The Final Review

Burnham’s Blog

The Final Review shares the knowledge of Burnham’s experts in building permit expediting and code compliance. Learn about different jurisdictional building permit requirements, and stay up-to-date on the Americans with Disabilities Act and local accessibility standards. Follow the latest in sustainability, including building energy codes and sustainability design developments.

What’s Wrong with This Picture? ADA Chapter 6 - Plumbing Series

May 14, 2019 10:00:00 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has very specific requirements to make restrooms accessible. A variety of factors must be incorporated into the design and construction of toilet rooms so that they are compliant with the ADA. During our accessibility compliance reviews and site inspections, we see some common violations of these standards.


Building Safety Month Week Three: Clean Water for All

May 13, 2019 10:15:00 AM

This week our focus is on securing clean water for all communities.


Building Safety Month Week Two: Training & Education

May 7, 2019 9:15:00 AM

This week we focus on training and safety development as it’s key to creating and maintaining a successfully built environment.


Chicago Self Cert Updates

May 3, 2019 12:03:55 PM

We wanted to keep the self cert architects updated on a couple items of interest.

1. Self-Certification Training Classes will be held the week of December 2nd. Click here for the enrollment application.

2. Self-Certification projects that require Dept. of Buildings pre-approval should be emailed to: in lieu of the previous method of contacting Hal Hutchinson for this approval.

Please let us know if you need any assistance with the application or navigating any of the changes at the Dept. of Buildings. Burnham is here to help! 


Building Safety: Preparing for Disasters

May 2, 2019 9:15:00 AM

This week for Building Safety Month, we will focus on informing communities how to prepare for natural disasters.


Building Safety Month 2019

May 1, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Who Needs Building Codes?


How to Navigate San Francisco's Historic Resource Assessment (HRA)

Apr 29, 2019 10:00:00 AM

The City of San Francisco is filled with beautiful, historic architecture and they conserve the buildings by categorizing them. In theory, this is a great resolution to organize and preserve buildings, but in reality it causes confusion and gray areas. In January 2019, the City of San Francisco presented the Historic Resource Assessment Program (HRA), a pilot program to provide some clarity for building owners.


Chicago Building Code Modernization; What's Next?

Apr 19, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Phase 2 of the Chicago Building Code (CBC) was approved on April 10, 2019 and the question on everyone’s mind is - what’s next?


Burnham Nationwide Helps Bring More Lou's Deep Dish to the City

Apr 15, 2019 3:45:00 PM

Lou Malnati’s is a Chicagoland staple with 53 locations in the area and come Fall 2019 we’ll see one more located on the north side of the Wrigley Building Complex. The new location will seat 240 people in the dining area and smaller private dining room, with additional space designated  for catering, pick-up and delivery orders.


How to Pop-Up in Chicago

Apr 9, 2019 9:15:00 AM

From make-up companies like Glossier to rapper/fashion designer Kanye West, or local favorites; pop-up shops promote by posting teasers on social media platforms and fulfilling through unique experiences; leaving customers wanting more.


We're Back: Administrative Hearings

Mar 26, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Let the experts that City employee’s know by name represent and resolve your violations.


20 Years in the Making: City of Chicago Building Code Modernization

Mar 20, 2019 9:10:00 AM

Last week, the City of Chicago’s Department of Building introduced an ordinance to modernize the current construction code. What some may not know is that this modernization is over 20 years in the making.


City of Chicago Building Code Change

Mar 14, 2019 7:00:00 AM

An ordinance has been introduced in the City of Chicago to adopt the Standardized International Building Code Terminology. This will be the first comprehensive change in the City of Chicago Code in almost 70 years. In 2017, Chicago took initiative by becoming one of the first major cities to align with the National Electrical Code. That code allowed for safety improvements, green initiatives and lowered costs on electrical bills.This monumental change will streamline a more efficient permit process, minimize language confusion between construction professionals, lower new construction costs and more.


Why Chicago? 2018 BOMA/Chicago Economic Impact Series Explores City’s Appeal

Feb 15, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Previously, we covered the 2017 BOMA/Chicago Economic Trends Report that highlighted Chicago’s changing Central Business District (CBD) occupancy trends and tech growth, especially in rapidly-changing areas like the South and West Loop. Though the study found that the City of Chicago is home to a growing technology sector, Chicago’s economy remains highly diverse, and downtown office space occupancy rates continue to increase. 


