No doubt you’ve heard horror stories about home remodels and other building projects languishing somewhere in a snarl of bureaucratic red tape, and about the recession-induced backlog that Portland’s Bureau of Development Services is scrambling to clear. You might be interested to know of a program that the city has been using for more than a decade to streamline the process of pulling building permits for home additions in Portland, Oregon.
Field Insurance Remodel Program (FIR)
Portland’s Field Issuance Remodel Program, fully in place since 2006, puts selected builders on a fast track that can result in a permit being issued on the job site during a city inspector’s first> visit speeding up the remodeling process significantly.
This program works with a select few state-licensed contractors, architects, and engineers, including Portland design build company, COOPER Design Builders, that regularly build additions and remodel homes in the city.
Benefits of the Program
Although the program doesn’t relax any code requirements or lower the standards in state law or city code, it can make the building permit process less painful by:
- Streamlining the process of submitting building plans and issuing permits.
- Designating a single city inspector to do all the plan reviews and inspections on a project.
- Managing the process of obtaining approvals from other city bureaus.
Which Projects Qualify
The FIR process applies to projects such as alterations of existing living space, conversion of non-habitable space into habitable space, creation of new living space attached to an existing dwelling, construction of a new detached accessory structure, and demolition of a detached accessory structure.
Which Ones Don’t
You can’t use the streamlined FIR approach for work such as creation of an accessory dwelling unit, or mother-in-law suite; conversion of a single-family home to a duplex; projects on floating structures, manufactured homes, or shared garages; repair of fire damage; or demolition of one- and two-family homes.
If you have a project that doesn’t qualify you or your remodeling company must get their permits through the normal residential permit process which can take much longer.
For you, the homeowner, all of this means that if you select a builder for your home addition or remodel who is a participant in the Field Issuance Remodel Program, you will get a professional who knows the ropes, and the city inspectors, and who is more likely to get your project up and running in a minimal amount of time.