I happened to be downtown the other day, and my errands took me past what felt like my second home for many years: The City of Portland Bureau of Development Services Permit Center on SW 4th Ave.
This was typically my first (and second, and sometimes even third) stop before any of our remodeling projects could get off the ground. There were times when I spent almost the entire day at the Permit Center but still didn’t walk away with a permit, simply because the demand was greater than the supply.
Then something magical happened.
Permit Center –>> FIR
I became part of the FIR (Field Issuance Remodel) program, and I haven’t had to set foot in the Permit Center since.
The FIR program links qualified contractors with a dedicated inspector for all of their jobs from start to finish. My FIR inspector will come and do a Pre-Construction meeting before the project begins, I email them some paperwork, and then we can get started. It’s that easy!
In addition to saving me many, many hours down at the Permit Center, the real value of the program is consistency. Anyone that has had to deal with any jurisdiction and their inspection process will know that different inspectors might have different interpretations of the codes. At its best, this is annoying, but at its worst, this can stop a job in its tracks. Having peace of mind knowing that whatever my inspector told me during the Pre-Construction inspection will hold true throughout the project is invaluable.