Buildings Damaged By Fire Or Other

When a building is damaged by fire, storm or other act, some degree of building restoration will be required. After the initial efforts to secure the building such as board-up, a building permit is required prior to any reconstruction of building components. One of the first questions that arise is what building code is applicable and what specific components are required to be upgraded; this handout provides some of these answers. We highly recommend that you share this information with your insurance company and general contractor as some of these items may not be covered by your insurance provider.

Significant Codes
All new building that is constructed within the City of Wheaton is subject to all of the codes and ordinances adopted by the city as well as any State laws that have been implemented by the State of Illinois General Assembly. Similarly, any new construction that occurs to a (fire or other) damaged building is also subject to the same and some time additional code requirements. We recommend that you enlist a design professional to provide you with the necessary design documents for any new construction/repair work to ensure that your repair work is in compliance to current codes and zoning ordinances. Listed below are some of the codes that may require you to upgrade specific components of your damaged building. For a complete list of current municipal, county, state and federal codes see our informational handout titled; “Current Building Codes”.

Zoning:
The Wheaton Zoning Ordinance, Article IV Scope of Regulations,

4.7 Existing Non-Conforming Buildings

A non-conforming building or structure including a building or structure designed or intended for a use not permitted in the district in which it is located, which existed lawfully at the time of adoption of this ordinance or amendments thereto and which remains non-conforming or any such building or structure which shall become non-conforming upon adoption of this ordinance or any amendment thereto may continue to be used only in accordance with the following regulations:

1. Ordinary repairs and improvements may be made to a non-conforming building, however, no nonconforming building shall be enlarged or relocated unless it is made to conform to the regulations of the district in which it is located. However, if a building is non-conforming only as to bulk, it may be added to or enlarged if such additions and enlargements conform to all the regulations of the district in which the building is located. A building in a residential district containing non-conforming residential units or uses may be repaired or altered to improve living and health conditions provided that the alterations do not result in an increase in either the bulk of the building or the number of dwelling units.

2. A non-conforming building or structure, or portion thereof, which is damaged or destroyed by fire,casualty or act of God to the extent that the cost of restoration will exceed 50% of the cost of replacement of the entire building or structure shall not be restored, except as required by law or in conformance with the regulations of the district in which said building or structure is located. The extent of damage and the cost of restoration shall be determined by a panel consisting of a representative of the municipality, are presentative of the owner and a third person acceptable to both parties. In the case of damage or destruction of a building or structure located in the Central Business District, (40%) floor area ratioCity of Wheaton Building and Code Enforcement provided for in this ordinance shall not be applicable to the reconstruction of any residence which is the subject of this section provided that all or any part of the residence was constructed pursuant to a building permit issued on or prior to October 17, 1989 required loading berths may be omitted from the restored building or structure. Provided, however, the forty percent. Provided further, however, the floor area ratio of the reconstructed residence shall not exceed the floor area ratio of the residence immediately prior to its destruction.

3. A non-conforming building or structure, or portion thereof which is damaged by fire, casualty or act of God to the extent that the cost of restoration is less than 50% of the cost of replacement of the entire building or structure may be repaired or reconstructed only if such restoration is commenced within eighteen (18) months from the date of the partial destruction and is diligently pursued to completion. For good cause and upon petition of the owner of such non-conforming building the corporate authorities may grant an extension of time in which to commence restoration. The extent of damage and the cost of restoration shall be determined as set forth in Section 4.7.2. Provided, however, the forty percent (40%)floor area ratio provided for in this ordinance shall not be applicable to the reconstruction of any residence which is the subject of this section provided that all or any part of the residence was constructed pursuant to a building permit issued on or prior to October 17, 1989. Provided further, however, the floor area ratio of the reconstructed residence shall not exceed the floor area ratio of the residence immediately prior to its destruction.

Building:
All building components and building systems, that are damaged and will be replaced with new construction, are required to be designed and constructed per the current code that has been adopted by the city of Wheaton and the State of Illinois. This is often a good time to meet with your designer to determine if any existing building components and systems, that have not been damaged, should also be updated to current codes. Building components and systems in older buildings that may not meet current codes include but are not limited to:

General: See the International Residential Code, Appendix J Existing Building and Structures that promote the continued use of existing structures as it relates to rehabilitation including repair, renovation, alterations, and reconstruction.

