Frequently Asked Questions

What codes are enforced by the City of Highland?

The City has adopted many nationally and state recognized codes as a minimum set of standards regulating the construction of buildings and structures.  They are the minimum health and safety regulations for existing and new buildings, structures, and property; and are there to protect you and the general public.  By  constructing to these standards, the health and safety for the occupant is assured and your resale value is enhanced.  While the list may be overwhelming, your choice of a reputable, knowledgeable, and experienced professional architect, engineer, or contractor, should make the process easier.  

Codes currently in effect in Highland include:

  • City of Highland Municipal Code
  • City of Highland Zoning Code
  • City of Highland Land Development Code (Subdivision Code)
  • City of Highland Sign Ordinance
  • City of Highland Floodplain Ordinance
  • 2012 International Building Code
  • 2012 International Family Residential Code
  • 2012 International Fire Code
  • 2012 International Mechanical Code
  • 2012 International Property Maintenance Code
  • 2015 International Energy Conservation Code with Illinois Amendments
  • 2012 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2012 International Existing Building Code
  • 2011 National Electrical Code
  • 2012 National Fire Protection Association Safety Code
  • Latest Edition of the Illinois State Plumbing Code
  • Latest Edition of the Illinois Accessibility Code
  • 2010 Americans with Disibilities Act Standards for Accessible Design 

Who do I contact if I have a question about upgrading plumbing or electrical inside my house?

The City has both Electrical and Plumbing Inspectors on staff.  They are contracted employees and it is best to set an appointment to meet with them to discuss your project.  Call the Building and Zoning Division to set up an appointment at (618)  654 - 7115.

How long does it take to get permanent power installed?

It can take up to 10 working days, depending on several factors such as other scheduled jobs, weather and ground conditions.  A permit is required and your electrical work must have been inspected and passed before requesting a work order to be submitted.  For further information contact either the Building and Zoning Division at (618)  654 - 7115 or the Dept. of Light and Power at (618)  654 - 7511. 

Why do I have to comply with a building setback line in order to build a structure?

The setback lines are required as a portion of the zoning code adopted by the city in 1968.  This code helps prevent overcrowding, provides for air and open space, allows for minimal privacy, and lessens the risk of fire. 

Can I do my own roofing work and is a permit required?  

State regulations allow the owner of the property to do their own roofing work and they do not have to be a licensed roofer.  However, if you hire someone to do the work, then the person hired is required to be licensed by the State of Illinois.

A permit is required for all roofing, be it for residential, commercial or industrial property and the City of Highland does perform inspections of roofing work.  

Does the City of Highland enforce subdivision rules (covenants)?  

The City of Highland does not enforce subdivision covenants or deed restrictions placed on the subdivision by the developer.  As subdivision covenants vary from one development to another, it would be almost impossible for the city to keep up with which rules apply to which subdivision.  What we do enforce, are the City of Highland’s regulations pertaining to the development of a subdivision and the city’s zoning regulations.    

I just bought property in Highland and it has a creek flowing through it and I noticed that there seems to be some junk in the creek.   Will the city come and clean it out?

While creekside property provides much needed greenspace and if wooded, a natural barrier; it does come with  some responsibility.  The City does not own any of the creeks that run through the city, they are owned by the property owners' whose property it transverses.  The city has implemented a clean stream program to assist property owners in clearing obstructions/restrictions in the creek where it crosses their property. Contact Building  and Zoning at (618) 654 - 7115 if you have any questions. 

Is property within Highland located in a Floodplain?

Lindenthal Creek and the Laurel Branch are both included in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and as such, property abutting the creek may be in the floodplain and designated as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).  SFHAs may be subject to inundation of floodwaters during storm events.  The City of Highland is required to regulate any development/construction within the Special  Flood Hazard Area.  Please contact the Building Division at (618) 654 - 7115 if you have any questions.

What is a zoning compliance document?

It is a document (available from the Building and Zoning Division) that the owner or their representative fill out and submit detailing the proposed location of a structure noting distances from property lines.  The document includes a statement to be signed by the owner or his/her representative stating that they will comply with the City's rules and regulations.  City staff will review the document and visit the site. If the site is found to be in compliance with the City's rules and regulations, the owner will be issued a copy of the approved document and construction may begin.

Are building permits required for all residential construction work?   

Typically yes, however permits are not required for following instances:  putting on siding, replacing windows or doors (ARE REQUIRED TO MEET THE 2015 ENERGY CODE REGULATIONS), painting (interior or exterior), installing a satellite TV dish, and installing playground equipment.  Permits are required for the following instances: installing or replacing plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems; installing swimming pools (in ground or above ground), decks, re-roofing, all demolitions, storage sheds and patios (check with the Building Division).  Putting up fencing greater than six (6) feet in height requires a permit while anything less than that requires a zoning compliance document. 

What is the cost of a building permit?  

There are several factors that come into play when figuring the cost of a building permit.  They include: the type of construction, the use group classification , and the square footage; to name a few.  You can get a rough estimate by going to our Additional Forms link web page and following the information and fee schedules found there. 

Are there any regulations that cover fence construction in the City of Highland?

The city have several rules that apply.  Barbwire, razorwire and electronic fences are not permitted.  While we have no regulation that governs fence locations as they apply to boundary lines, we do recommend that you keep all fences off of the property line, a minimum of at least one lawnmower width.  When located near a street intersection, all fences must be under 30 inches tall if to be constructed within 30 feet of the street intersection Right of Way line.  Fences 6 foot tall or less do not require a building permit; you must fill out a Zoning Compliance Document. They must be maintained and cannot block any existing drainage.  If you desire to place a fence in an easement, the city has nothing prohibiting it. Should the City  or other utility service need access to their infrastructure located in the easement, they may remove the fence. The property owner is responsible for re installing their fence.  See section 90 - 208 of the zoning code for additional information concerning fences. 

Who takes complaints about neighboring property?

If the complaint is relative about junk, derelict buildings, or high grass, those complaints are handled by the Building and Zoning Division at (618) 654-7115. 

Who takes complaints about junk vehicles or animal issues?

The Police Department handles animal and junk /derelict vehicle complaints and may be reached at (618) 654-2131.  

Do I need to do anything special to open up a business in my home?  

There are several things to consider including zoning, the Illinois Accessibility regulations,  Off - Street Parking Regulations, Fire Code Regulations, and possibly  Federal or State regulations. We suggest you contact the Building and Zoning Division at your earliest convenience, to discuss your project.

What inspections are required to be done if I am building a structure?

The City of Highland Inspections Services consist of:

Ø      Building Site Inspection (Verifying the project meets the City’s Zoning Regulations)

Ø      Dug Footing Inspection

Ø      Erosion Control (Properly installed and maintained)

Ø      Poured Footing

Ø      Underfloor Slab Inspection

Ø      Underfloor/Underground Electrical  Inspection

Ø      Underfloor Plumbing Inspection

Ø      Foundation Wall Forms (Pre-pour, with steel re-bar in place)

Ø      Foundation Wall Waterproofing (Before backfilling)

Ø      Rough – In Plumbing (Inside the structure)

Ø      Rough – In Wiring

Ø      Rough Frame (After plumbing and wiring rough-in)

Ø      Insulation

Ø      Roof (underlayment - felt, flashing, drip edge, venting) 

Ø      Drywall Inspection (Before mudding) (Both house and garage)

Ø      Electrical Panel / Meter Base Inspection

Ø      Driveway Inspection

Ø      City Sidewalk Inspection

Ø      Final Plumbing Inspection

Ø      Final Electrical Inspection

Ø      Final Building Inspection (Final grading of the lot must be done)