In response to Public Act 094-0973 the Illinois State Board of Education has established requirements for the qualifications of individuals who serve as plan reviewers and inspectors for school construction projects.
School buildings and their repair is a concern that dates back to 1825, when the Free School Act charged local voters of districts to “…make such regulations for building and repairing school houses as they may think necessary….” Then in 1874, in response to the Chicago fire, the legislature passed The Public Building Egress Act, an act to regulate egress from public buildings.
In 1915, the Safety and Sanitation Law required the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction “to prepare specifications for minimum requirements for heating, ventilation, …and safety against fire.”
It was the tragic fire at the Our Lady of the Angels School in 1958 that led to the establishment of the Code drafting committee. In 1963, the State Superintendent issued Circular Series A-157 (Part 185), entitled, “Building Specifications for Health and Safety in Public Schools” and Circular Series A-156 Part 175), entitled, “Efficient and Adequate Standards for the Construction of Schools.” Currently Part 180, entitled “Health/Life Safety Code for Public Schools” is in effect for new schools.
In the 1970’s, Section 17-2.11 of the Illinois School Code was amended to authorize the sale of bonds for Fire Prevention and Safety purposes.
In the 1980’s, Section 2-3.12 of the Illinois School Code was amended to require a “re-survey” of schools. Section 17-2.11 was again amended to add to the list of uses of Fire Prevention and Safety tax: the reconstruction, or when necessary, construction of new buildings and asbestos abatement.
In the 1990’s, Section 2-3.12 and numerous related sections of the School Code dealing with Health/Life Safety and Fire Prevention and Safety financing were revised. Once again, Section 17-2.11 was amended to authorize the use of Fire Prevention and Safety tax for handicapped accessibility.
Effective September 25, 2007, the revised Health Life Safety Code for Public Schools Part 180, requires that Plan Review Records, which are written records of the evaluation of construction documents that are used to determine compliance with the codes that apply to a particular project, be reviewed by the regional superintendent prior to the issuance of a building permit. The Plan Review Records for each code that applies to the project must be signed and dated by design professionals or qualified plan reviewers. In order for an individual other than a design professional to serve as a qualified plan reviewer, he or she must first make application with the Illinois State Board of Education.
In addition, the revised rules require that Called Inspection Records, which are forms used during a called inspection to capture information regarding compliance and noncompliance with approved construction documents, be reviewed by the regional superintendent prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. The Called Inspections Records must show the design professional or qualified inspector's signed authorization to proceed after each phase of construction. In order for an individual other than design professionals to serve as a qualified inspector, he or she must first make application with the Illinois State Board of Education.