Structural Permits

When are structural permits required?

A permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter or move any one or two-family dwelling or related structure.

For example:

  • Add a room.
  • Build or move a carport, garage or shed of more than 200 square feet.
  • Finish an attic, garage or basement to make additional living space.
  • Cut a new window or door opening or widen existing openings.
  • Move, remove or add walls (also see below “what work will NOT require a permit”).
  • Apply roofing when the old roofing is removed and new sheathing is installed.
  • Build a stairway.
  • Build a retaining wall more than four feet high.
  • Put up a fence more than six feet high.
  • Swimming pool barriers.

What type of project does NOT require a structural permit?

  • Detached (not attached to the dwelling) residential accessory buildings (storage building, shed etc.) not over 200 sf or 10′ high, or 120 sf if it is a commercial use.
    NOTE:  Zoning approval will still be required.  Contact the local planning department particularly if the project is within the National Scenic Area (NSA) Boundary.
  • Fences not over 6′ high.
  • Retaining walls not over 4’ high.
  • Sidewalks, slabs, driveways not more than 30” above the adjacent grade or over a basement or story below.
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, interior wall, floor or ceiling covering and similar finish work.
  • Swings and other playground equipment.
  • Window awnings which do not project more than 54” from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
  • Nonbearing partitions, except when the partition creates a habitable room.
  • Replacement or repair of siding.
  • Retrofitted insulation.
  • Masonry repair.
  • Porches and decks not more than 30” above the adjacent grade and not closer than 3’ to the property line.
  • Gutters and downspouts.
  • Door and window replacement where no structural member is changed.
  • Reroofing where the roof sheathing is not changed.
  • Plastic glazed storm windows.

What are the building permit fees?

  • Building permit fees are based on the valuation of the work to be done. If new construction or an addition, new garage, carport etc, see the Building Valuation Data.
  • If the work is an alteration or remodel, the valuation will be based on the contractor’s bid amount. If the owner is doing the work, provide a reasonable estimate of the materials to be used. The estimate also must include the labor value.
  • After determination of the valuation, see the structural building permit fee schedule.

What information will I need to get a permit?

  • The address of the property.
  • Zoning and sanitation approval.
  • The owner’s name, address and phone number.
  • If a contractor is doing the work, the contractor’s name, address, phone number and State Construction Contractor’s Board number.
  • Two sets of plans that clearly show all work on the building and where the building is located on the property. See the sample plans.

When is zoning approval required in order to get a building permit?

  • Any new structure.
  • Any addition onto an existing structure.
  • Porches, patio covers etc.
  • Any change of use, for example – changing the garage into living area.
  • Fences over 6’ high, retaining walls over 4’ high.

Where do I get zoning approval?

Zoning approval will come from the City or County where the structure is being constructed.  For instance, if inside the City of The Dalles – contact the City Planning Department.  Other cities may not have a planning department, call City Hall.  Outside an incorporated city, call the local County Courthouse.

When is sanitation approval required in order to get a building permit?

  • Any new dwelling.
  • Any addition to a dwelling, increasing the number of bedrooms.
  • Any project where the new construction will be less than 5’ from a septic tank or 10’ from the septic system.
  • Outbuildings containing plumbing.
  • Outbuildings if on a small lot where the septic system or replacement area are in question.
  • Any commercial building containing a new bathroom.
  • Any commercial building increasing number of employees (verify with appropriate sanitation office).
  • Whenever the Department of Environmental Quality or local government requires an authorization notice be issued, which includes the following (among others). See website:
  • Reconnection to an existing septic system.

Where do I get sanitation approval?

  • If the project is on a public sanitation system, call the local government office.
  • If the project is on a private system (septic system), and in Wasco or Sherman Counties, call the Wasco County Health Dept, 541-506-2600. If in Wheeler County, call DEQ in Bend, 541-388-6146.  If in Gilliam County, call DEQ in Pendleton, 541-276-4063.

Who obtains the permit?

  • The owner of a one or two-family dwelling can hire a contractor registered by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board or can get the permit and do the work yourself.
  • If a contractor does the work, either the owner or the contractor can obtain the permit. We suggest you request the contractor apply for the permit since the one obtaining the permit is the one responsible to see that inspections are requested and the work is done correctly.  All contractors are required to be licensed by the Construction Contractors Board.

How long does it take to get a permit?

