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.

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.


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.


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.


Chicago Energy Benchmarking: New Disclosure Requirements

Oct 31, 2017 10:30:00 AM

The Chicago City Council passed amendments (Amendments) to Chicago’s energy benchmarking requirements, the Building Energy Use Benchmarking Ordinance of the City of Chicago (Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance) on November 21, 2017.These changes were introduced in Chicago City Council on October 11, 2017. The Amendments add a new rating system, disclosure requirements, and water use reporting to the ordinance that was originally passed in September 2013 and applies to commercial, municipal, and residential buildings that are 50,000 square feet or more.


BOMA/Chicago Economic Trends Report: Chicago a Magnet for Relocation

Oct 26, 2017 10:00:00 AM

The City of Chicago’s downtown core and nearby neighborhoods are growing, and BOMA/Chicago and JLL Chicago Research’s 2017 Economic Impact Study (the Study) details the present and future impact of the trend on the city’s office and commercial buildings. Also undertaken in 2006 and 2012, the Study is a comprehensive look at the City of Chicago’s commercial growth and forecasts the needs and expectations of future tenants.

BOMA/Chicago’s excellent panel on the report illuminated the Study’s findings and provided insight on current trends in office leasing, job growth, and construction. BOMA/Chicago building membership is composed of 165.8 million square feet of space across 235 buildings and forms 98 percent of all Class A office buildings and 80 percent of all rentable office space.
image credit: Tim Trad


The Quest for Affordable Housing: Chicago Adopts New Developer Requirements

Oct 24, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Chicago recently took additional steps to increase much needed affordable housing. Many major urban areas, including Chicago, are bolstering their inclusionary housing requirements due to the serious shortage of housing for low and middle-income households. Chicago City Council adopted two ordinances this October amending the City’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) to add two pilot programs. The new requirements will affect developers with residential projects in some of Chicago’s growing areas.


Open House Chicago: An Inside Look at the City's Iconic Architecture

Oct 19, 2017 11:00:00 AM

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) hosted their 7th annual Open House Chicago (OHC) this past weekend. The largest event of its type in North America, this year’s festival had over 200 sites across Chicago and the near suburbs during two days of open-to-the-public tours, talks, and more. Burnham Nationwide's Chicago team explored some of the new neighborhoods and places featured this year and in addition to sharing our visits, we'd like to highlight some of the most interesting spaces from the event.


River Edge Ideas Lab: Growing Chicago’s Second Waterfront

Oct 12, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Chicago’s “second coast” boasts a new riverwalk downtown and plans for major redevelopment of the industrial corridor along the Chicago River’s North Branch. The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD), in a collaboration with the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and Chicago Architecture Biennial, explores the river’s potential by inviting nine world-class architecture firms along the South Branch. image credit: Steven Wang


The Three Different Types of Chicago Plan Reviews

Sep 21, 2017 8:00:00 AM

The City of Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) offers multiple plan review tracks for residential, commercial, structural, and major development projects within the City of Chicago. Each review process is designed to expedite construction projects of various scopes and complexities and provide design and construction teams with the most efficient service per project type.

As of 2017, the City currently offers three different plan review tracks - the Easy Permit Process, Standard Plan Review, and the Developer Services Program. Direct Developer Services, a track designed for complex projects or major developments, was introduced last year.

image credit: Fineas Anton


Behind the Scenes of the Willis Tower’s $500 Million Renovation

Aug 31, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Chicago's Willis Tower redevelopment project is well underway, and the icon of Chicago architecture formerly known as the Sears Tower will see its first major upgrades since 1985. We previously covered the plans for the historic building and the start of work on the superstructure this year, but with permitting complete for demolition and the lower level retail phase of the project, we’d like to provide a behind the scenes look at the permit process so far for Chicago’s most famous skyscraper.image credit: Jack Young via Unsplash 


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.


Resilience Strategies in Chicago and Beyond: CMAP’s Comprehensive Plan

Aug 3, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Chicago and other cities across the globe are undertaking resilience planning to respond to climate change and other stresses on our communities. In 2016, Chicago’s first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), Aaron Koch, was appointed. The CRO’s office is currently working on Chicago’s Resilience Strategy, projected to be released in the fall of 2017. However, important resilience planning affecting Chicago is also being conducted by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) as part of their comprehensive plan. It is important to be aware of CMAP’s planning process and resilience recommendations because they will shape future decisions about building design, land use, and infrastructure.


