On a regular basis, the Palos Park Building Department offers helpful tips, information and valuable advise for your development, construction and remodeling projects.
Better safe than sorry!
One of the most poisonous substances we can touch or breathe every day is lead. It is one of the big three with tobacco and asbestos. Development disabilities, nervous disorders, digestion problems, joint pain – you can learn to recognize the symptoms of lead poisoning by visiting the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Lead Program, http://www.idph.state.il.us/ or 217-782-3517.
We are fortunate that regulations have required the removal of lead from gas, insecticides, toys, stained glass, paint, plumbing, caulk, and other building materials on the market day. However, lead still can be released in a concentrated dust form when doing renovation, repair, and painting in buildings constructed before 1978.
Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act, which authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to do public education and set safety standards. Contractors are now required by EPA to become certified by completing a training course on methods for containing lead-borne dust and debris, and use of the proper tools and techniques when scraping, sanding, heat stripping, sawing and handling.
The Village is not mandated to enforce the new EPA rules, but they are still very important in preventing lead-related illnesses. There are certain exemptions depending on who will be doing the work, the size of the project, and the type of building. It is also possible for a certified inspector to determine if the building is lead free. However, if you’re hiring a contractor to work on buildings built before 1978, you will want them to be EPA certified. There are many excellent resources available from www.epa.gov/lead and www.idph.state.il.us or 217-782-3517.
Tips for Hiring a Contractor
Remodeling or building an addition or deck?
Here are some tips from your Building Department:
Get all estimates and warranties in writing.
Do not be induced by high pressure sales tactics, such as special prices if you sign a contract today.
Take time to check references. Ask for at least 3 references – one for a project that is current or recently completed. Another completed about a year ago and one from at least 2-3 years ago. Call these references and ask how satisfied they were with the workmanship, if work was completed in the estimated time, and if any warranty work was required.
Check with the Better Business Bureau regarding any complaints. Access their website http://chicago.bbb.org
Never sign a contract with blank spaces or one that you do not fully understand. If you are taking a loan to finance the work, do not sign the contract before lender approves it. Important: Mail signed contract to contractor’s address and verify receipt.
You have 3 business days from the time you sign to cancel any contract if the sale is made at your home. The contractor cannot deprive you of this right by initiating work, selling your contract to a lender, or any other tactic.
Ask your contractor if they are registered with the Village. Call the Building Department at 708-671-3733 to verify registration. You must provide the Building Department a brief description of the proposed project to determine whether a permit is required. If a permit is not required, the contractor still must be registered with the Village. If a permit is required, you or your contractor must obtain and post it in plain view prior to commencing any work.
Basic Terms to be Included in a Contract:
Contractor’s full name, address, and telephone number. Illinois law requires that persons selling home repair and improvement services provide their customers with notice of any change to their business name or address that occur prior to the agreed dates for beginning or completing the work.
A description of all work to be performed.
Starting and estimated completion dates.
Total cost of work to be performed.
Schedule and method of payment, including down payment, subsequent payments, and final payment. Important: Owner should request material and labor waivers for work performed when requested to make subsequent payments. You should always receive final waivers for labor and for all materials delivered to your home from non-contracted sources such as ready-mix, lumber, roofing suppliers, etc. when making final payments. The waivers serve as proof that payment was made by your contractor for all labor and materials used on your project and will protect you from liens against your property.
A provision stating grounds for termination of the contract by either party. The homeowner must pay the contractor for any work completed. If the contractor fails to commence or complete work within the contracted time period, the homeowner may cancel and be entitled to a refund of any down payment or other payments made toward the work upon written demand by certified mail.
Always keep a copy of the signed contract in a safe place for reference as needed.
It is important that you know your consumer rights in regard to home repairs. Ask the Building Department for a copy of Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan’s pamphlet titled “HOME REPAIR – Know Your Consumer Rights.”
For more information, contact the Building Department at (708)671-3730 or http://chicago.bbb.org
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
It saves lives!
When the alarm goes off, know your best escape path, get all of the occupants to fresh air, then call 911. You will not see it, smell it, or feel it right away, but if inhaled in sufficient concentrations, this poison can cause headache, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, collapse, and death.
It is a common byproduct of burning and can spread throughout your house from a malfunctioning furnace, water heater, some appliances, fireplace, and clogged vents and chimneys. These vital devises are small, affordable, easy to install, and are available at all local home improvement stores. Various models have different features such as audible and visual alarms, ac powered (connected to your home electrical system), dc powered with batteries, variable control of volume patterns and sensitivity, interconnection to other alarms and monitoring stations and companies, and user-testing.
