The Design Process
All right. Getting back to it. We'll see if the first recording actually works. Probably not. All right. So I
talked about the design process and how to formulate the idea, make sure it's mostly economical and
make sure it makes sense to make sure you're adding value. And you guys generally as real estate
agents, this is a good exercise for you to do yourself if you can, just because you're going to know more
information. Talks about the designer, talks about the architect. I think that I was talking about how
architects are usually kind of like one or two-man shops. Like they're pretty low, pretty few amount of
people and those are the type of people that are going to do houses and additions and then you can get
the commercial architect and that might need just my label for him. And that's like a firm, where you're
going to have five 10 1,500 architects and they all kind of have their little specialty and they all work on
some project together.
Typically, when you have a commercial architect, sometimes they have some of these other trades in
house. So, when we're doing this new house like I've got to have a different structural engineer. I got to
have a different MEP as mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and then civil engineer that does the outside.
The geo-tech goes in and does some testing and then says that whatever the civil engineer can and
cannot do. And then there's a bunch of other architects too. There's environmental, there are just a
plethora of trades and it just depends on what you're trying to do.
But typically when you design a new building, these other trades that I've listed are pretty typical. So if
your project is large enough, you may have to go into getting some of these other things. And with each
of these people just come added extra costs. Like in the new house that we're doing, we have to put in a
temporary shoring. So I have to have a shoring designer, engineer the shoring and then I have to have a
shoring contractor come and put it in. So, these are the types of things that are unknown, and if you can
find them out sooner, the better off that you are going to be.
So working on the Permitting Process, Zoning. When you first go into the permit center, the first people
that are going to look at it is like planning and zoning. And what they're looking at is they're looking at
like the site, the site plan, making sure that what you're using it for is actually its use. If it's an F2, then
you can do like manufacturing in it. If it's commercial, you can do mercantile. It's a restaurant, they want
to make sure that you have enough parking. They're looking at like those bigger ticket items. And just
making sure from like that 30,000-foot view, you've got the right information on there and it's going to
So that's like the correct zoning, egress, and ingress, the units per area. So if your site, a lot of ways
zoning works is if you have a 10,000 square foot lot you can put like... If it's like an R2 that means you
can put one unit per 2000 square feet so you can put five units on it. So, that's the type of thing that in
zoning. And I did put a note down here, sometimes you'll want to go ask if you're in a contract with
something you'll want to go talk to zoning. A lot of times some of these things can be sorted out before
you get to drawings. I would have to talk to zoning kind of be in your idea and formulation stage and if
you're like a bigger project they charge for it and it's called an early assistance meeting.
So maybe before you have like detailed drawings as a large project you can get early assistance meeting.
They usually cost like six or $700 and you have to submit all of your questions before going into the
meeting and then they will come to the meeting with those answered. And then if you have some kind
of like clarifying followup questions, they'll usually answer those. It's kind of crazy though. The early
assistance meetings that I have been to, they typically just are like, well there's not enough information
here for me to answer that question so I can't, it's super difficult. So just being detailed with drawings is
And those early assistance meetings, those are for residential and commercial, right?
Yep. If you guys are going into yourself, you can just go to the over the counter, you can get almost a
new house build over the counter. So like most of the stuff you guys are going to be doing, you just go in
there and you go talk to them and they'll look at your plans and talk to you and they'll put some notes
on the computer that you came in and this sort of stuff. So that if maybe someone else picks up the
project, they're not saying the same thing to multiple people. So that will happen once in a while. You
pick something up and like, "Oh yeah, someone's already been in here for this, here are the notes." And
they're like, "See ya." So once they've deemed your permit has all the necessary information, so from
planning and zoning, you go through all the other different boxes. You go through the fire, life safety,
you go through Portland water, you go through water and erosion control, and like all this other stuff.
And once everyone says like, yeah, it's good for intake, then they'll either approve it, they're on-site with
you. Or if someone marks it for intake, they'll be like, "Oh yeah, this can be done in intake, I've gotten
the necessary information." But what they do is they just check to make sure that there isn't something
like, it's not to scale or like just something like completely why is wildly missing. And if it is, they'd be
like, "No, I can't approve this for intake." So it gets intake, typically it's two weeks before the first set of
corrections. Sometimes it can be up to five or six weeks. And yeah. So you just go through the multiple
different reviews and there are others too. I just listed a few.
So then you received your permit, now you get to pay the rest of your building fees. So typically they'll
charge you, once they take it into the intake, they'll charge you maybe a fifth of your building fees just to
review it. And then on the outset, you pay the building fees. And then on top of that, I think, I didn't
even write this down, but you have to go and get trade permits. So your building permit is one, they
used to do a combo permits, but they've gone very far away from that just because they like seeing
different contractors on there. So you have to get your mechanical permit, you have to get your
electrical permit, you have to get your plumbing permit, you have to get your fire permit, get your
erosion control permit. There are tons of different permits and you would want to keep track of all of
those in the same spot because you have to call those in and get them filled out each by each.