Renovation Expands and Restores the Theater on the Lake

Jul 20, 2017 8:00:00 AM

A unique space on Chicago's lakefront, the Theater on the Lake hosts a full summer theater schedule in its unusual location at the intersection of the Fullerton Avenue and Lake Shore Drive in the Lincoln Park neighborhood as the home of Chicago Park District’s off-Loop theater festival.

In its long history, the Prairie-style building has seen a host of different uses, and it will see yet another after a series of improvements - the Theater on the Lake’s renovation improves the accessibility of the space, adds new amenities, and converts the unique structure into a year-round venue on Lake Michigan.

image via Kaufman | O'Neil Architecture


Vista Tower Cleared to Rise to Supertall Status

Jun 20, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Chicago’s third tallest building, Vista Tower, obtained the permit for the entirety of the build-out process for floors one through 95 last month. Though construction on the tower - also known as Wanda Vista - began last September, issuance of this permit on May 12th, 2017 cleared the remainder of the building for construction at 363 E. Wacker Drive up to its ultimate height of 1,186 feet. Burnham Nationwide is proud to assist with the permit expediting process and contribute to constructing Chicago’s newest supertall along the Chicago River. image credit: Austin Neill via Unsplash


Accessible Design: Chicago Adopts New Disability Rights Regulations

Jun 13, 2017 8:00:00 AM

New Chicago Human Rights Ordinance disability rights regulations governing accessibility will go into effect on July 1, 2017. Promulgated to provide greater clarity and alignment with federal requirements, these new regulations govern the accessibility of facilities, goods, and services of public accommodations. This post will specifically focus on the components of the new regulations governing accessible design.


A Cultural Hub on Chicago’s Second Waterfront

May 31, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Chicago’s Riverwalk - stretching from Lake Street to Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago - saw its final stage completed in October 2016. Now 1.25 miles long, the entire length of the Riverwalk will be open during the summer season for the first time since construction on the newest sections began in 2012. The Riverwalk has reimagined the role of the Chicago River in the Loop district and created a new public space, opening more of the city’s river to exploration by residents and visitors.

Photo by Roman Arkhipov on Unsplash


Bridging the Gap Between Have and Need at Chicago’s “Giving Factory”

May 25, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Cradles to Crayons (C2C) is a non-profit organization that provides children with essentials for school and play. By partnering with other charitable organizations and social service providers, C2C has served 942,000 children since its founding in Boston in 2002, and in 2016, C2C opened its first branch outside of the East Coast in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.

Burnham Nationwide provided permit expediting for C2C’s local “Giving Factory” headquarters and in this post, we would like to provide some insights into the permitting process for the space and - most importantly - introduce the charity’s great work.


Critical Revisions to the Chicago Sustainable Development Policy

May 16, 2017 8:00:00 AM

The Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) recently revised the Chicago Sustainable Development Policy (Policy). The Policy has been a key component of the City’s plans to encourage sustainable and resilient design.The new Chicago Sustainable Development Policy is significantly changed from its earlier version and will continue to push the City’s leadership in sustainability.


Designing a Resilient City of the Future: Chicago Thrives!

May 3, 2017 8:00:00 AM

On April 20, 2017, U.S. Green Building Council-Illinois and American Institute of Architects-Chicago jointly sponsored Chicago Thrives! Resilience Symposium. As stated in the program’s marketing materials, “resilient design is emerging as the design challenge of our age.” The all-day program included a variety of presenters on different resiliency planning topics. Burnham attended the event and we will share some program highlights.


Supporting “The Best Show Ever” as Cavalia Returns to Chicago

Apr 20, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Created by Norman Latourelle, one of the co-founders of Cirque du Soleil, Cavalia’s new production “Odysseo” combines equestrian arts with aerial performance and live music along with elaborate sets and visuals in a stunning production.

The show features 65 horses and 48 performers in a 346’ x 240’ x 83’ main tent, billed as the largest tent currently touring, in a temporary city composed of the performance arena, stables, paddocks, and tents that travel to each stop on the show’s tour.