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The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Commercial New Construction and Additions

This page contains information for new commercial structure or multi-family residential projects with three or more units or a commercial alteration project which includes additional exterior work, structural changes or increase in the building footprint.

Getting Started

A building permit is required for any new commercial structure or multi-family residential project with three or more units or a commercial alteration project which includes additional exterior work, structural changes or increase in the building footprint.

If your project includes work that would change the occupancy or use of an existing building, visit Building staff and Planning and Zoning staff at the Development Services Center before you prepare your materials and plans.

Codes in effect in Portland include City Codes, such as Titles 24 and 33, as well as State building codes. See our Codes page for more information.   

Find out how to research your property and where to locate the information in preparation for your permit application.

Determine what your fees will be.

Determine what the system development charges will be for your project.

Early Assistance:
The bureau offers several options for early assistance for commercial customers.

Applying For My Permit

The following information must be submitted when applying for this permit type. Since every project is unique, there may be some situations where you will be asked to provide additional information.

To submit for a permit, bring these forms, and four (4) copies of the required plans, additional materials and intake fees to the Development Services Center.
The General Contractor must be identified prior to the building permit issuance. 

Depending on the scope of work, your project will most likely require separate electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits. These permits must be obtained by the sub-contractors prior to performing the work. Sub-contractors you hire must be registered with the State of Oregon and carry a current CCB license.


Code Summary
Applications must show how they comply with the building code. A code summary is critical to convey design assumptions made for the building. Please see the Building Code Summary Worksheet

Change of Occupancy
Projects that change the occupancy of the existing space can be very complex. Please see both our Brochure on Change of Occupancy and additional information on this type of project.

Life Safety Summary
For very complex projects, a life-safety summary may be needed. This is similar to a code summary, but has more detail about sprinkler, fire alarms, detection systems and other construction information about the building. Please see the handout for Fire and Life Safety Summaries (FLSS) for more information.

Shell Permits
If your project contains space that will not be built out and ready for occupancy at the time the permit is finaled, a separate Tenant Improvement permit will be necessary in order to obtain first occupancy of the space. Since changes between the first Shell permit and the subsequent TI permit are common, a signed Shell Permit Acknowledgement Statement is required.

Seismic Strengthening Requirements
Portland City Code, Title 24.85 contains criteria that may trigger requirements for additional seismic strengthening when the work involves an existing building.

Plan Review Process

After you pay intake fees, your project will be "under review". The plans will be taken in for further review. You will be sent a checksheet requesting any clarifications or corrections. For additional information on the review process, see the permitting process overview flowchart

The bureaus/review groups that commonly check this type of project are:

  • Planning and Zoning review
  • Life safety review
  • Structural review
  • Addressing
  • Site Development review
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Bureau of Fire and Rescue
  • Bureau of Environmental Services review
  • Portland Bureau of Transportation review
  • Bureau of Parks and Recreation review
  • Urban Forestry review
  • Water Bureau review

A checksheet is sent to the applicant when a reviewer needs additional information or a correction has to be made to the plans. When you have gathered the additional information or made the corrections, bring the plans/information to the Development Services Center. Reviewers will be notified that a checksheet response has been received, and review will continue.

More information on checksheets.

Status Reports
Status reports are available after your project has been assigned to reviewers. Status reports show all reviews and include the reviewer’s name and phone number. To obtain a status report, call (503) 823-7000 and select option four (4) to have a status report faxed to you or call (503) 823-7357 to have one mailed to you.

Permit Issued
When the last technical review is approved, your permit will be pre-issued. You will be contacted when your permit is ready, and of your final fee total. Fees may be paid by cash, check, Visa or Mastercard.

If your permit is ready for issuance, you may pick up your permit at Permitting Services, located on the 2nd floor of 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR.  For more information call (503) 823-7357. Hours of operation are shown on our Homepage.


The yellow inspection card lists all the inspections you will likely need during your construction project, and what work needs to be done first.

Once your building permit is issued, erosion control measures must be installed, inspected and approved, prior to beginning any further ground disturbing activities.

Applications & Handouts