Fire Alarm: ICC Fire Code, Section 907.3, (does not apply to single-family residence) states: shall be amended to read "Where required--Retroactive in existing buildings and structures when construction is proposed." and shall further be amended by deleting the first paragraph and inserting the following text: An approved manual, automatic or manual and automatic fire alarm system shall be installed in existing buildings and structures in accordance with Sections 907.3.1 through 907.3.1.8 when cost of proposed remodeling or reconstruction in any given year is 50 25 percent or greater than the value of the building. Value of the building or structure (excluding land) shall be established by the Milton Township Assessor assessment records for the year prior to the initial remodeling or reconstruction. Where automatic sprinkler protection is provided in accordance with 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2 and connected to the building fire alarm system, automatic heat detection required by this section shall not be required.

Fire Sprinkler: ICC Fire Code, Add a new (second) paragraph to section 903.2 (does not apply to single-family residence) where required to read "When construction is proposed an approved automatic sprinkler system shall be installed in existing buildings and structures in accordance with sections 903.2.2 group E,903.2.5 group I and 903.2.7 group R whenever the cost of the remodeling or reconstruction in any given year is 50 percent or greater than the value of the building. Value of the building or structure (excluding land) shall be established by the Milton Township Assessors assessment records for the year prior to the initial remodeling or reconstruction. Where automatic sprinkler protection is provided in accordance with 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2 and connected to the building fire alarm system, automatic heat detection required by this section shall not be required."

Structural members: Per the current code.

Fire separation assemblies: Per current code.

Fire blocking: Per the current code. Homes constructed by balloon framing will require fire blocking at various locations.

Insulation: Per current code or ResCheck for residential or ComCheck for commercial.

Smoke detector: Smoke detectors are required in each bedroom of the single-family residence.

Carbon Monoxide Detector (CO2): Per State Code all dwellings are required to have an operable carbon monoxide detector within 15 of any bedroom.

Bath and Dryer Vents: Bathroom and clothes dryer vents are required to vent to the outside.

Electrical: Outside disconnect is required if the original electrical meter has been damaged.

  • GFCI outlets are required near sources of water.
  • Romex not allowed.
  • Armored cable allowed only in remodeling applications where wiring is fished through finished walls.
  • Electric meter panel requires outside disconnect.

Windows: Energy efficiency and minimum size for emergency egress in bedrooms and basements.

Stair rise and run: Stair rise and run do not have to comply with today’s code if there are structural constraints that would prevent the stairs from being reconfigured to today’s codes.

Plumbing: Any plumbing exposed that is not in conformance to the current State of Illinois plumbing code is required to be updated.

Overhead sewer: An overhead sewer is required for any existing plumbing in a basement if a basement is being remodeled due to damage.

Water service line: If plumbing fixtures are being added as part of the restoration the water service line from the city main to the building may need to be increased in size, see handout titled “Water Service Line - Sizing”

Submittal Requirements:

  1. Permit Application
  2. Plans: Provide plans that depict all new work as well as any changes to existing.If plans are available for the existing building an Illinois registered architect or engineer needs to provide a letter that they have reviewed original building plans for conformance to current code and have identified what building components and or building systems will be upgraded to comply with current codes. Architects letter needs to reference former plans by sheet numbers and letter shall be stamped and signed by an Illinois registered architect or engineer.
  3. Insurance Report: Provide a copy of the insurance company report that outlines the extent of work.
  4. Permit fees: Permit fees are based on the cost of work.

Plan Review
It is the Building Departments policy that any fire or storm damage permit applications be reviewed and processed ahead of other permit applications, please notify our Permit Processors and indicate on your permit application the circumstances of building damage. If for any reason you do not hear back from us within 48 hours of submitting your permit application please call us at 630-260-2050 and ask for a plan review status.

Other Governmental Agencies
If the building has been deemed and posted “Uninhabitable” or “Unsafe Structure” by the WheatonBuilding Department we recommend that you contact the Milton Township Assessor’s Office, a tax break may be available during the time that you are unable to reside in the home.

To Contact Us
For Projects of This Type
City of Wheaton Building & Code Enforcement Department
303 W. Wesley Street
Wheaton, IL 60187-0727
Phone: 630-260-2050
Fax: 630-260-2195
Open: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Revised 2/6/2012