FAQs Print

How do I schedule an inspection?
Call the building department (708) 354-1860 during office hours which are Mon-Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.  Inspections are generally Mon thru Fri between 9am and noon.  If you are requesting an inspection for the next business day you must call and schedule by 3:00 pm the day before.
What is a permit?
Basically, a permit is an agreement between the City and the Applicant whereby the applicant agrees to follow the City Codes and the City agrees to inspect the construction to ensure that Codes are followed. Normally the applicant must submit a plan to show what they intend to do. In many instances the plans will be required to be prepared by a licensed architect or engineer. When the plans are approved, the construction must conform to the plans. Any deviations or changes in construction when they differ from the approved plans cannot be approved in the field. This is why it is essential for the applicant to determine in detail the work to be done before applying for a permit.
Why do I need a permit?
The easiest answer to this question is "for your protection". The City will inspect a permit grantees work. The inspector may discover shoddy work, faulty materials, deviations from the plans, and violations of the code that may result in unsafe or hazardous conditions for you and your family. Of course, another consideration that cannot be overlooked is the fact that it is a violation of City Ordinance not to have a permit when the work that is being performed requires one to be issued. Failure to obtain the necessary permits may result in prosecution in the Adjudication Court with a maximum possible fine of $750.00 plus court costs.
When do I need a permit?

Generally speaking, a building permit is required when any structural change or major alteration is made to a building or when any new construction is undertaken. Normal maintenance does not require a permit in most cases. Separate permits for plumbing, electrical and mechanical work are also required when applicable.

Some examples of work that generally does not require permits are; tuck pointing, plaster repair, painting, all paneling, and awnings that do not project over property lines.

Some examples of work that does require a permit: new structures of any description, including buildings, garages, carports, storage sheds, gutters, downspouts, patios, porches, decks, retaining walls, room additions and extensions or enlargements of existing rooms. Any work involving structural changes or extensive rehabilitation of a building. Siding that covers the building requires a permit and any installation of pre-cast stone. Roof replacement requires a building permit when the roof sheathing is replaced.

Where do I get a permit?

An application for a permit is made at 803 Joliet Road, in the Community Development Department on the 1st floor of the Municipal Complex. The homeowner or the contractor can make the application. It is, however, the homeowner’s responsibility to see that a permit is secured and posted on the job site.

These plans are necessary to enable our Plan Examination to determine if the proposed structure or changes will meet all the safety requirements of the Code. In some instances it will be necessary to have the plans prepared by a licensed architect or engineer. The drawings should be in sufficient detail to show the dimensions of the project, kind and size of materials used, location of the property lines, and elevations.

An information packet covering all information and requirements needed in order to obtain a building permit is available in the Building Department.

How long is a permit good for?

A building permit is good for 180 days after it is issued.  In addition, a 180 day extension may be granted by the Building Official. In most cases, a permit will not be expired unless the applicant has failed to call for an inspection and show progress on the project for a 360 day period.  Once a permit is expired, you may be required to begin the permit process from the beginning and pay all of the applicable fees again, so it is wise to avoid permit expiration.

How high can a fence be?
Residential Districts-Fences may be erected in or on the boundary of any rear yard or interior side yard. The total height shall not exceed six feet  (6’) above existing grade. Standard solid eight foot (8’) fence may be erected in any side or rear yard when said yard adjoins a business district.
Do I need a permit for a retaining wall?
Retaining walls over 3 ft. in height will require a building permit.
My neighbor built a fence that is on my property, what can I do?
First, get a survey done to make certain that the fence was installed on your property.  If you discover that the fence is on your property, do not tear down the fence yourself.  The issue becomes a civil matter and to which you may want to contact an attorney for assistance.
How many chickens/roosters can I have in Countryside?
In 2014 the City Council adopted an ordinance allowing a residential property to have up to four (4) chickens.  A permit form must be filled out with the Building Department for the chickens. Roosters are prohibited.
Do I need a permit for a dumpster?
If you are doing work that requires a building permit you do not need an additional permit for a dumpster. If you are doing work that does not require a permit from the building department and you want to place a dumpster on the property, you will need to fill out a temporary dumpster permit application. The permit cost is $5 per day up to a maximum of 10 days.
I think I have mold in my apartment, what do I do?
If the mold like substance is not visible, you will need to hire a private company to come out and test the apartment.