A Few Things That You Should Know About Building Codes

  • Building codes evolved out of major tragedies such as fires. That is the reason why many building safety departments are part of the fire department.

Illinois does not have a state building code. The only state wide construction related code in Illinois is plumbing. Property owners, especially homeowners, often assume that there is automatically a review and inspection process. This is not the case. Illinois is a home rule state. This allows each government subsection the opportunity to adopt building codes.

  • The Cities of Champaign and Urbana and the Villages of Rantoul and Savoy do have building codes and do inspect work as required.  Champaign County does not have a building code. Many subdivisions adjacent to the above communities have been built entirely without plan review or building code inspections. A few examples are Lincolnshire Fields, Glenshire, Cooper Ridge, Ironwood, Trails at Brittany, Cherry Hills, Golfview, and Rolling Acres. In this area it is the rare exception when a subdivision is built with inspections. Perhaps as much as 90% of the existing housing stock now in Champaign-Urbana has been built without building inspections.
  • Inside each different jurisdiction the building codes may vary. For example the City of Champaign has an energy code requirement that addresses wall construction which other local areas do not.
  • Building codes are meant to be minimum standards for protection of life safety. They address safety issues such as size of electrical wiring, construction techniques to protect against storm damage, and indoor air quality.
  • Currently the various national code writing bodies are moving towards one master code for all of the United States.  While this will create uniformity across written codes it will have no impact on the fact that Illinois does not have a state wide code system.  




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