Member - NAHB - National Home Builders Association
House 1

Illinois Building Code Freeze

Units of local government are constantly amending existing building code ordinances or implementing entire new codes at times when builders and remodelers have received permits and are in the process of constructing under the provisions of the current standards. The new codes are intended to affect projects that will receive permits after the enactment of the new standards.

In 2007, a builder from Vernon Hills came to HBAI seeking resolve over a battle he had with his fire protection district. While constructing a new home, the district had passed an ordinance for fire sprinkler systems (with permission from the municipality we presume), and the inspector required the builder to retrofit the home even though the drywall was up and the home was near completion.

Upon further examination, a remodeler from Hinsdale provided a similar story to the HBAI Legislative Affairs Committee; an inspector required him to retrofit plumbing improvements on a remodeling job that started prior to the new ordinance being enacted.

This incredulous demand by inspectors to retrofit new homes was not the intention of the elected officials who had enacted the codes, but was the unilateral action of a few building inspectors who lacked the ability to carry out their duties in a reasonable and professional manner.

On behalf of HBAI, State Senator Maggie Crotty of Oak Forest, introduced SB1508, a bill to protect builders and remodelers from these errant actions by placing language in the Municipal and Counties Codes that, in effect, would freeze the existing codes at the time the permit is obtained, for the duration of the building permit. Most permits expire after 12 months.

The bill received no opposition in the Senate and was sponsored by Rep. Mike Fortner of West Chicago, in the Illinois House. Along the way, support for the bill came from the Illinois Association of Realtors, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

Fortner received unanimous consideration in the House, and Governor Rod Blagojevich signed SB1508 into law on August 28, 2007.

(55 ILCS 5/5-6008) and (65 ILCS 5/11-39-4) states the following:

Building permits. Once a building permit is issued, the applicable building codes of any unit of local government that are in effect at the time of the issuance of the permit shall be the only building codes that apply for the duration of the building permit.

Feel free to contact me at billward@hbai.org, or at (800) 255-6047 if you have questions or concerns regarding the Illinois Building Code Freeze.