Romeoville updates building fire code requirements
By Brock A. Stein For The Herald-News September 23, 2011 8:20AM
Updated: November 30, 2011 12:40AM
ROMEOVILLE — Village officials approved changes to their municipal building code after completing a year-long review.
The changes are part of a routine review officials make every three years to codes governing everything from plumbing to electrical requirements in both residential and commercial properties.
Development director Steve Rockwell said that a recent insurance audit showed the village losing points due to the required updates to the building code.
Rockwell noted that some areas of the code, such as the number of occupants a residential home can hold are made clearer under the new amendments.
“It’s always been kind of fuzzy and now it’s very clear,” Rockwell said.
Rockwell said that touring some of the 450 foreclosed homes in the village over the past few years have given the village’s building inspection department plenty of examples of electrical code violations though the updated requirements won’t preclude homeowners from performing their own minor electrical work.
“Homeowners can continue to put in ceiling fans, [and] electrical outlets,” he said, noting that a new electrical service panel will require a licensed electrician to perform the work.
Other changes for new home construction will include the need for sprinkler heads to be located in a home’s furnace and laundry rooms, as well as kitchen. Only older homes undergoing extensive remodeling will be required to install the new sprinkler systems in those areas.
“Those are traditionally areas where fires occur,” explained Fire Chief Kent Adams.
Village Administrator Steve Gulden said officials looked at ways to change the code with public safety in mind while also ensuring that regulations weren’t a burden for residents and business owners.
“It’s a fine balance between life safety and economic hardships,” Gulden said.
Mayor John Noak pointed out that the changes made to codes governing commercial sites like bars, and night clubs would not have to be made unless business owners planned a remodeling that would encompass more than 50 percent of an establishment. He also reiterated that the code changes would not equal a hike in permit costs.
In other business, the village approved an agreement with the Romeoville Professional Fire Fighters Union Local 4237.
Under the new agreement, two part-time firefighters will be promoted from the part-time ranks. The previous agreement required promotions to come from the department’s full-time pool of candidates.
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