The Peoria County Board (PCB) unanimously adopted a new building code recently, affecting standards for construction projects ranging from major commercial rebuilding to minor home remodeling. These new changes to the code will take effect April 1.

The new building code incorporates portions of the following codes: the International Building Code, the International Residential Code, the International Existing Building Code, Property Maintenance Code, the International Mechanical Code, the International Fuel Gas Code, the International Fire Code, the National Electrical Code, and the Illinois Plumbing Code.

These codes classify categories of construction as Levels 1, 2, and 3. Different regulations apply to each level. Minor construction, such as placing floor tiles, was to meet Level 1 building standards. Moderate construction, such as reconfiguration by adding or removing walls, was to meet Level 2 standards. And major construction, which consists of construction work that exceeds 50 percent of the square footage of the home, was to meet Level 3 standards.

The PCB has relaxed the requirements of the model codes by eliminating these three categories. Instead, the new code only requires full building code compliance when the construction cost equals or exceeds 50 percent of the fair market value of the structure. In other words, when the construction constitutes work less than 50 percent of the fair market value of the structure, only the area under construction must meet code requirements, rather than the entire structure.

This permanent alteration allows for leniency for smaller residential and commercial remodeling projects. The county anticipates a two-year initiation period for developers and residents to fully implement these changes.

In addition to the new building code, the PCB also passed a new subdivision ordinance, which carries tougher requirements for water, sewer, and roads in future subdivision developments. This ordinance took more than six months of intense planning and is more than a decade in the making. This project took the collaboration of real estate agents, developers, township officials, and residents, as the land use committee of the PCB heard from several interested parties before drafting the new ordinance.

The revised ordinance includes:

• All new subdivisions must tap into an existing public water supply if within 300 feet; if not available, developments of 20 lots and fewer can apply for a waiver from the PCB. Larger subdivisions must have public or community water supplied by the developer, with no waiver available.

• All subdivisions must connect to a public sewer system if within 2,500 feet of an existing line. If not available, individual sewage disposal systems may be permissible if approved by the Peoria City/County Health Department. Those with 20 or fewer lots can apply for a waiver.

• Owners and developers should keep in mind that if the property is within 1.5 miles of the City of Peoria, the City of Peoria’s zoning and subdivision requirements also may have to be satisfied. IBI