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The FIR Program: A Game-Changer for Your Next Portland Remodel

If you’ve ever remodeled part of your home, chances are the inspection process wasn’t something you looked forward to. It usually involves several inspectors, multiple reviews, and countless meetings and sign-offs. All of that can extend the time of your remodel project and incur unforeseen delays. Enter the FIR program.

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Get ready for some good news. If you live in the Portland area, your contractor now may be able to obtain your project permit nearly instantly through the FIR program.

What is the Fir Program?

FIR stands for the Field Issuance Remodel program. It covers most residential remodels within the Portland city limits. These include custom home renovations, kitchen or bath remodels, basements, and more. Contractors who belong to the program can get permits and inspections approved in a fraction of the time that it used to take. That means your project can start, and end, more quickly.

The Benefits of Working With a FIR-Certified Contractor

Partnering with a contractor registered with the FIR program provides your project with three key advantages: Speed, Ease, and Expertise.

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Speed

With the FIR program, your contractor meets with a single inspector on-site to review plans, go over solutions, and discuss any potential code challenges. This single point of contact eliminates back-and-forth discussions with multiple inspectors at various meeting sites, resulting in much quicker permit approvals. What used to take months now may take just a few days.

Ease

Since your contractor is working with the same inspector on your project from conception to completion, the ongoing sign-offs are much more seamless. That inspector is already familiar with the building plans, so he or she knows exactly what to expect when reviewing the work. For you the homeowner, that means fewer (or no) inspection surprises and ultimately a quicker project completion.

Expertise

The inspectors that are part of the FIR program are typically seasoned professionals who are deeply familiar with the permitting process and all types of homes. This includes older homes, of which there are many in Portland. When you work with a FIR-certified contractor, you can rest easy knowing that the inspector on your project will understand what to look for in order to ensure your remodel is safe and in line with your remodel goals.

The Types of Remodels Covered Under the Fir Program

Nearly any residential renovation will fall under the FIR program. Remodels to kitchens, bathrooms, entire homes, and basements are all covered. Heck, if you want to lift your house and put a basement underneath, the FIR program will apply to that, too. Officially, applicable projects include:

bathroom remodel
  • The alteration of an existing habitable space
  • The conversion of an existing non-habitable space into habitable space
  • The creation of a new habitable or non-habitable space attached to an existing structure
  • The erection of a new detached accessory structure. A few examples include: sheds, gazebos, and covered outdoor kitchens. Importantly, these are non-dwelling structures.

Projects That Aren’t Covered

The big type of structure that does not apply to FIR are accessory dwelling units (ADUs). An ADU is a smaller, independent residential living unit located on the same lot or premises as a stand-alone single-family home. So whether it’s in your house, set apart from your home, or in your basement, the FIR program will not apply to these ADUs. Other projects that aren’t covered by FIR include:

  • Demolition of one- or two- family-dwelling or detached-accessory structures
  • Floating structures
  • Manufactured dwellings
  • Fire damage repair
  • Shared garages

How to Ensure Your Contractor is Fir-Certified

To find registered FIR contractors, simply check out the list of approved contractors on the City of Portland website.

As a FIR-registered contractor, Lamont Bros. can help get your next home remodeling project done quickly and reliably. If you have questions about the FIR program or an upcoming remodel to your home, schedule a call with us!

Video: Learn more about Portland’s Fir Program