Any owner or owner's agent authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by the building code, or to cause any such work to be performed, shall first make application to the Building Official and obtain the required permit.
Once your drawings, specifications, and permit application have been reviewed and approved, you will be issued a building permit. The review process can take time so submit your application and plans as soon as possible before you plan to begin work. Once you receive the permit, you may start construction of a building project in accordance with the plans you submitted.
Permits are valid for 180 days, provided that work is started within 30 days of the issuance. The Building Official may extend a permit for an additional 180 days, pending a written request from the permit holder.
The following are the steps for obtaining a permit and having the project approved by the County.
Step 1: Fill out Permit Application
All permits are done digitally in our office. The property or homeowner should be listed as applicant. For most projects, you should also submit detailed plans for the work to be done.
Step 2: Application & Plans Are Reviewed
Once your application and detailed plans are submitted, the Building Inspector will review your application and plans. If the application or plans are incomplete, you will be notified by the Inspector and informed of what is still needed. Once the complete application and plans are submitted, the Inspector will review the plans and approve them if they meet code requirements. If your plans meet these requirements, a permit is issued. If not, the Inspector may suggest solutions to help correct the problem. You may also need approval from the Zoning Department for setbacks and stormwater.
Step 3: Obtain Permit
Once your plans and application have been approved, you may receive a permit. There are fees associated with permits to cover the cost of the review and inspection process.
The Illinois Licensed Plumber doing the work must pay the plumbing fee.
After you receive a permit, you must post it in a visible place at the job site at all times.
Step 4: Inspections Are Done
Once work has begun, the County's inspectors will inspect the work to ensure that it is being performed in accordance with the plans submitted and with applicable codes. Contractors may schedule inspections by calling the Zoning and Building Department and speaking to office staff or by leaving a message on the appropriate inspector's voicemail. Inspections called in after 10 am will be performed the following business day. Here is a minimum required list (PDF) of inspections.
Step 5: Construction Is Approved & Certificate of Occupancy Is Issued
The building official will provide a certificate of occupancy or other certificate when construction is complete and code compliance is determined. This certificate verifies that your project has been completed to code and to the County's satisfaction. You may not occupy a structure until an occupancy permit has been issued. Failure to comply may include fines of up to $1500 per day. Even storing belongings in a structure is considered occupying.
Permits are required for the following:
- Additions (bedrooms, bathrooms, family rooms, etc.)
- Alterations (replacement windows, doors, siding, re-roofing, etc)
- Electrical systems (service upgrade, rewire, generators, etc)
- Heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems (HVAC)
- New buildings
- Plumbing systems
- Renovations (garage conversions, basement finishing, kitchen expansions, etc.)
- Residential work (decks, garages, fireplaces, pools, water heaters, etc.)
Work exempt from a permit (does not apply to properties in the floodplain):
- Fences not over 6 feet in height with zoning approval.
- One-story accessory buildings in the floodplain not over 70 square feet in floor area.
- One-story accessory buildings out of the floodplain not over 120 square feet in floor area.
- Painting, papering, and similar finish work.
- Prefabricated swimming pools not exceeding 18 inches in depth.
- Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height, measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall.
- Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of a residence that do not project out more than 54 inches.
Construction documents shall be drawn to scale upon suitable material. Construction documents shall be of sufficient clarity to indicate the location, nature and extent of the work proposed, and show in sufficient detail pertinent data and features of the building, systems and equipment regulated by adopted codes. Plans should contain enough information so that any person, with no prior information, could look at the plans and build them as you envision.
- No structure shall be used, occupied or furnished before the Building Official has issued a Certificate of Occupancy.
- Occupancy within a floodplain requires an elevation certificate prior to Certificate of Occupancy being issued.
The following are requirements for submittal of plans for review and permit issuance and inspections:
New Commercial, Commercial Additions & Remodels
All plans shall include the following information:
- Commercial Application (PDF)
- Building Owner; Street Address; City/Town; State; Zip
- General Contractor information. (must be registered)
- Architect of Record as required per Illinois Architecture Practice Act (225 ILCS 305/)
- Building/Job Address or legal description may be required
- Brief Description of Job: Type of Construction; Occupancy Type; Number of Stories; Sprinkler Required?
