Four Key Changes to Chicago Building Permits in 2016

Four Key Changes To Chicago Building Permits In 2016

by CARSON KYHL, principal, Burnham Nationwide | Jan 17, 2016

The building permit process in Chicago is constantly evolving, making it hard to keep track of new changes that may affect your project. Here are four of the most important things you need to know about building permits in Chicago in 2016.

1. 2016 Permit Updates

The Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) has issued two important updates to the building permit process for 2016:

  1. As of January 1, 2016, there is a new payment process for Standard Plan Review permits. Building permit applicants will now pay a $300 payment deposit and the review process can start immediately. The remaining portion of the building permit fee will now be collected once the permit is issued. Learn more on the City of Chicago website.
  2. As of January 1, 2016, the geo-technical/OUC reviews of deep foundation permits will be conducted in-house by the City of Chicago. Vendors will no longer include the geo-technical review in their bidding for developer services or peer reviews. Learn more on the City of Chicago website.

2. 2016 Permit Fee Increases

The Chicago DOB also recently released information on their 2016 building permit fee increases. The largest increase in fees will affect new construction projects. The “Cost of Review Factor” is increasing by about 66%. The increases will vary depending on the Occupancy Classification and Construction Type. Alterations and remodeling projects will increase, as well.

In total, the building permit fee increases are expected to bring in an additional $13 million to the City of Chicago. If you’re wondering how much your permits will run you in 2016, check out this permit fee estimate calculator from the city.

3. The International Building Code

While Chicago has not adopted the International Building Code (IBC) yet, there is a growing push for the city to begin incorporating some form of the IBC. Published by the International Code Council (ICC), the IBC sets design criteria for building life safety, construction types, accessibility and special construction. With the amount of construction growth that we’re seeing in Chicago, it is important to have a standard set of building codes that fit the city’s needs and requirements.

In November 2015, Christopher Chwedyk represented Burnham Nationwide as one of the panelists for the seminar “The Merits of Moving Chicago to the International Building Code,” presented by AIA Chicago, BOMA/Chicago and the International Code Council. At Burnham, we’re looking forward to continuing the conversation on the International Building Code in 2016.

4. Chicago’s Building Permit Process

If you’re new to building construction in Chicago, or to the permitting process in general, now is a great time to get familiar with how the building permit process works here. Every city, state and municipality has its own unique -- and sometimes confusing! -- permit process, and Chicago is no different.

Here is a quick review of the current permit process:

  1. Submit architectural drawings to the permit office or via the city’s e-plan software;
  2. Fill out your permit application;
  3. Submit all other plans including the plat of survey, site plans and construction plans;
  4. Wait for the applications and plans to be reviewed by the city;
  5. Receive your approved permits from the city and begin construction.

Based in Chicago, the author is principal and founder of Burnham Nationwide, a national permitting consultant and facilitator that aims to simplify the regulatory and compliance process in the building industry. This article first appeared on the company's blog, Final Review™ .

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