Illinois Building Department

Find Illinois building departments, planning, permits, zoning, and inspections. Building Departments provide information on certificates of occupancy (CO), building codes, construction codes, inspections, safety, violations, permits, community planning, zoning laws, regulations, ordinances, maps, and land use.

What does a Building Department do?

A building department ensures that property owners and construction companies follow zoning laws, building codes, and occupancy regulations. These departments work to ensure that homes and commercial buildings are safe. These departments inspect properties before occupancy certificates are issued, as well as before building permits are approved for construction projects of all types. They also answer home owners' questions about remodeling projects, and ensure that all new construction meets current building code standards. Construction plans must be submitted before construction begins, and contractors are required to submit any changes for approval before making them.

Building departments monitor construction projects for safety. They also look at the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems to be sure they meet community standards. They also review blueprints and environmental reports. Projects must be approved before work can begin. After permits are awarded, builders are usually required to complete their projects within a deadline, to reduce disruption to the surrounding community. The building department also inspects each project after completion.

Commonly asked questions about Building Departments

Which types of work don't require a Building Department permit?

Most types of cosmetic interior work, including painting and wallpaper, don't require permits. Minor plumbing jobs such as replacing sinks and faucets don't require permits. Outdoor playhouses and small prefabricated sheds with sizes of about 100 square feet don't require permits. However, if you have any questions about a particular construction job, you should check with your local building department, since some communities have specific rules and ordinances.

Do swimming pool installation projects require permits from Building Departments?

In-ground pools require permits, but most above-ground pools don't. However, if you're planning to add decking around your above-ground pool, you may need a permit. If there's any question, it's best to contact your local building department before beginning the project.

Do I need to a permit to put up a fence around my yard?

The answer depends on how high your fence will be, and where you plan to put it. In many cases, a fence that's less than six feet tall would be the determining doesn't require a permit. Yet, some communities require fence contractors to apply for permits for all fences. If you are putting a low, decorative fence around a small flower bed, you probably won't need a permit. If you have any doubt, contact your local building department.