structures Board reviewed the 2017 Oregon Residential Specialty Code, as well as the 2017 low-rise residential provisions of the electrical and plumbing code recommendations from each respective code review committee on May 10.

Public rulemaking hearings and a comment period are the next step in the Oregon code adoption process before BCD reviews the final recommendations for implementation. Hearings have been scheduled at BCD in Salem on Tuesday, June 20, at the following times:

In addition, public comment on the 2017 codes will be accepted through 5 p.m., June 23. The 2018 Oregon structural and mechanical specialty codes remain in the early stages of review. The code amendment proposal period for each code has closed; committee meetings have not yet been scheduled.

Code committee and board meeting agendas, minutes, and video can be viewed online; updates are posted on committee webpages.

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Check out these upcoming courses in the Inspector Training Program:

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Rules and laws

Proposed rules


Newly adopted rules