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.

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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Denver Bans “Slot Home” Design to Prioritize Human-Scale Development

Jul 24, 2018 10:30:00 AM

In May 2018, the Denver City Council voted to ban “slot homes” in an unanimous vote. The residential design is an unusual type of multi-family construction, most often featuring two separate structured situated around a narrow driveway, mews, or pedestrian walkway that forms the “slot.” 

Though the design bears a passing resemblance to courtyard apartment buildings such as the ones prevalent in Chicago, slot homes are constructed around much narrower space than courtyard buildings with entrances cut off from the street. Though they are prevalent throughout the City of Denver, they are most common in the West Colfax, Jefferson Park, Highland, Five Points, Sunnyside, Berkeley, and Cherry Creek neighborhoods. image via CARTA at CU Denver

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The Need for Affordable Living: Rethinking Public Housing

Jul 19, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Many American cities are facing an affordable housing crisis that affects middle and low income families. Some cities and states are adopting laws and policies to encourage the private development of affordable housing. However, a more comprehensive public housing program, housing funded and administered by a government authority, would also help reduce the current shortage. In this post, we look at a few of the reasons public housing has encountered barriers in the United States and some public housing programs abroad.

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Cook County Hospital Redevelopment Promises New Life for Storied Building

Jul 17, 2018 10:45:00 AM

Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill’s $1 billion mixed-use redevelopment of the historic former Cook County Hospital building located on Chicago’s Near West Side is poised to create a host of changes for the 102-year-old Beaux Arts building. Prominent in Chicago history, the historic building was listed on four separate occasions on Landmark IllinoisMost Endangered Historic Places list after closing in 2002. 

image by Jeff Dahl - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

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Gender-Neutral Bathrooms in 2018

Jul 11, 2018 10:00:00 AM

In August 2016, we published a blog post highlighting a variety of municipal laws providing for gender-neutral bathrooms. We discussed gender-neutral bathroom requirements in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, and New York City. The post also noted that the ability of some municipalities to bring about changes is limited by state codes. We thought we would review developments regarding gender-neutral restrooms since our 2016 post.

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Drawdown: Increase Mass Transit Use to Fight Global Warming, Promote Healthier Cities

Jul 2, 2018 12:00:00 PM

According to Project Drawdown, the transport sector is responsible for more than “seven gigatons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually” and is responsible for 14 percent of total global emissions. Transport emissions in individual countries count for up to 35 percent of all emissions, and the sector share continues to grow. 

International shipping, air transportation, and other subsectors are in high demand, and as “a country develops economically, [the] movement of people and good increases.” Without targeted efforts and special focus on transportation emissions in all forms, Drawdown states that “emissions [could] balloon out of control” and threaten any plan to fight global warming. 

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A Look at Ongoing ADA Title III Litigation: Kohl’s Department Stores

Jun 26, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Kohl’s has been embroiled in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) litigation over the accessibility of its department stores. These cases demonstrate that even though private parties cannot receive a financial award for ADA Title III claims, retailers are still at risk of costly and protracted private party ADA litigation seeking equitable relief. Additionally, the cases also illustrate that even if there is no specific ADA standard for a particular store element, the element could still fall under the ADA’s purview if it is found to be a barrier to accessibility and its removal is readily achievable.

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FREESPACE: Generosity at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

Jun 21, 2018 10:00:00 AM

The City of Chicago’s own successful architecture biennial is the largest of its kind in the North America and is one of a host of international architecture events occurring around the world. Now in its 16th year, la Biennale di Venezia’s architecture exhibition is currently running from May 24th, 2018 through November 25th, 2018. 

image by Sam Mouat

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More than Solar: California’s Ambitious Net Zero Energy Building Goals

Jun 12, 2018 10:00:00 AM

There has been a great deal of press about California’s recently adopted mandate that all new homes must have solar power beginning in 2020. What has been missed is that this new rule supports California’s very progressive goal that all new construction attain net zero energy use for residential buildings by 2020 and commercial buildings by 2030.

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EPA Soon to Propose New Standards for Lead-Based Paint & Dust-Lead Hazards

Jun 5, 2018 10:00:00 AM

 The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) must update its definition of lead-based paint and standard for lead-contaminated dust hazards according to a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Ninth Circuit) decision filed at the end of 2017. EPA should promulgate proposed rules with updated standards by late June. These new requirements will have important implications for property owners; sellers, landlords, and real estate agents required to comply with the Lead-Residential Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Program; and those who work on most pre-1978 residences and child-occupied facilities. 

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Drawdown 2018 EcoChallenge Makes Climate Solutions Accessible

May 31, 2018 11:15:00 AM

We’ve been highlighting Project Drawdown’s strategies for fighting climate change since the beginning of year, including green roofs, cement, and the number one solution to global warming, reducing air conditioning refrigerants. The majority of these solutions are focused on a larger scale involving urban planning and global initiatives, but Project Drawdown also has actionable items for individuals and local groups. This year, Project Drawdown and the Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) debuted the Drawdown EcoChallenge to spur action on these items.

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Recent New York State Changes to Increase Energy Efficiency and Storage

May 30, 2018 10:00:00 AM

New York has been at the forefront of state-level work to combat climate change. Recently undertaken initiatives and regulatory changes are part of the state’s aggressive push to increase sustainability and transform the electrical grid. Programs to deploy more energy storage and improve buildings’ energy efficiency are among the 2018 developments in New York State.

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Key Techniques to Simplify Multi-Site Expansions

May 24, 2018 5:20:00 PM

Multi-site expansions require thorough planning, precise scheduling, and intensive coordinating of many moving parts including initial research on processes for building permit filing and obtaining required licenses, filling for construction permitting in multiple municipalities, coordinating design and construction teams, and creating realistic timelines for all operations. Burnham Nationwide’s multi-site expansion division manages projects across the country and our team has years of experience with high volume, time-sensitive rollouts. 

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Understanding California’s New Energy Benchmarking Regulations

May 8, 2018 10:00:00 AM

The California Energy Commission (Commission) recently finalized the rules implementing California ‘s new energy benchmarking program, the first statewide energy benchmarking program for commercial and multi-family residential buildings. Commercial buildings falling under the California Energy Benchmarking Regulations (Regulations) must submit their energy use data by June 1, 2018, and multi-family residential building need to comply the following year.

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Child-Friendly Urban Planning Creates More Resilient Cities

May 1, 2018 11:30:00 AM

Our recent focus on Project Drawdown illustrates an urgently urbanizing world. The world’s cities are growing exponentially, especially in the “global South”, and the United Nations estimates that by 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities and one in three people will be living in a city with over half a million people. New populations in the United States (US) are also urbanizing, facing challenges unique to both growing mid-size cities and established urban centers experiencing shifting demographics. 

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Esperanza Health’s New Brighton Park Location Unites Needed Services with New Design

Apr 24, 2018 10:30:00 AM

In September 2017, the Noble Network Mansueto High School opened its doors in the Southwest Side Chicago neighborhood of Brighton Park. The school is the area’s first Noble charter school and is the anchor for a new development adjacent to the campus that will house community non-profits as well as the Esperanza Health Center. Burnham is proud of have assisted with permitting for Mansueto High School, as well as be a part of the Esperanza Health project team.

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