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.

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. 

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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.

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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.

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Winter Wrap-Up: 2018 Holiday Construction Moratoriums

Nov 6, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Many municipalities limit construction or street closures during November and December to promote full access to retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses by the public. Depending on the location and type of work, your construction team may need to be prepared for schedule changes as a result of limits on construction activity, building permit approvals, or street closures during the upcoming holiday season.

Below, we’ve collected information from our main offices on 2018’s upcoming holiday moratoriums so you and your team can best prepare for any schedule changes.

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New Illinois Accessibility Code Now in Effect

Nov 2, 2018 12:20:00 PM

The new Illinois Accessibility Code (IAC) was accepted at the October 16th, 2018 Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and as of October 23rd, 2018, the changes are now in effect. The Capital Development Board (CDB) will be releasing a searchable, user-friendly version of the Code in the future, but the new rules are available for review via the State of Illinois website at this time. 

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Open House Chicago 2018: Photos from This Year's Sites

Oct 26, 2018 10:15:00 AM

On October 13th and 14th, the Chicago Architecture Center (formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation) hosted its eighth annual Open House Chicago and hundreds of notable buildings opened their doors to attendees. Part of network of worldwide events, Open House Chicago (OHC) continues to expands its offerings to include new buildings, businesses, sacred spaces, and more throughout the city of Chicago and near suburbs.

Burnham’s team members toured many of the buildings in this year’s event and we’d like to showcase some of the places we explored below, as well as some of the significant sites from Open House Chicago’s largest year yet. 

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EPA Proposed Rules:  Dust-Lead Hazard and Lead-Based Paint

Oct 16, 2018 9:00:00 AM

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) published proposed changes to the dust-lead hazard standards for floors and window sills on July 2, 2018. After many years of delay and a court order, the Agency finally proposed stricter standards that apply to most housing and child-occupied facilities constructed before 1978. However, EPA decided not to propose a change to the definition of lead-based paint despite calls for an update in light of current scientific data. Once adopted, the standards must be followed by those working on pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities.

 

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Proposed Ordinance Would Relax Chicago’s High-Rise Signage Rules

Oct 11, 2018 10:45:00 AM

Wolf Point South, the third and final phase of Chicago’s riverfront mega-development designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, is beginning its search for anchor tenants. Unlike the completed Wolf Point West and rising Wolf Point South, the south tower is the only mixed use building and is slated to include office space, hotel rooms, and residential units. The tower’s proposed height is 950 ft with 70 above-ground floors, though height and other design adjustments may be made before approval. The City of Chicago is seeking tenants for the final tower and is in talks with Salesforce over space in Wolf Point South - and as a result, has proposed a new ordinance modifying Chicago’s current high-rise signage rules.

On October 31st, 2018, the Chicago City Council passed the ordinance as substitute, with signage size governed by zoning district and height of sign from ground. The ordinance prohibits certain types of signs within the Chicago River Corridor Special Signage District, including banners, neon signs flashing signs, dynamic image display signs, roof signs, painted wall signs, off-premises signs, and projecting signs.

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2018 Illinois Energy Conservation Code Preview: Residential Buildings

Oct 9, 2018 9:00:00 AM

This is the last post in our three-part series on the upcoming adoption of the 2018 Illinois Energy Conservation Code (Illinois Energy Code) based on the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). In two prior posts, we discussed the history of the Illinois Energy Code, some of the differences between the current version of the IECC and the 2018 edition, and the changes to the IECC’s commercial building provisions. This post details some of the revisions to the IECC’s residential building provisions that are likely to impact the Illinois Energy Code.

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Historic Preservation: 2018 “Chicago Seven” Features Jackson Park,Thompson Center

Oct 5, 2018 10:50:00 AM

Earlier this year, Preservation Chicago released their 2018 most endangered buildings list known as the “Chicago Seven.” Preservation Chicago, established in 2001, has worked to save buildings threatened with demolition at a grassroots level. The organization has successfully landmarked historically significant buildings and advocated for adaptive reuse. The majority of Preservation Chicago’s campaigns focus on this preservation method, which most often consists of repurposing structures from their original use. 

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2018 Illinois Energy Conservation Code Preview: Commercial Buildings

Oct 2, 2018 9:01:00 AM

In a previous post, we discussed the upcoming adoption of the 2018 Illinois Energy Conservation Code (Illinois Energy Code) based on the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). We documented the history of the Illinois Energy Code and some of the differences between the current version of the IECC and the 2018 edition. This post discusses some of the specific changes to the IECC’s commercial building provisions that are likely to impact the Illinois Energy Code.

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Open House Chicago 2018 to Feature New Neighborhoods, Unique Spaces

Sep 27, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Now in its eighth year, Open House Chicago (OHC) 2018 will take place on October 13th and 14th and features numerous architecturally-significant buildings and behind the scenes looks at spaces rarely open to the public in almost 30 neighborhoods across the City of Chicago. The event, hosted yearly by the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) - formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation - seeks to shed light on communities and architecture in neighborhoods often overlooked. 