ADA Exit Door Signage: What's Wrong with this Picture?

Feb 12, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Cushing and Burnham Nationwide Partner to Answer Your ADA Signage Questions

For 90 years, Cushing has been a Chicago printer with an international reach, first opening as a blueprint shop in 1929. In the decades following, the business grew to include film conversion, on-site printing (the first manned center in Chicago), color services, CAD plotting, and now a full suite of printing services.

Cushing retains its close ties to the architecture and construction community in the present day by offering wall graphics, construction fence wraps, and building signage. In recent years, they have added wayfinding and directional signage to their offerings.

Burnham’s Code Team often consults on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant signage, including exit and wayfaring signage, and we frequently see violations during our code compliance reviews. We’re excited to partner with Cushing, to address some of the most common signage mistakes in this post as well as in upcoming presentations and collaborations.

In the coming weeks, we’ll delve into frequently asked questions customers and prospects ask of both our companies. Additional blog topics will include egress communications and informational versus directional signage.


Lincoln Yards Project First to Utilize North Branch Industrial Corridor Framework

Feb 12, 2019 8:00:00 AM

The Chicago Plan Commission approved the North Branch Industrial Corridor Framework Plan and Design Guidelines (the Framework) in May 2017. The plan will radically transform the large industrial area along the Chicago River between Kinzie Street and Fullerton Avenue, creating opportunities for investment and redevelopment. If fully realized, Chicago’s North Branch Industrial Corridor Framework Plan could dramatically impact the City’s economy in addition to reshaping Chicago’s built environment in industrial areas throughout the city.

In December 2018, the City of Chicago released updates to the North Branch Framework Plan, including plans for the Cortland and Chicago River Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Project Area (the Project Area) on the city's Near North Side. The proposed district encompasses the "Lincoln Yards" planned development, the first to utilize the Framework.


Who Needs a Chicago Business License?

Jan 31, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Large or small, if you're operating a business in Chicago, you'll most often need to acquire a City of Chicago business license. The City offers numerous resources for those applying for business licensing through their Small Business Center (SBC) in the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), where individuals may apply for new licenses, renew an existing license, or meet in-person with a Business Consultant during the application process. 


Changes to Sidewalk Cafe Permits in the City of Chicago

Jan 15, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Sidewalk cafes are common fixtures on city streets throughout warmer months, and last year, the City of Chicago passed an amendment to the municipal code governing sidewalk cafe permits in the city. The amendment extends the expiration date of permits issued in 2018, allowing restaurants to operate a cafe year round, and also reduces fee amounts for limited business licenses in the city. 

These licenses grant restaurateurs the ability to expand seating temporarily into the sidewalk for a set amount of time, and require both City and aldermanic approvals before business may set up outdoor seating locations. 


What’s Changing Under Denver’s Revised Green Roof Ordinance?

Dec 13, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Last November, the Denver City Council enacted the Denver Green Roofs Initiative (the Initiative) after voter approval. The ordinance mandates “green roofs” for all large new construction projects and designates rules for retrofitting qualifying existing buildings at time of roof replacement with new environmentally-friendly roofs.

Green roofs, according to the first version of the ordinance, consist of either rooftop green space or solar panels on a percentage of the roof space. At time of passing,  the Initiative was the most stringent green roof requirement in the United States and surpassed San Francisco’s “Better Roofs” mandate. It is one of the few mandates nationwide that require developers to install green roofs rather than offering incentives that encourage environmentally-responsible design. Advocates cited the benefits of green roofs - including a reduction in the urban heat island effect, lower heating and cooling costs - as key to a healthier, sustainable city.


City of Chicago Implements New Illinois Accessibility Code

Dec 4, 2018 9:30:00 AM

In October, the State of Illinois Capital Development Board accepted changes to the existing Illinois Accessibility Code (IAC), creating new state accessibility requirements.

The IAC is a set of regulations that implement the Illinois Environmental Barriers Act (EBA), the State of Illinois statute that pertains to accessibility for people with disabilities. Applicable entities in Illinois must comply with both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Environmental Barriers Act, alongside any additional code requirements enforced locally, including those in the City of Chicago.