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.

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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Amendments to Title III: Is the ADA Being Gutted?

Apr 3, 2018 10:00:00 AM

On February 14, 2018, the House of Representatives passed a bill amending some of the enforcement provisions of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ADA title prohibiting discrimination against those with disabilities by private entities providing public accommodations. The legislation, H.R. 620, ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (Amendments), has been the subject of alarming headlines such as, “The GOP Wants to Gut the Americans With Disabilities Act.” We thought we would take a closer look at the Amendments’ provisions and why they are raising so much concern.

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Updated: New Illinois Accessibility Code is In Effect

Feb 21, 2018 10:30:00 AM

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 new IAC is now in effect. The CDB will be releasing a searchable, user-friendly version of the Code in the future, but the rules are available for review here at this time.

The Illinois Accessibility Code is a set of regulations that implement the Illinois Environmental Barriers Act, and applicable entities in Illinois must comply with both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Environmental Barriers Act. Previously, we summarized the changes to the code during the draft process. Look for an update of this soon. The IAC now more closely resembles the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design but does have a number of different and more restrictive requirements.

Although the new edition can be used immediately, projects currently in progress where a specific contract for planning has already been awarded prior to the effective date of the new IAC are exempt from compliance if construction begins within 12 months. Plans must comply with the version of the Code applicable at time of contract which would be the 1997 edition.

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Chicago Department of Buildings: New Structural Peer Review Program Rules

Feb 12, 2018 10:30:00 AM

In December 2017, the City of Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) adopted new Structural Peer Review Program rules (Rules) that became effective January 1, 2018. The voluntary program to expedite the building permit process has existed in Chicago for over a decade. It is very important to be aware of the Rules which contain new requirements.

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What to Know About the Self-Certification Program in Chicago

Dec 14, 2017 8:00:00 AM

The City of Chicago Self-Certification Permit Program is designed to streamline the building permit process for qualified residential and commercial projects. By opting in to the program, permit applications will not require Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) plan review, as the Architect of Record certifies that stamped plans are compliant with Chicago’s building code.

The program has undergone recent changes, including a new Debt Check process required by the Chicago Department of Finance as of July 2017. We’d like to provide an overview of these changes as well as reminders of some key components of the program for professionals looking to expedite their plan review process.

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Trump’s Deregulation Efforts: How’s it Going?

Oct 17, 2017 10:00:00 AM

President Trump is finding that rolling back regulations is not so easy. Deregulation is a Trump administration priority, and the President’s first day in office his Chief of Staff notified agencies of a temporary freeze on all new regulations. This was followed by series of executive orders focused on cutting regulations, including the Executive Order, known as the Two-for-One Executive Order, requiring the repeal of at least two prior regulations and an incremental cost of zero for each newly adopted regulation. We have highlighted in several posts how Trump’s deregulation agenda may impact the building industry, and we thought we would review the status of this effort.

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Lead-Based Paint RRP in Public and Commercial Buildings: Where Does it Stand?

Sep 6, 2017 8:00:00 AM

The United State Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) development of rules to address lead-based paint renovation, repair, and painting in public and commercial buildings has been a complex and contentious process. The Agency’s work on the rules has been significantly impacted by industry and public interest group litigation. Now, the Trump administration’s policies may also affect the regulation of lead paint renovation activities in non-residential buildings. The rules’ status has important implications for building owners and managers, contractors, developers, and anyone else involved in building maintenance and renovation.


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Building Façades: New San Francisco Requirements

Aug 17, 2017 8:00:00 AM

San Francisco has been updating its standards for building façade inspections and maintenance. In 2016, the City adopted an ordinance amending the San Francisco Existing Building Code (Ordinance) in June of 2017. The Department of Building Inspections (DBI) recently released an administrative bulletin implementing the legislation, the final phase of the new building façade inspection and maintenance requirements.

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Re-examining Residential High-Rise Sprinklers: Where Does Chicago Stand?

Aug 10, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Recent residential high-rise fires are calling attention to sprinkler and other fire safety code requirements in the United States. While the horrific Grenfell Tower fire in London has received a great deal of press, the July Honolulu residential high-rise fire that killed three people is more representative of conditions in many American cities.The 36-floor Marco Polo was built in 1971, predating Honolulu’s 1975 law requiring sprinkler systems. An automatic sprinkler system would have expedited fire extinguishment and prevented the deaths.

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Avoiding Costly Delays with a Multi-Unit Residential Building Code Analysis

May 9, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Burnham recently completed a code review of preliminary drawings for a new multi-unit residential building in California. Our code consultants prefer to be involved at this early stage of the construction design process. An initial assessment allows us to suggest modifications and solutions to avoid building department requests for corrections that can result in project delays. The review helped the design team amend their plans, a four-story building with multiple roof decks and a large parking garage, to meet code requirements.


