Or. Admin. R. 918-098-4002 - Flexibility after COVID-19 and the 2020 Wildfires, and in Anticipation of Future Emergencies

(1) Purpose. The purpose of this rule is to provide greater flexibility to building departments to meet demand and provide services without compromising safety throughout the impacts of COVID-19 and the 2020 wildfires in the State of Oregon, and in anticipation of future emergencies.
(2) When the Governor declares a State of Emergency, the director may issue an order that the emergency may cause a workforce shortage among inspectors or plans examiners, and under such an order, notwithstanding OAR 918-098-1015, 918-281-0020, and 918-695-0400, a person with an Oregon Inspector Certification and a code certification issued by the Building Codes Division may perform inspections and review plans beyond the scope of work for their code certification if both of the following conditions are met:
(a) The relevant building official determines the person has the skills necessary to perform the specific inspection or plan review without compromising safety; and
(b) The relevant building official authorizes the person, in writing, to perform the inspection or plan review.
(3) If a municipality adopts an ordinance that allows for unpaid leave, or broadened unpaid leave, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, notwithstanding OAR 918-098-1475(1):
(a) A person with an Oregon Inspector Certification and an Oregon Code Certification may get paid to perform or manage work regulated by the state building code for a company engaged in construction or property development in Oregon when employed as an inspector, plans examiner, or building official by a municipality under ORS 455.457, if the following is met at the time the work is performed or managed:
(A) The person is on unpaid leave from their employment as an inspector, plans examiner, or building official, and the unpaid leave relates to the passage of the municipality's ordinance referenced in this section;
(B) The period of time for the unpaid leave in paragraph (A) of this subsection is expected to last not less than 30 consecutive days;
(C) The person does not engage in any conflicts of interest;
(D) The person submits written notice to the jurisdiction where they are taking their unpaid leave to inform them of their intent to engage in outside work and details the nature of that outside work;
(E) The jurisdiction where the person is taking unpaid leave consents in writing to the outside work;
(F) The jurisdiction where the person is taking unpaid leave agrees in writing that this work is not expected to create a conflict of interest; and
(G) As applicable, the person holds the appropriate licensure to perform or manage the outside work.
(b) For the purposes of subsection (a) of this section, "unpaid leave" means the person is not receiving wages or a salary. A person may still receive benefits, such as healthcare benefits, while on "unpaid leave."
(4) Consistent with ORS 455.020 and the discretion granted to building officials, nothing in OAR Chapter 918 should be construed to limit the ability of building officials to employ flexible and creative solutions in service delivery, which may include but is not limited to:
(a) The use of virtual inspections, including videos, pictures, and the use of drones;
(b) The use of electronic signatures;
(c) The granting of written requests to reconnect an electrical installation pursuant to ORS 479.570 and OAR 918-311-0070;
(d) Waiving a code requirement, modifying a code requirement, or accepting an alternate method, so long as it would not create an unsafe or dangerous condition regarding fire and life safety;
(e) Entering into agreements with other jurisdictions to provide plan reviews or inspections;
(f) Waiving all or part of plan review fees and inspection fees; and
(g) Accepting the use of master plans.
(5) Section (2) of this rule is retroactive to December 29, 2020.


Or. Admin. R. 918-098-4002
BCD 25-2020, adopt filed 12/30/2020, effective 1/1/2021; BCD 12-2021, amend filed 11/18/2021, effective 1/1/2022

Statutory/Other Authority: ORS 446.250, ORS 455.020, ORS 455.030, ORS 455.055, ORS 455.465 & ORS 455.720

Statutes/Other Implemented: ORS 446.250, ORS 455.055 & ORS 455.720

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