Code Variances and Equivalencies


Designs involving innovative materials and structures are not always specifically addressed in current building codes. It is critical to have a code expert’s representation to demonstrate to code officials that alternative materials, techniques, or systems align with the code’s intent. Burnham’s team is continuously engaged in the complex process of preparing applications for code equivalencies and exceptions.

Our work preparing applications for alternative materials, methods, and structures includes drafting the application, researching supporting materials and data, and presenting to municipal code authorities. For example, Burnham’s architects regularly appear before the Chicago Committee on Standards and Tests to obtain approval for design elements that are equal to or better than those covered by Chicago’s Building Code. We also monitor developments and municipal code memoranda for approval process changes for different materials and techniques.

Our building code compliance experts provide effective and efficient design solutions to address challenging code issues. We mediate between the design team and code officials to negotiate a solution that satisfies the municipality and still meets the design intent.