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New Chicago Rules Regarding Building Permit Privilege Suspension

Apr 11, 2017 8:00:00 AM

On March 29, 2017, the City of Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) published new rules regarding the suspension of building permit application privileges and licenses, registrations, and certifications (Rules) by the department. These Rules implement Ordinance 02016-8628, amendments (Amendments) to the Chicago Municipal Code (Code) designed to increase the Building Commissioner’s (Commissioner) ability to suspend building permit privileges and licenses, registrations, and certifications of those who don’t follow the Codes’ requirements. The new Rules became effective on April 8, 2017.

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ADA Requirements for Protruding Objects: What is Wrong with This Picture?

Mar 28, 2017 8:00:00 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) contains specific requirements for objects that extend into circulation paths. During ADA compliance walk-throughs, we periodically see conditions that do not fully comply with these standards. It is important to understand the ADA’s requirements for protruding objects to avoid injury to people with visual impairments. See if you can find the violation of the ADA standards for protruding objects in this picture:

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The 2018 International Energy Conservation Code: A Rollback of Energy Efficiency Gains?

Sep 29, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The next edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the 2018 version, is currently under development. The draft updates have sparked controversy because some of the new provisions appear to reverse the energy efficiency requirements of earlier IECC editions. Many stakeholders believe each new version of the IECC should improve upon the energy efficiency standards of the prior editions. Net-zero buildings may be attained by 2050 if a 5% energy efficiency gain is achieved when the IECC is updated every three years. Given there are still opportunities to shape the 2018 IECC, different stakeholders are mobilizing to eliminate the proposed energy efficiency rollbacks.

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A Look at Hoboken, New Jersey’s Resilient Building Design Guidelines

Sep 15, 2016 8:00:00 AM

In October 2015, Hoboken, New Jersey published its Resilient Building Design Guidelines, intended to increase protection against flooding. Hoboken was severely flooded during Hurricane Sandy, and since that time, has been proactively working to design and build a more resilient city. In our recent post about President Obama’s initiative to promote resilient building codes to respond to climate change, we described a number of national programs supporting ways to mitigate climate change’s impact. We thought we would take a closer look at Hoboken’s Resilient Building Design Guidelines as an example of one program component of a city’s strategy to improve building resiliency.

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Creating Resilient Building Codes to Respond to Climate Change

Aug 31, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Stop filling the sandbags….We’re gonna find a better way to manage this thing!

I’m always encouraged to see productive conversation happening at home, in the workplace….and especially with the government authorities that regulate construction activity. There are so many new and more powerful threats that need to be considered in our policy making; therefore, I want to share the Administration’s recent initiative that brings together both public and private programs that are promoting building codes and standards for more resilient and safer buildings.

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Gender-Neutral Bathrooms: Code Conflicts?

Aug 10, 2016 8:00:00 AM

A growing number of municipalities are passing laws governing gender-neutral bathrooms. However, we are finding that sometimes the gender-neutral bathroom laws are limited by existing code requirements, particularly those imposed by plumbing codes that need to be updated. In other instances, architectural designs to more easily incorporate gender-neutral bathrooms are conflicting with code requirements. We thought we would take a look at some of the different municipal gender-neutral bathroom ordinances and how codes may be limiting their reach.

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The Proposed Illinois Criminal Building Management Offense

May 12, 2016 8:00:00 AM

As of 2017, House Bill 6036 remains re-referred to Rules Committee and there has been no further action.

A controversial bill was introduced in the Illinois General Assembly in February of this year, House Bill 6036 (HB 6036). The bill amends the Illinois Criminal Code by adding a new offense of criminal building management which would be a Class 4 felony. We at Burnham are taking a closer look at this proposed legislation, its background, and the concerns it has raised.

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5 Things You Should Know About Hotel Building Permits in Chicago

Mar 9, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Hotel building permits differ from traditional building permits in a variety of ways. In order to meet construction goals and timeframes, it’s important to understand key differentiators of hotel building permits, including hotel licenses, hotel zoning areas and the hotel inspection process. In this post, we’ll share five things you should know about hotel building permits in Chicago.

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4 Common New York City Building Code Violations and How to Remove Them

Mar 4, 2016 9:00:00 AM

In New York City, public safety is of the utmost concern. With more than one million buildings in the Big Apple, it is imperative for these structures to adhere to safety regulations and laws that are set forth by the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB). This year the DOB even released an Industry Code of Conduct to better foster “integrity in the construction industry, and recently Mayor de Blasio announced that penalties for serious construction safety mishaps are increasing dramatically. 

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4 Simple Solutions to Ensure Project Success in Denver

Jan 14, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Before beginning a project within the City of Denver, it is vital to follow the City’s Building and Zoning Codes for efficient permit approval and a successful project. The Denver permitting process has undergone new development strategies focused on sustainable growth within the city, as well as a new green roof ordinance with requirements for all large new construction projects as well as retrofitting of existing buildings.

Taking your project step by step – and planning ahead for review timelines and other project delays – will keep it on schedule and up to code through the process. In addition, we have listed the four key areas you should be aware of when complying with building codes in the City of Denver.

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