- Two sets of plans and specifications, all plans shall include the following information:
- All plans shall bear the stamp of a licensed State of Illinois architect and/or engineering professional
- Declarations page: This should include all codes assumed for design, occupancy type, square footage of each occupancy type per floor, occupancy calculations, constructions type, specific design criteria, load calculations, etc
- Construction and placement of all firewalls, floor/ceiling and roof/ceiling assemblies and their fire rating along with the appropriate listing number
- Door and window schedules, which include fire rating(s), hardware, U-factors and locations
- Floor plans showing all rooms, dimensions, room names and/or uses for occupancy
- Engineered Truss Drawings (if applicable)
- Wall and building sections showing floors, walls, and roof construction
- Accessibility plans showing parking details, accessible exterior routes and locations of accessible entrances, adequate details and dimensions to evaluate accessible means of egress, including occupant loads for each floor, exit arrangement ad sizes, corridors, doors, stairs, areas of refuge, etc; provisions including but not limited to access to services, seating, listening systems, accessible fixtures, elevators, work surfaces, etc; adequate details and dimensions to evaluate the accessible route to areas required to be accessible, including corridors, door, protruding objects, maneuvering clearances, clear floor space at fixtures and controls, etc, tactile signage provided, etc.
- Energy code compliance: COMCheck or Similar compliance software unless using the prescriptive approach, with details shown on plans
- Fire Sprinkler plan that is signed and sealed with hydraulic calculations, catalog cut sheets and specifications for the fire sprinkler system and related equipment, etc
- Electrical plan showing all electrical equipment, devices, one line diagrams showing all feeders, service equipment, panel schedules, location of all areas, emergency systems, life safety systems, and load calculations
- Mechanical plan showing all combustion air, return air, supply openings, furnace/boiler locations along with venting, BTU input and output, locations, fire dampers and installation details, flame spread ratings of all insulated ducts, gas piping sizes and locations with support, Class I hoods and ducts along with the fire protection systems, shaft construction sections, and appropriate system shut-offs shown
- Plumbing plan showing thermal expansion tank, temperature relief and vacuum relief as necessary for water heaters, riser diagram for all water piping including size and type, riser diagram for the drain, waste and vent system including size and type of pipe, indicate separation between sewer and water services, indicate drinking fountains or bottled water, indicate the type of backflow protection (RPZ requires floor drain), provide catalog cuts for all fixtures, faucets and plumbing equipment, indicate the type and location of all special valves, appliances and devices, indicate the location of all pipe cleanouts, provide details for handicapped access to the plumbing fixtures (size of water closet enclosure, height of water closet, grab bars, lavatory, tissue holder, mirror and length of grab bars, location of grease trap, location of water meter
- Site plan (for new and additions only) showing all water lines, sewer lines or septic system, site drainage, access roads, property lines, holding ponds, buildings, approaches and public sidewalks, parking spaces, accessible spaces and sizes, floodplain elevations and building floor elevations
- List of Subcontractors (must be registered)
- Approved and Issued Grading and Drainage Permit
- Approval from Rock Island County Health Department - Environmental Division for your well and septic plans
- Accepted Bid Price of Work for General Contractor and All Subcontractors
One- & Two-Family Dwellings
All plans shall include the following information:
- Resdiential Application (PDF)
- Building Owner: Street Address; City/Town; State; Zip; Contact Information
- General Contractor: Company Name, Contact Information, must be registered
- Property Information; Property Address, Tax Parcel Number, Township, Legal Description (may be required), Zoning Classification, Floodplain information
- Full List of Subcontractors: Company Name, Contact Information, must be registered and have appropriate licenses
- Decription of Building: Number of bed and bath, foundation type, Number of stories, Total Square Footage including basement
- Architect and/or Engineer Registration Number for Illinois (if applicable)
- Two sets of plans and specifications, all plans shall include the following information:
- Elevations showing depth of foundation, final grade, amount of backfill, etc.
- Foundation details (PDF) showing wall height and thickness, footings, type and amount of rebar, waterproofing, dam proofing, drainage, etc.
- Floor Plans showing room dimensions and uses
- Typical wall sections (PDF) showing framing, header size, roof systems, floor systems, insulation, stairs, guardrails, handrails, etc.
- Door and Window schedule showing rough opening, clear openings, hardware details, type of glazing, u-factors, egress requirements, etc.
- Electrical plans showing all electrical equipment, devices, service equipment, emergency systems, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, Ufer ground location, etc.