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Looking Ahead to the 2018 Illinois Energy Conservation Code

Sep 25, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Illinois is in the process adopting the 2018 Illinois Energy Conservation Code (Illinois Energy Code). As required by state law, Illinois must adopt amendments to the Illinois Energy Code based on the latest version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), a model code that is updated on a three-year cycle. The new version of the Illinois Energy Code will be based on the 2018 IECC. Over three posts, we will preview some of the changes we are likely to see in the 2018 Illinois Energy Code.

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Project Drawdown: Bamboo’s Quick Growth Sequesters More Carbon than Trees

Sep 20, 2018 1:00:00 PM

Bamboo is one of the world’s fastest growing and most adaptable grasses, sequestering significant amounts of carbon and thriving even on degraded land. According to Project Drawdown, the plant is ideal for afforestation - replanting of trees in barren land to reduce the overuse of natural resources and create a new forest - because of its adaptability and uniquely fast growing times. Bamboo reaches full height in a single growing season, making it a very sustainable, renewable material source. With a host of practical uses, bamboo has “the compressive strength of concrete and tensile strength of steel.” 

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Though Bike Use is Growing, United States Cities Lack in Infrastructure

Aug 30, 2018 10:30:00 AM

As part of our Project Drawdown series and our ongoing discussion of urban planning, we’ve explored many of the benefits and challenges facing alternative transportation across the globe. Cycling, and the promotion of biking as a car alternative within and around cities, is a frequent discussion topic: Project Drawdown makes a strong case for bike infrastructure as essential for creating a transportation alternative to emissions-producing modes like private cars. 

Alternative transportation, including bikes, will continue to a play an increasing role in urban planning and design. Prioritizing ease of access, safety, and green solutions to issues in both large-scale planning and individual building design is quickly becoming expected, and designing safe cycling spaces is key to creating a culture that uses bikes as transportation.

Project Drawdown ranks Bike Infrastructure as #59 in solutions to global warming, estimated to reduce 2.31 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 and a savings of $400.47 billion dollars. Better bike infrastructure promotes cleaner air quality and healthier populations and is less expensive to implement than other preventative health measures.

image by Viktor Kern
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New Federal Legislation to Increase Inclusionary Zoning

Aug 28, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Many cities across the United States are facing an affordable housing crisis. In response, steps are being taken in some parts of the country to use inclusionary zoning to require or stimulate the construction of housing for low- and middle-income households whenever new developments are being built. These efforts are usually at the local level. However, now there is an attempt to mandate inclusionary zoning at the federal level. This summer, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introduced Senate Bill 3342. The legislation contains inclusive zoning requirements for federally funded projects in order to encourage more affordable housing as well as reduce discrimination resulting from exclusionary zoning practices.

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Global Rooftop Solar Brings Clean, Economical Energy Access

Aug 21, 2018 10:15:00 AM

Last week, we covered New York City’s rooftop solar and storage and how the city is one of the leading municipalities in solar implementation in the eastern United States - if approved by the New York City Council, a mandate requiring green roof installation (including solar panels) could place New York alongside other U.S. cities with robust solar roof requirements, leading in the way in sustainable energy generation and resilient planning. 

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New York City’s Solar Incentives Prioritize Drawdown's Rooftop Solar Solution

Aug 14, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Rooftop solar, now ubiquitous in many areas throughout the world, plays an increasing role in both commercial and residential energy generation and storage. While it has a history of implementation in countries such as Germany and Australia, there has been an influx in smaller rooftop installations throughout the world. As of 2015, 20 percent of all photovoltaic (PV) capacity worldwide is smaller-scale, rooftop panel installations.

Part of the Electricity Generation sector, rooftop solar ranks #10 in Project Drawdown’s list of solutions for fighting global warming. If implemented according to their scenario results, growth from .4 percent to 7 percent of worldwide rooftop solar energy generation will net a 24.6 gigatons reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and save $3.4 trillion dollars in home energy costs by 2050. 

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Hong Kong Cityscape: 10 Things to Notice

Aug 9, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Hong Kong is  truly impressive and much can be learned from this ultra-modern Asian city. It is helpful to sometimes look abroad and consider a different way of approaching issues. The following are some of the factors that make Hong Kong such a unique city and noticeably different from many American urban areas.

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Studio Gang’s Vista Tower Continues to Rise on Chicago’s Lakefront

Aug 7, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Studio Gang’s Vista Tower (formerly Wanda Vista) surpassed a major construction milestone this summer. As of June, the supertall’s construction team completed the concrete slab for the 50th floor out of the tower’s planned 101 levels. When completed, Vista Tower will be Chicago’s third tallest building at 1,186 feet and follows Studio Gang's Aqua as the firm continues to make its mark on Chicago's skyline. 

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