Building FAQs

Q. What are permits and why do I need one?
A. Building permits are the way Baker City/Baker County regulates construction. Baker City/Baker County operates under the current adopted International Building Codes with Oregon amendments. The safety of the occupants in the building is the primary reason for having construction codes.

Q. Which building codes are administered for this jurisdiction?
A. The 2010 Oregon Structural Specialty code. The 2011 Oregon Residential Specialty Code. The 2010 Oregon Mechanical Specialty Code. The 2011 Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code. The 2010 Oregon Manufactured Home Specialty Code. The 2010 Oregon Fire Code. The 2011 NEC Oregon Electrical Specialty Code. The 2010 Oregon Energy Efficiency Code.

Q. How large can I build an accessory structure (tool shed, play house, storage sheds, etc)?
A. 200 square feet and a height of 10 feet measured from the finished floor level, to the average height of the roof surface.

Q. Do I need a permit to build a deck?
A. If the deck is greater than 30" from grade, a permit is required.

Q. How large can I build a tool shed or playhouse without needing a building permit?
A. 200 square feet and 10 feet to the average height of roof, measured from the finished floor level.

Q. Do I need a permit to replace windows in my home?
A. Only if the new window is wider than the existing window, creating structural changes.

Q. What are the design criteria for buildings in Baker City?
A. 25# snow load, 85 MPH wind speed (3 second gust), 24" frost depth, seismic zone (c), Baker County snow zone varies – call for information. Exposure B or C – call for information.

Q. I think I am ready for a framing inspection, how can I know when it is time to schedule an inspection?
A. Call the Building Department inspection line 541-524-2054. Call after the Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical inspections are complete. (Mechanical and Plumbing my be requested along with the framing inspection)

Q. Can you recommend a contractor for my building project?
A. No. The building department cannot make such recommendations. Ask the builder for references and ask to see samples of previous work.

Q. How much space is allowed between the individual railings in a guard rail?
A. Intermediate railings and ornamental railing must not allow a sphere 4" in diameter to pass through. Note: 5" space allowed along stairway guardrails.

Q. What is the minimum size for a bedroom escape (egress) window?
A. 5.7 square feet (except that grade floor windows may be 5 square feet). Also the minimum width is 20" and the minimum height is 24". Maximum sill height above floor is 44".

Q. What are the requirements for the treads and risers on stairs in a single family residence?
A. Minimum tread depth of 10" and a maximum riser height of 8". All risers to be equal in height within any flight of stairs. Treads to be equal in depth within any flight of stairs. A 3/8" tolerance is allowed between the greatest and the smallest riser or tread.

Design Criteria
 Snow Loads:
• 25 psf snow – Baker City
• 70 psf snow – Sumpter
• 60 psf snow – Halfway
• 25 psf snow – Richland
• 200 psf snow – Cornucopia
• Other areas – please call the Building Department. 
 Other Criteria:
• Wind load – 85 MPH (3 second gust)
• Frost Depth – 24"
• Exposure – SITE SPECIFIC (Refer to the 2014 Oregon Residential Specialty Code
• R301.2.1.4 Exposure Category)
• Seismic – C
• Climate - 2