When Permits are NOT Required for Home Construction

The following is a list of items that do not require a permit. (Please note, even though a permit is not required, the project must still comply with all the applicable construction and zoning codes. Always check with the Planning Division for additional setback and height restrictions.) Even though a permit may not be required, Oregon laws require contractors that are hired to perform varying kinds of work to be properly licensed to perform the work. Homeowners that are the primary residence of the property do not need to be licensed if they choose to perform work.

Permits are not required for the following when related to single-family homes that do not encroach over a subsurface drain system, public utility easement, or into required setbacks from property lines.


  • Nonhabitable one-story detached accessory structures (storage structures, playhouses, etc.) provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet and a wall height of 10 feet measured from the finished floor level to the top of the top plate;
  • Fences not over seven feet high (not over eight feet for open chain link or woven wire fences), unless required for barriers around swimming pools (a swimming pool barrier is required for any swimming pool, hot tub, spa, or similar structure intended for swimming, recreational bathing, or immersion that contains water over 24 inches in depth);
  • Retaining walls that do not support a regulated building and do not retain material which, if not restrained, could impact a regulated building (i.e., if the retaining wall fell over and would not damage or contact an adjacent building or structure that required building permits to construct), and retaining walls that do not support a load from a building (commonly referred to as a surcharge);
  • Water tanks supported directly upon the ground if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons, and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1;
  • Private concrete sidewalks, slabs, and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade and not over any basement or story below;
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, interior wall, floor or ceiling covering, and similar finish work;
  • Prefabricated swimming pools where the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade. Barrier requirements are not exempt;
  • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to a one- or two-family dwelling;
  • Patio and porch covers not over 200 square feet and supported by an exterior wall;
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support;
  • Nonbearing partitions (walls) except when such partitions create habitable rooms (habitable rooms are those used for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking);
  • Replacement or repair of siding not required to be fire resistant;
  • Retrofitted insulation;
  • Masonry repair;
  • Porches and decks where the floor or deck is not more than 30 inches above the adjacent grade at any point and where in the case of a covered porch, the covered portion of the porch does not come closer than three feet to property lines;
  • Gutters and downspouts;
  • Door and window replacements (where no structural member is changed);
  • Reroofing except in wildfire hazard zones or where replacement or repair of roofing does not exceed 30 percent of the required live load design capacity and is not required to be fire resistant;
  • Plastic glazed storm windows; and
  • Framed-covered non-habitable accessory buildings not more than 500 square feet in area, one story in height, and not closer than three feet to the property line, where the structure is composed of a rigid framework that supports a fabric membrane.


Repairs and maintenance: A permit shall not be required for minor repair work including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.

Mechanical (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning)

  • Portable heating appliances, cooking or clothes drying appliances;
  • Portable ventilation appliances;
  • Portable cooling units;
  • Steam, hot, or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by the code;
  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe;
  • Portable evaporative coolers;
  • Self-contained refrigeration systems containing ten pounds or less of refrigerant or that are actuated by motors of one horsepower or less;
  • Portable-fuel-cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid;and
  • Other portable appliances, such as freezers, washing machines, refrigerators, portable barbecue grills, etc.


The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste, or vent pipe provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new materials, such work shall be considered as new work, and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in the code.

The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves, or fixtures, and the removal and reinstallation of water closets (toilets) provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes, or fixtures.


Application or notice to the Building Official is not required for ordinary repairs to structures, replacement of lamps, or the connections of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles. Such repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition, or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent, or similar piping, electric wiring, or mechanical, or other work affecting public health or general safety.