Residential Building Permit 101


Did you know that you must obtain a building permit from the City of West Chicago whenever you or your contractor builds, replaces or alters existing structures? Some of the most common outdoor projects that require a building permit are decks, patios, driveways, pergolas or porches, garages, room additions, steps, pools/spa and roofs or siding .

For interior work, if you need to open walls to add, move or reconfigure gas, plumbing or electrical, you will need a permit. Examples of projects that do not require a permit are replacing windows or doors with windows or doors of the same size, changing flooring, replacing bathroom vanities or kitchen cabinets in the same location or paint or stain.

If you’re ever unsure if your project requires a permit, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and check with us ahead of time. Please call the Community Development Department to inquire at 630-293-2200.

Plan Review

When you apply for a building permit, a trained and certified building inspector will review your application and written plans and/or drawings to ensure your project meets all applicable building codes. The building code refers to a set of rules adopted by the City to ensure that safety, health and quality standards are met for new or renovated structures.

Ultimately, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that he or his contractor obtains a building permit. While it’s okay to allow your contactor to obtain the permit for you, be sure to verify that they have done so. The City issues a brightly colored permit card and you must display it on a front window of your home throughout the construction project.

Zoning code

In addition to the building code review your application will be subject to, your outdoor project often requires a zoning code review. The zoning code refers to a set of rules adopted by the City to manage land use. For homeowners, the city’s zoning code regulates what and where you can build on your property.

The zoning code regulates setbacks for structures, lot coverage and the height of structures. Some of the most common outdoor projects that require a zoning code review are additions, fences, sheds, patios, driveways, garages, pools, and decks. Generally, any outdoor structure, including a driveway, requires a zoning review.


Once your permit has been issued and work has started, the City will require one or more inspections. There is no additional cost for inspections as they are included in the permit fee. Inspections are of the utmost importance, as a trained professional will inspect the work being done to ensure that it is being done according to plan and following the building code. Imagine spending thousands of dollars installing a new deck and it collapsed because some of the bolts weren’t fastened properly!

Inspections can and do prevent a multitude of human errors. Following building codes and obtaining required inspections is necessary to ensure that all life safety requirements are met.

Please visit the city’s Community Development webpage for more information on the application process. Now let’s build!


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