Construction and Neighborhood Services Permit Process

Your Responsibilities As A Permit Holder

Be educated and involved! Although you may have hired a contractor to complete the construction on your project, you as the owner will ultimately be held responsible for the compliance and completion of the permit. Make sure that your contractor is giving you copies of all of the inspection reports to ensure that the work is approved before proceeding on to the next phase of work.

When Is A Permit Required?

The City of McHenry requires permits for indoor or outdoor structural work, freestanding structures (such as a fence, shed, garage or pool), or major changes to the living area of a home or business. The permit process ensures that minimum safety standards are met and that construction meets local building and zoning requirements. Make sure you understand the building codes and local ordinances before proceeding with a major improvement project. All commercial work requires a permit.

    Yes, you do need a building permit for the following projects:
  • Construction or replacing a driveway
  • Building or replacing a fence
  • New central air conditioning unit
  • Installing a pool or hot tub
  • Reroof and siding
  • Building a deck
  • Most demolitions
  • Adding a fireplace
  • Adding rooms
  • Replacing an electric stove with a gas model
  • Adding or altering the electrical system
  • Building a shed
  • Replacing windows and/or doors
  • Installing a furnace or water heater
    No, you do not need a building permit for the following projects:
  • Painting exterior or interior walls
  • Installing new flooring or carpet
  • Replacing a faucet or plumbing valve
  • New kitchen cabinets or countertops

Permit Costs

Building Permit fees vary with the type, size and complexity of the project. They are determined using a number of factors that vary from project to project. Contact the Construction and Neighborhood Services Department to obtain a permit cost estimate.

If you are still uncertain as to your need for obtaining a building permit, call the Construction and Neighborhood Services Department at 815-363-2170, and our staff will be happy to assist you.

A Step by Step Guide to the Building Permit Process

Step 1: Review

Review the submittal requirement checklist and make sure you have the correct documentation so you may apply for the permit.

Step 2: Permit Submittal is accepted

Once our Customer Service Representative accepts the permit submittal package, it will be attached and entered into our permit database.

Step 3: Permit submittal distributed for review

Once the permit has been entered into the database, it is transferred to the appropriate departments for review. The plan reviewer is responsible for making sure that the submitted plans meet all City codes and ordinances. Our preferred time frame in completing this step is:

  • Minor permits - five business days
  • New Single Family permits - two weeks
  • Single Family additions - two weeks
  • Commercial/Industrial permits - three weeks
Step 4: Plan Reviewer sends comments to applicant

Once the review is complete, the inspector will forward the comments to the applicant. All of the items listed in the review need to be addressed prior to the permit being issued. If the plans are approved with no items to be resolved, skip to Step 6.

Step 5: Applicant submits review responses to Construction and Neighborhood Services Department

It is the responsibility of the applicant to respond to the review comments in a timely manner, as the permit application will be on "hold" until the responses are received. Once the responses are received, our goal is to re-review them within five business days. Applications that have been dormant for more than 180 days are considered void.

Step 6: Submittals are checked

If all issues are resolved, the permit is then approved and ready to be issued.

Step 7: Fees paid and permit issued

Upon approval, the applicant will be called and notified of the permit fees due. The permit can be picked up Monday through Friday between the hours of 8AM and 5PM in the Construction and Neighborhood Services Department located on the second floor of the Municipal Center. As payment, we only accept cash, personal or business checks. The applicant will receive a copy of the plan review along with a permit card which must be displayed for the duration of the project in a conspicuous place visible from the street.

Step 8: Required Inspections

It is the responsibility of the owner/agent to ensure that all inspections are completed. Please call 815-363-2170 to schedule an inspection. We require the permit number and 24 hours notice when calling for an inspection. Make sure your contractor gives you copies of all the inspection reports to be certain the required inspections are approved before proceeding on to the next phase of the work.

Step 9: Final inspection approved and permit closed

It is the owner/agents responsibility to ensure that all required inspections are completed, approved and the permit closed out. Please contact the Construction and Neighborhood Services Department for a Certificate of Occupancy. We require 48 hours after an approved and final inspection is completed in order to process the paperwork.