You may want to consult Underwriters Laboratories (UL) as a source of information at www.ul.com. They have advice on what features to look for. They also have information videos and brochures. They do performance tests of various products and they list, or endorse, models with proven high quality and reliability. Lower quality detectors often will have nuisance or false alarms that are tripped by low levels of CO2 or other vapors such as ammonia.
Better to be safe than sorry – retrofit your house. If you hire a contractor, make sure he or she is licensed with the Village and gets all necessary permits. The Village of Palos Park has adopted the 2005 National Electrical Code and it requires at least one combination carbon monoxide and smoke detector on each level of new homes. If you need more information, please contact the Building Department.
Plumbers Letter of Intent Requirements
PLUMBERS’ INFORMATION SHEET AND LETTER OF INTENT
This Information Sheet gives a summary of the requirements and procedures of the Village.
Village Code requires that plumbing contractors register with the Village. Plumbers are to include a copy of their valid Plumber’s License issued by the State of Illinois or the City of Chicago along with a completed Village of Palos Park Contractor Registration Application, a signed Code of Conduct Acknowledgement form and a Certificate of Liability Insurance. Please read the Registration Application for any additional requirements. Applications can be downloaded from the Village website at www.palospark.org, sent to you by fax or email, or picked up at the Village Hall.
Pursuant to State Statute 225 ILCS 320/37, “A letter of intent shall be included with all plumbing permit applications. The letter shall be written on the licensed plumber of record’s business stationery and shall include the license holder’s signature and, if the license holder is incorporated, the license holder’s corporate seal. If the license holder is not incorporated, the letter must be notarized.”
The letter of intent should specify the address of the intended job and the full name of owner of said property. A brief description of the work to be performed and a starting date for work to be performed.
Effective March 2013 the Village of Palos Park Adopted the 2011 National Electric Code (NEC)
Please note the following 2011 NEC Code Provisions that must be followed when doing work within the corporate limits of the Village of Palos Park. Any questions should be referred to the Electrical Inspector at 708-671-3730.
• Grounding wire connected to a grounding electrode by mean of acorn must be grounded to the grounding bar in the meter enclosure continue to a bonding bushing and terminated at the bus bar on the line side of service enclosure.
• Underground metal water piping must be bonded at service panel cabinet continue to street side of water meter then jumped from house side to street side.
• Service panel and all sub-panels must be clearly labeled.
• Wire fill must comply for outlet box size or deep outlet box shall be installed. (Wire fill shall not be over maximum number of conductors per code.) Refer to Table 314.16 A in 2011 NEC
• All receptacles in dwellings must be tamper resistant and self-grounding type or green grounding conductor must be used. See Article 406.12 in 2011 NEC
• Kitchen Island and peninsulas must have G.F.I. protected receptacles.
• All receptacles in kitchen must be G.F.I protected (not behind built-in units or refrigerator).
• Front and rear outside of a dwelling unit must have a weather-proof G.F.I. protected receptacle. See Article 210.52(E)(1) in 2011 NEC
• Each bathroom and powder room must have separate circuit 20 amp, G.F.I. protected receptacle. (May share with other baths, no other outlets on this circuit.)
• Any bathroom that has a motorized unit, for example a sauna, spa, whirlpool, etc., must have the lighting fixtures in that room G.F.I. protected. This G.F.I protections shall be independents of the required 20 amp G.F.I. protected receptacle circuit. See Article 680.43 (B) in 2011 NEC
• Smoke detectors are required in all bedrooms and combination carbon monoxide/smoke detectors in adjacent halls. Minimum of 1 combination carbon monoxide/smoke detector on all levels.
• All dwelling room outlets must have arc-fault protection. (Smoke/Carbon monoxide detector or fire alarm wiring outlets must be on their circuit). See Article 210.12 (A) in 2011 NEC
• No bare incandescent lamps in clothes closets. See Article 410.16(b) in 2011 NEC
• Sump pump receptacle on single receptacle. (Not G.F.I. protected). All other unfinished basement receptacles must be G.F.I. protected. See Article 210.8 (A) (5) in 2011 NEC
• All recessed type fixtures must be Type I.C. See Article410.116 (2) in 2011 NEC