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Drawings and Permits: When and What is Required

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

The time has come for you to move forward on that project you've been planning, and you are at the point of deciding if you need construction drawings or not. Many people are uneasy about calling your local building department or contractor with these questions, afraid they may be overloaded with unnecessary restrictions or costs. It helps to know what requires a permit by law, and what is required on drawings as well.

According to Oregon Revised Statutes, any time someone plans to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove or convert a building they will need to submit a set of drawings and specifications for the work proposed. Yet, many things do not require a permit, and therefor, you may not need to submit drawings for review.

Some common projects that are Exceptions from permitting include, but are not limited to :

  • Non-habitable one-story detached accessory structures (sheds, playhouses) less than 200 square feet in area and less than 10 feet from the finished floor to the roof

  • Fences not over 6 ft high.

  • Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height

  • Concrete sidewalks, slabs, and driveways.

  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, interior wall, floor or ceiling covering and similar finish work.

  • Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.

  • Swings and other playground equipment.

  • Patio and porch covers not over 200 square feet and supported by an exterior building wall.

  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches and do not require additional support.

  • Nonbearing partitions, except when such partitions create habitable rooms.

  • Masonry repair

  • Porches and decks, where the floor or deck is not more than 30 inches above grade

  • Gutters and downspouts.

  • Door and window replacements (where no structural member is changed.)

  • Re-roofing, where replacement or repair of roofing does not exceed 30 percent of the required live load design capacity and the roof is not required to be fire resistant.

  • Plastic glazed storm windows

  • Framed-covered nonhabitable accessory buildings not more than 500 square feet in area, one story in height.

  • Plumbing: The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe.

To see more detailed information and find more links on the subject check out

Oregon Building Officials - When Should You Get a Building Permit

Once you know if you need permits, and need drawings, you can start to put the information together. Drawings will obviously be required to show different things, depending on what the improvement is. Whatever the discipline may be, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, etc. The drawings will need to show that the design meets the relevant code requirements for those projects. In addition to the design and code compliance, the drawings must contain the following:

  • The project name and location;

  • The name, address and telephone number of the person responsible for the preparation of the documents;

  • The name, address and telephone number of the owner; and

  • The date the documents were issued.

They must be drawn to scale with sufficient clarity to indicate the nature and extent of the work proposed and show that the work proposed conforms with the local, state, and other code requirements.

The drawings and specifications must be stamped by a registered architect or registered professional engineer if their services were required.

These requirements don’t apply to the issuance of permits if the preparation of the drawings and specifications for the construction, alteration, improvement or repair of a building or structure is exempt from the provisions of this section, except that the person preparing the drawings and specifications for others shall be so identified. See the Blog Article

Feel free to contact the Studio with any questions.

Links to More Information on Relevant

Oregon Administrative Rules and Oregon Revised Statutes

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