- Mechanical plans showing all combustion air, return air, supply openings, furnace/boiler locations along with venting, BTU input and outputs, gas piping sizes and locations with support, calculations, etc.
- Plumbing plans showing location of water heater size(s) and locations, pipe sizes, location of well or septic system, etc.
- Site plan (PDF) (for new residences and additions only) showing all water lines, sewer lines or septic system, site drainage, access roads, property lines, holding ponds, buildings, etc.
- Truss Information: sealed truss drawings and complete layout sheet (if applicable)
- Sprinkler plans or alternative method of compliance
- RESCheck (PDF) if using the UA-trade off approach or similar software unless enough details are provided for the prescriptive approach
- List of subcontractors, must be registered
- Approved and issued Grading and Drainage Permit
- Approval from Rock Island County Health Department Environmental Division for your well and septic plans
- Elevation Certificate, if applicable
- Signed contract with bid price
Rock Island County uses a Fee Schedule (PDF) based on national averages including labor and materials or the contractors' bids. Plumbing and Gas inspection fees are $12 per opening. Specialty items such as demolitions, manufactured home placement, moving of buildings, signs, and wind and communication towers have special fees. Official fees are to be determined by the staff of the Rock Island County Zoning and Building Safety Department. Fees vary with the value of the work being done using contractors' bids or national averages, including labor. Persons not obtaining a permit PRIOR to beginning a project shall be charged double. No exceptions.
When applying for a permit to demolish a structure, please use the permit application available on our downloads page. The following items are addressed as applicable and the required documentation is available when the permit application is submitted:
- Disconnect Electric and Gas Service. Contact Mid-American Energy at 888-427-5632. Provide our office with documentation these have been disconnected.
- Abandon and seal well and remove septic tank. Contact the Rock Island County Health Department 309-558-2840. Provide our office with documentation that these issues have been resolved.
- Disconnect any municipal utilities provided. Provide our office with documentation these have been disconnected.
- Remove fuel oil tanks. Submit 1 copy of a permit from the Office of State Fire Marshall.
- All contractors or homeowners demolishing a structure that are regulated under Part 61 Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (NESHAP) shall file appropriate documentation per 55 ILCS 5/5-1063.5. Provide appropriate documentation.
- A Grading and Drainage Permit is required if land disturbing activities exceed one acre. Appropriate BMPs shall always be implemented.
- Pay appropriate permit fees.
- Other relevant permits.
- Note: All foundations shall be removed. Approved Fill Material is defined as: Uncontaminated, nonwater-soluble, nondecomposable inert solid material. Clean fill includes soil, rock, stone, dredged material, used asphalt and brick, block or concrete masonry units (CMUs) that have been broken so as not to become "critter condos", used concrete that has been broken into pieces smaller than 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches with no protruding bar from construction and demolition activities that is separate from other waste and recognizable as such. Unused asphalt would not meet the definition of clean fill.
- Why Do I Need A Permit?
Building permits are important in protecting your safety and the safety of those around you. Rock Island County requires permits to ensure that construction is being done properly and in accordance with all life safety requirements and all building codes. Also, the permit process provides you with protection. It ensures that you or your contractor, comply with the codes adopted by the County Board. The permit process also gives you access to qualified inspectors who can provide knowledge and guidance throughout your construction project. Rock Island County is also graded by an independent company that looks at what codes we have adopted and the process for how they are enforced. This review can have an effect on your homeowner's insurance. Failing to obtain the proper permits may complicate or cancel the sale of your home. During the home inspection or appraisal process, homeowners may have to show that the proper permits are on file. If the lending bank learns that remodeling work was done without securing permits, it may likely not qualify for the loan.
- When Is A Permit Required?
Any owner, authorized agent or contractor who desires to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by the Rock Island County and adopted codes, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the Building Official and obtain the required permit. Building permits are required for all improvements to a property if it is located in the floodplain: there are no exemptions. If the improvement is insurable, it requires a permit.
Fees vary with the value of the work being done using contractors' bids or national averages, including labor. Persons not obtaining a permit prior to beginning a project shall be charged double. No exceptions.
The best way to find out if you need a permit is to call the Zoning and Building Department at 309-558-3771. Discuss your plans with the building inspector before you begin construction to determine whether you need a permit.