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.

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 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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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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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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