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 Mitigation Strategies for Lead Found in Drinking Water

 Indoor Air Quality

The quality of indoor air contributes to a favorable learning environment for children and better productivity for the teachers and other school personnel. Not that the past generations have poor performances, but due to schools getting older and starting to deteriorate, the building walls, mechanical ductworks, peeling paint and other commercial products used that contain asbestos, lead, etc., all contribute to the hazards inhaled by the occupants of the buildings.

"Sick Building Syndrome" is synonymous with Indoor Air Quality. This syndrome occurs when the building occupants experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, itchy skin or other physical complaints which cannot be explained clinically but appear to be caused by the building.

The following are some agents that cause air pollution. Dust generated from dirt, pollen, pet dander or asbestos cause discomfort to the building occupants. Mold and mildew that thrive in humid places or in standing water also pollute the air. Improperly maintained heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems are also breeding places for mold and mildew. Radon emanating from granite, shale and phosphate rocks enter the buildings through openings around floor drains and sump pumps, cracks in floor and walls, and foundations.

Managing indoor air quality by controlling the pollution sources and providing appropriate HVAC systems and careful selection of site and design of a building can be integrated together for a healthy environment.

Additional Resources

 Web-Based Processing System

Web-Based Processing System

The Illinois State Board of Education has developed a new web-based Health/Life Safety (H/L S) Processing System. Via ISBE’sweb portal known as IWAS, the new H/L S Processing System allows users external to ISBE to create and submit ten year survey and amendment data, annual inspection reports, and annual ROE reports for school district buildings maintained in a facility inventory listing.

Health/Life Safety Processing System Instruction ManualPDF Document

There are several key benefits that the H/L S Processing System offers:

  • Freedom of access with the 24/7 ability to create documents, approvals and updates by the Architect, School District, Regional Superintendent and ISBE can occur 24/7.
  • Improved communication due to comment fields, and 24/7 online inquiry of information.
  • Improved coordination between Architects, School Districts, Regional Superintendents and ISBE because documents are easily searched and found, and questions are easily answered by 24/7 inquiry.
  • Enhanced monitoring of document status via detailed electronic tracking of ten year survey and amendment data, annual inspection reports, annual Regional Superintendent reports documents.
  • Time savings provided by various features, including but not limited to:
    • rapid inquiry of information through one stop centralized resource home page, ‘find a document’ tab, various tabs and links
    • easy data entry with pre-populated building and school district fields
    • rapid creation of documents due to copying functions, drop down lists and automatically calculated fields
    • automated creation of the Certificate Need, the Application for Approval
    • cumulative running totals of approved funding and amendment numbers
    • immediate real time approvals and updates to documents
    • Google map of location of each school building in the facility inventory​​​​

 Qualifications to Serve as Plan Reviewers and Inspectors for School Construction Projects

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 reviewer​s 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.

 Forms and Documents

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