Zoning & Building Safety:


Zoning and Building Safety Department

Building Permits

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 the that looks at what codes we have adopted and the process for how they are enforced. This review can have an affect on your home owners 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.

Fees vary with the value of the work being done using contractors bid 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 & Building Department at 309-558-3771. Discuss your plans with the building inspector before you begin construction to determine whether you need a permit.

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)
  • HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems)
  • 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:
  • 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.

Back to top

The Permit Process:

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.

Below 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 and 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 & 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 Document of inspections.

Step 5: Construction is approved and 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.

Back to top

Permit Fees

Rock Island County uses a Fee Schedule PDF Document based on national averages including labor and materials or the contractors bid. Plumbing and Gas inspection fees are $12.00 per opening. Specialty items such as demolitions, manufactured home placement, moving of buildings, signs, and  wind & 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 bid or national averages, including labor. Persons not obtaining a permit PRIOR to beginning a project shall be charged double. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Submittal Requirements For Plan Review

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 shuold 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:

  • Application
    • 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 (2) 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 fire walls, 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 & 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 and Two Family Dwellings

All plans shall include the following information:

  • Application
    • 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 info;
    • Full List of Subcontractors: Company Name, Contact Information, must be registered and have appropriate licenses;
    • Decription of Building: # of bed and bath, foundation type, # of stories, Total Square Footage including basement;
    • Architect and/or Engineer Registration Number for Illinois (if applicable);
  • Two (2) 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 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 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 (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 if using the UA-trade off approach (www.energygcodes.gov) 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 applicaable;
  • Signed contract with bid price.

If you have any questions regarding the information provided on the pages for the Rock Island County Zoning & Building Office, feel free to call our office at (309) 558-3771 or send us an  e-mail Click to send e-mail.

Back to top

Rock Island County Office Building (map ExternalLink.gif)
1504 Third Avenue, Room 305, Rock Island IL 61204-8624
Phone: (309) 558-3771      Fax: (309) 786-4456

      Hours: 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM - Monday thru Friday
Inspectors are in the field from 9:30 AM until 3:00 PM