Typically, they have an IVR number and I don't know that stands for, but they ask for it on the phone or
online and it's identifying number that is associated with the permit. So, when you get your permit you
want to make sure you know what inspections need to happen. Most of the time if you're doing any sort
of concrete or anything structural, they will have special inspections and special inspection is the way
the city can pawn off the risk and liability onto a third party or private company. So that means that you
have to hire someone else to come in and watch you do the work so that they can sign off and say that
you did it.
This is typically done with concrete-like they measure slump. If you have 4,000 PSI concrete, they want
to make sure that it's 4,000 PSI. So they take samples and they have a seven-day break, a 15-day break,
and a 30-day break. At 30 days it's supposed to be able to 4,000 PSI. Those companies have been in
business for a long, long time. I have never come across any concrete failing. The city inspector will
come in and check the rebar. Special inspections are done for like welding, done for structural steel, and
also anchor bolts. So if you have a seismic upgrade that you had to do, there's typically seismic anchors
that need to installed and all of those will need to be inspected.
Carlson testing does it, there's a bunch of other testing outfits that do it, but we typically use Carlson
testing. Most of that stuff can be found in the structural notes on the drawings. So that big page full of
words that nobody likes to read because it's really small fonts, it's usually in there. So yeah. Any
questions on permits?
Now you final out your permit, the two kinds of milestones that you have on in permitting is an approval
of cover. So that means that you've gotten all of... They won't even let you call in the building permit
until you've gotten approval to cover on your electrical, plumbing, mechanical. So you have to get
approved to cover, essentially if your wall is opened up, there's any electrical plumbing. All those trades
need to come in and approve to cover it before the building inspector will approve to cover it. So
approval to cover is a pretty big milestone. And then the other big milestone is the final and it's called
the final because you have a final electrical, final plumbing, final building. And then you have a final
where they come to walk through one more time. And that's about it. So once you get your final, you
are done. It shows up in Portland permitting. I will say that if you are looking at other properties that
have had permits done, you want to go back and check and make sure that they did get their final.
We ran into an issue over at 32nd and they had a garage carport. It was a big RV carport, it looks great. It
looks very structurally sound or whatever. And like we looked it up and there were permits there. We
didn't pay really close attention, the permit had never been filed out. And the reason it never been
finaled is that they built it and then permitted it. And when they permitted it they drew these big
foundations and there were notes in the city that like contractor never put in foundations. No, no, no
foundations found. So then we went digging for foundations and of course, they weren't there and then
we had to figure it. We had to go design a whole new carport and essentially building a car carport to
then build a house. So yeah. And then once you get your final six months to a year they come and say,
Oh well you improved your house, it must be worth more. We're going to tax more.
That is kind of my take on permitting and the design process. Do you guys have any questions?
Yeah. One quick question. How does retroactively permitting go, because you said something about 30
seconds, how it appeared that they did that. But how does that work? Do they make you rip up walls at
all and show them what you did or...
It is very arduous and they try to make it as such. They want to make it feel like a pain in the butt
because they want you to go through the permitting process and they want to make sure that even if
you didn't do the work, they want you to know that it's not okay to not go through permanence. We're
going to make it as hard as possible. So that is kind of the modus operandi. Ultimately the best thing
that you can do is document what's there, document what needs to be done to bring it up to code, and
just kind of be honest and put the cards out on the table and try your best to get a permit. And then
once you get the inspector out there and explain to him like, this was already here. These are the
assumptions that I had. We had them draw up this. I plan on doing this.
The inspectors typically are a lot better than approvers that approve the drawings. But sometimes I've
had awful inspectors as well. They're just having a bad day and they just want to write off a bunch of
stuff. Or their kids are at home and they want to make sure that they have a lot of work to do. I don't
know. I mean yeah.
I'm looking at a property today at 2:15 actually, that has a dormer that was done in the 80s and the
listing agent said that it does not seem like there were permits pulled because he went to the permitting
office and just couldn't find any. Do you also know how far back the permits usually go?
Permits go back to like 1910, 1908.
And then there's a gap. They call them a wartime records and so sometimes... I had to check wartime
records on time, which is like a different filing area in the office. So it's like-
There's a gap between like the thirties and the sixties.
I ran into that once. A lot of duplexes where a lot of single-family homes were turned into duplexes
during wartime so that makes sense.
Any other questions? Sweet. Let's stop the recording. Is anybody else going today?