Building Code Permits and Inspections

The department is responsible for the enforcement of building codes and regulations within the City of Charleston.  The City of Charleston permits and inspects construction within the corporate limits.  The City is a member of the International Code Council and utilizes their family of codes.  This department also issues water and sewer tapping permits before connection to the City mains.

While construction requires a permit, a permit is not required for:

  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, and similar work.
  • Fences six (6) feet in height or less.
  • Prefabricated swimming pools less than twenty- four (24) inches deep.
  • Swing sets and playground equipment at a single family home.
  • Regular repairs and maintenance to any structure, provided the repairs do not include structural elements of the building, changes to means of egress. 
Licenses required:

Except for single-family homeowners working on their personal residence, the City of Charleston requires all electricians to be licensed.  The State of Illinois requires plumbers and roofers to be licensed.

Design Professionals:

The State of Illinois requires that all buildings other than detached single and two-family dwellings on their lot be designed by and the construction plans sealed by an Illinois Licensed Architect, Structural Engineer or Professional Engineer depending on the type of project.  See applicable state statute for more detail.  This is enforced by the State of Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.

Building and Construction Codes used by the City of Charleston: 

  • 2020 National Electrical Code
  • 2009 International Building Code
  • 2009 International Fire Code 
  • 2006 International Residential Code
  • 2009 International Performance Code 
  • 2009 International Existing Structures Code 
  • 2009 International Mechanical Code 
  • 2009 International Property Maintenance Code
  • 2012 International Energy Conservation Electric Code
  • Illinois State Plumbing Code
  • Illinois Accessibility Code
  • City of Charleston Unified Development Code  
Building Permit Process

Are you planning to make improvements to your home, business, or property?
If your home, business or property is located within the city limits of Charleston, you will be required to obtain a building and zoning use permit before starting your project. Click Here for a Permit Application  

Please note: NO DIGITAL SIGNATURE will be accepted.  Please print on 8 ½” X 14” paper, sign and fax to 217.345.7554 or email to

To obtain a Zoning Use Permit (Required for Building Permits also) 

To get a zoning use permit, you will need to, at a minimum provide the following:

  • Completed Building and Zoning Use Permit Form
  • The legal description of the property.  Can usually be found on Property Record Card or Deed
  • Property Tax Identification number for the property
  • Plot/Site Plans Drawn to Scale
  • Floor Plan  (if applicable)
Please note:  If your property is located within a flood zone a sealed survey shall be required indicating the location of the mean high water mark and 100-year flood line.

To obtain a Building Permit
To get a building permit, you must provide the following:
These items are in addition to the Zoning Use Permit information.

  • Plans for the Building.  We have checklists available for different types of buildings; please see the information area in the lobby of the Mayor’s Office.
  • Site Plan for Building Site.  Please see the checklists referenced above.

The City of Charleston inspects building construction and land development projects including grading, driveway and sidewalk construction, installation of water and sewer lines, and landscaping.  All new construction must be inspected by the City of Charleston before a Certificate of Occupancy can be obtained from the Building Department.

Required Inspections

The following are REQUIRED INSPECTIONS for New Buildings - Additions-Renovations-Alterations

Other inspections may be required depending on the scope of the project. Contact the Code Official if you have any questions.  

  • Footing Inspection - Bottom to trench - before the pouring of concrete.
  • Foundation Inspection - before the placement of backfill.
  • Slab Inspection - before the placement of concrete.
  • Electrical Rough Wiring.
  • Plumbing Rough Installation.
  • Framing Inspection - AFTER passing Electrical, Plumbing roughs, and BEFORE insulation.
  • Insulation Inspection  - before the installation of the gypsum board.
  • Final Electric
  • Final Building, Electric, Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing Inspections.
  • All site work, including grading and landscaping.
  • All utility work on a site.
  • All off-site utility work.
  • Water and Sewer line installations and taps.
  • Driveway and parking lots, including striping where applicable.


To apply for a city inspection, call (217) 345-5650, email at, or fax your request to (217) 345-7554.

Please allow 24 hours for inspection.

  • Your request MUST include: Permit #, Address or Subdivision Block and Lot, Name, and Type of Inspection requested. 
  • Call when work is done; do not anticipate!
  • If your inspection is not approved, do not call for a re-inspection until the problems are repaired, and the work is ready for re-inspection.
  • If your inspection is not approved a second time for the same violation, you will receive a Violation Notice. Your next inspection will be three business days after your request.
  • If you have any questions about these procedures, please contact the City Planner at (217) 345-8452 or email at