  • A plan review generally takes less than two weeks for one and two-family dwellings. Time frames can change depending on the complexity of the project, the completeness of the information you submit and our workload at the time the project is submitted.
  • Commercial plan applicants should anticipate up to four weeks, although the work may be done much sooner, depending on the complexity and our workload.

What are some of some common problems seen on plans?

  • Most plans need to have the truss data sheets and roof layout submitted with the plans. Only very simple projects will be approved without the truss information. The truss information submitted with the plans doesn’t necessarily have to be stamped by an engineer, but a stamped set will be required on the jobsite for the framing inspection.
  • Lateral bracing: The code requires exterior wall lateral braced panels in the corners and every 25’. These are often overlooked in the design, which often requires either a re-design or engineering showing the building will withstand wind and seismic loads.
  • Plans not showing beam sizes or have excessive spans. If using manufactured lumber (glu-lam beams, structural composite etc), the manufacturer will usually be able to provide the loading information.  Engineering may be necessary, depending on the span and loads.
  • Catalog plans may show different construction methods than you intend to use. If using those types of plans, review them carefully with the contractor and make any changes so they show the actual construction, floor plan etc. It’s not uncommon for structural engineering to be required.
  • Catalog plans often have the copyright stamp in red. If there is a copyright stamp, the original or red copies will need to be submitted to our office. Be extremely cautious that revisions to these plans do not violate the copyright. We suggest you contact the designer to confirm you’re not violating the copyright.

When are engineered plans or plans prepared by an architect required?

  • See the Oregon Architects Law, ORS 671.030
  • If the structure exceeds 4000 sf, an Oregon registered architect or engineer is required to prepare and stamp the plans. NOT applicable to a single family dwelling or its accessory building.
  • If the project is a structural alteration or addition to a building, with the total building area exceeding 4,000 sf, engineered plans will be required. NOTE: Even if the addition is very small, engineering is required if the TOTAL building area exceeds 4,000 sf. Not applicable to a single family dwelling or its accessory building.
  • If an existing building exceeds 4,000 sf or 20’ in height and there is a change of occupancy, an Oregon registered architect or engineer is required. Not applicable to a single family dwelling or its accessory building.
  • Any building that does not comply with the prescriptive path requirements of the building code may require engineering to document structural adequacy. For instance, the following would require engineering: NOTE: These are only examples – other instances often require engineering also.
  • A steel frame building and its foundation system. NOTE: The foundation system is typically separate from the steel building engineering, but must also be engineered.
  • A pole building, depending on its location, size and height (typically if over 12’ high, engineering will likely be required).
  • Buildings that have excessive beam spans, insufficient lateral bracing etc.
  • Retaining walls in excess of 4’ in height.
  • Foundations with more than 4’ of unbalanced fill that is not laterally supported at the top. Foundations exceeding the prescriptive path requirements of the codes.
  • Any marquee, awning or similar extension over a public sidewalk or right-of-way.

When are fees paid?

Plan review fees need to be paid when the project is submitted for review.  The permit fees can either be paid at that time or later after the plans are approved.

What happens after the plans are approved?

If the permit fees were paid with the original plan submittal, the permit will be issued and mailed to you.  At that point, you may begin work.  If the permit fees were not paid, we will contact you to pay the additional fees before the permit is issued.

What inspections are required and how do I get them?

Call 541-298-4461 for inspections.

  • Foundation: Prior to pouring the footing and/or foundation.
  • Concrete Slab/Underfloor: Prior to pouring any thickened concrete slab intended for structural support, including all plumbing, electrical and mechanical under the slab. Prior to installing floor sheathing, including the subfloor.
  • Plumbing, mechanical, gas & electrical systems: Rough inspection prior to covering or concealment, before fixtures or appliances are set or installed, and prior to framing inspection. NOTE: Gas & mechanical may be simultaneous with framing.
  • Floodplain: For construction within floodplain area, upon placement of the lowest floor, including basement, and prior to further vertical construction, submit documentation, prepared and sealed by a registered design professional, of the elevation of the lowest floor, including basement.
  • Framing: After all framing and masonry is complete and rough electrical, plumbing and heating equipment are in place, inspected and approved.
  • Other inspections as required to verify code compliance.
  • Insulation: After all insulation and required vapor barriers are in place, before interior wall covering is applied.
  • Sheetrock: Fire restive construction between dwelling units or due to location on property after wall covering is in place and before gypsum board joints and fasteners are taped and finished.
  • Final: After finish grading and the building is completed and Prior to occupancy.