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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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The Overlooked Benefits of District Energy Systems

Apr 12, 2018 1:15:20 PM

District energy systems (DES) for heating and cooling, particularly in dense urban areas, are a key vehicle for increasing sustainability. Although some forms of DES have existed for over a century, worldwide use is growing, and the technologies they employ are evolving. Project Drawdown ranks district heating, a form of DES, as number 27 in its 100 solutions to global warming. While district energy systems are being used throughout the United States, there is much room for growth and more needs to be done to promote their advantages.

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Merchandise Mart Illumination, Largest in US, Begins Sept. 29th

Mar 29, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Last February, the City of Chicago designated 2017 the Year of Public Art (YOPA) and promoted a number of initiatives to bring new art throughout the city, including the second run of the Chicago Architecture Biennial from September 2017 to January 2018. As part of YOPA, the City announced a plan to illuminate the 25 story facade of the historic Merchandise Mart building earlier this year. Now completed, “Art on theMART” is the largest permanent digital display in the United States and is part of a growing list of cities utilizing digital art as part of public art initiatives.

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Call for Architects to Increase Chicago Sustainability

Feb 28, 2018 10:08:35 AM

A recent program, City of Chicago: Pushing the Envelope, was designed to inspire the architectural community to do more to help Chicago meet its sustainability targets. The Illinois Green Alliance, AIA, Passive House Alliance Chicago, and Living Building Collaborative Chicago hosted the event on February 21, 2018, at the beautiful new West Loop offices of Skender Construction.

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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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2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial Focused on Chicago's Past, Design's Future

Jan 9, 2018 12:00:00 PM

The Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) completed its second run this weekend after over three months of programming and exhibitions. The 2017 event brought together 140 international participants who contributed models, photography, films, and installations engaging with the role and relevance of history in the future of architecture.

As the event closes, we’re taking a look back at some of the CAB’s events and discussions around “making new history” at the Chicago Cultural Center and the CAB’s six Community Anchor sites in neighborhoods throughout Chicago - and sharing some of our own photos below.

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Mansueto High School Construction Brings Local Options to Brighton Park

Dec 21, 2017 4:00:00 PM

In September, the new Noble Network Mansueto High School building in Chicago’s Southwest Side neighborhood of Brighton Park welcomed its first class of freshman and sophomore students. As the area’s first Noble charter school, the new construction will anchor a future development that will serve as a home for multiple nonprofits and provides further access to educational choice for families in the surrounding neighborhoods. Burnham Nationwide’s experience with Institutional buildings in the City of Chicago allowed us to assist the design and construction teams with quicker permits and more accurate submittals.

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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, submittals 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.

Recently the program has undergone some 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. 

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The Building Industry’s Link to Climate Change: Northwestern’s 2017 Symposium

Nov 21, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Northwestern University’s Institute for Sustainability and Energy has sponsored the Northwestern Climate Change Symposium since 2009. The two-day 2017 symposium (November 9-10) had three simultaneous tracks: policy, science, and business. We attended both days and focused on the policy track. The presentations we are highlighting here touched on the building sector’s role in climate change and ways the industry could proactively reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

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