Building Code FAQs

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Who is responsible for obtaining a building permit?
The property owner is responsible for obtaining the permit. The contractor may get it for the project but if he doesn’t, the property owner is ultimately responsible, not him. Make sure you consult with him before the project begins. 

Can a contractor work on a project that would require a building permit without a building permit being issued?
No, the permit must be issued beforehand in order to ensure that the project is going to comply with all Codes. This is also a good time to see if you are eligible for Enterprise Zone benefits.  

What projects require architectural plans? 
New construction of multi-family residential units, commercial and industrial buildings all require site plan review. Major rehab projects that require structural changes require building plans.

Do I need a permit to do my roof?
A building permit is required if you put on new sheathing (the plywood under the shingles). The Building Code allows only two layers of shingles. If you already have two layers, you need to re-move them and possibly resheath before you put on new shingles. Only the homeowner or a licensed contractor (registered with the State of Illinois) may work on a roof. 

What information is needed on a building permit application before a permit is issued?
The owner’s name, address, type of work being done, setbacks, cost of project, contractors, and sub-contractors all must be supplied on the permit. 

How big of a garage can I build? 
Accessory buildings may be located in a rear yard but may not occupy more than 15% of the lot area in the RE1 to R3, NR1, and NR2 districts. At no time shall an accessory structure exceed an area of 1,200 sq. ft. In the RU1 district accessory buildings shall have a maximum size of 2,500 sq. ft. on properties less than 5 acres in size, 3,600 sq. ft. on properties between 5 acres and 10 acres, and 5,000 sq. ft. in size for properties greater than 10 acres in size. 

Why should I have an electrician install my service?
A licensed electrician is your best guarantee for a safe and proper installation. Safety should always be the number one concern! Homeowners may perform many minor repairs and fixture installations in their own homes but only a licensed electrician can install new service. A licensed electrician must do all repairs to commercial buildings and residential rental properties. 

Who pays for the electrical permit? 
Only a licensed electrician may apply for the permit. The cost of the permit is likely to be included in his contract with you. Check with your electrician. 

As a small business owner, do I have to furnish handicapped accessible restrooms?
The Americans With Disability Act that was signed January 26, 1992 states that all public restrooms shall be handicap accessible.  

What are the dimensions of a handicapped restroom? 
7 feet x 5 feet. 

How many employees can I have before I have to have restrooms for both male and female? 
Unless the business is a food establishment, up to five employees can share a restroom. 

Why do I need a floor drain in my basement? 
The water heater and air conditioner are usually installed in the basement. Because they operate with water there is always the possibility of a leak. 

Why do public restrooms need a floor drain? 
The threat of vandalism has shown the necessity of floor drains.  

Do I need a permit for a fence? Can I put in on the property line? 
A permit is required for a fence. The fence may be located on the property line but it is very important that the correct property line has been established. It is a good idea to check the plat and legal description with the Assessor before installation. You may need to hire a surveyor. Either side of the fence may be placed outward. 

Is a permit required for a swimming pool? 
Yes. You should also be aware that many temporary pools and kiddie pools qualify as swimming pools requiring permits. Please consult page 17 for more information and call this office prior to purchasing one. 

What are the Inspection Office hours?
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday 

Do I need a permit if I put up a temporary banner or sign? 
A permit is required for any temporary sign, banner or other type of temporary advertising device. The permit is good for a period of no more than 30 days in any 12-month period. You need to complete a permit application and submit the application along with a $50.00 permit fee for the sign/banner on your property.  No signs are permitted on right of way or on property owned by others.