The government isn’t out to make our lives difficult! Sure, they denied my deck permit, but let’s face it: city laws exist for a reason. Don’t we all question the city for causing delays at some point? Yet, we all dream of having that perfect porch to relax on after a long, hard day.

However, let’s not overlook the crucial aspect of porch maintenance. Many of us are unaware of the numerous porch collapses that have occurred in Chicago. If you knew about these incidents, you’d think twice before dismissing regulations or blaming the government for your inconveniences.

Indeed, these laws serve to protect you. Did you know that a 2015 study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed that deck collapses since 2003 have sent over 6,000 people to emergency rooms? On top of that, these accidents have tragically claimed around 29 lives.

So, that rooftop deck you cherish so much can become a hotspot for severe and even fatal accidents if you’re not careful. Ignoring building guidelines for porch violations can lead to consequences far more severe than just financial costs. Therefore, it’s absolutely vital to follow these rules.

History of Porch Violations – Porch Collapses In Chicago That Send Shivers!

Until you fully grasp the serious consequences of porch violations, you won’t understand the weight of the situation. It’s just human nature to be a little oblivious at times! However, if you think porches can never be dangerous, the following incidents will quickly change your mind!

2003 Chicago Balcony Collapse

On the tragic day of June 29, 2003, a party was in full swing on a porch at the back of an apartment building in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Suddenly, the rooftop deck collapsed, resulting in the devastating loss of thirteen lives and injuring many others.

At the time of the incident, about 50 people were partying on the top wooden balcony. Then, without warning, the balcony gave way, starting with a splintering wood sound from the third-floor balcony and cascading down to affect the second and first-floor balconies as well. This sequence trapped several people under the debris.

Further investigations revealed multiple porch violations and construction errors, pinpointing them as significant contributing factors to the collapse.


A History Of Porch Violations


Porch Collapse In Highland Park

On May 26, 2018, Robert and Jeollen Powell, along with their 19-year-old daughter Clair, were enjoying the day on the second-story porch of the apartment they were renting in Highland Park. Suddenly, a section of the porch collapsed, causing them to suffer multiple injuries and fractures to their torso, skull, and ankle.

Further investigations uncovered that the porch, which had been constructed in 1999, had support members that had rotted over time. It became evident that the accident could have been prevented through proper maintenance of the porch.

Porch Collapse In Andersonville

On June 10, 2018, a similar accident occurred when a porch collapsed during a party. Approximately 20 people were on the deck located on the 5400 block of North Ashland Avenue when it gave way and collapsed onto the porch below.

Three individuals suffered severe injuries during the incident, including head traumas and fractures of the leg and wrist. Fortunately, there were no fatalities. The investigations into the incident revealed that the porch supports had rotted, leading to the collapse.

Collapse In Morgan Part Neighborhood

On June 6, 2019, a porch in the Morgan Park neighborhood collapsed, causing severe injuries to two women and two children. The porch in the Morgan Park neighborhood collapsed on June 6, 2019, resulting in severe injuries to two women and two children.

The incident took place in the 11700 block of South Church Street, where two adults and two children fell approximately 10-12 feet. Two adults and two children fell approximately 10-12 feet in the incident that occurred in the 11700 block of South Church Street.

They were immediately taken to the hospital with critical injuries. Emergency responders immediately took them to the hospital with critical injuries.

Collapse In West Town Neighborhood

On June 13, 2020, a porch collapse in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago left two men injured. The incident took place in the 400 block of North Armor Street. One of the men, who was grilling on the deck at the time of the accident, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Fortunately, his condition later stabilized.

A History Of Porch Violations in chicago

Consequences Of Porch Violations

You must have noticed a drastic increase in news related to Chicago porches in local newspapers. Local newspapers have been reporting a significant rise in incidents and injuries related to Chicago porches.

The Chicago Building Department inspectors have been prompted to be even more vigilant due to the many accidents and injuries. The many accidents and injuries have prompted the Chicago Building Department inspectors to increase their vigilance.

They now scrutinize porch architectural drawings even more closely. The inspectors now closely scrutinize porch architectural drawings.

Think about it. You construct a deck on your property to have leisurely time with your family. You host friends over and enjoy great fun grilling chicken and goofing around. All of a sudden, you hear a strange noise, and before you realize it or can even comprehend what has happened, the deck collapses. Your friends and family get trapped under the debris and suffer severe injuries.

It sounds scary, doesn’t it? This is what happens when you are not careful with porch construction. And the worst part is yet to come. When the insurance company discovers that the deck collapsed because substandard materials were used or you did not have a permit for it, you will not be compensated for the damages.

The result? You have to pay for expensive medical treatments, repairs, and even face fines for violating the City’s codes. All of this could be avoided if you simply consult the right people for your porch construction.

We understand that no one likes being told what to do, and you definitely do not want someone telling you how to spend your money. But lives are at stake here. When you try to cut costs during porch construction, you compromise its sturdiness and durability. And this is something the City cannot allow.

Also Read: Importance Of Avoiding Porch Violations: What You Must Know?

Results of Porch Violations

So what can be the result if you are found guilty of porch violations?

      • Your project will be immediately shut down, and work cannot be resumed until further notice.

      • You will have to pay a heavy fine for the violations

      • You will need the services of an experienced attorney to deal with the citation

      • Furthermore, you will have to work hard to get a permit and this time will have to face an even more strict inspection

      • You will have to look for a new contractor who will abide by the City’s codes

      • Also, you will face regular inspections and sometimes might even be asked to take apart some portions

      • You have to invest in expensive repairs or, worse, demolish everything and pay for the whole project to start from the stretch.

    Remember, you must adhere to the Chicago building code regardless of the size and extent of your deck because porches are no different than other structural components of a building. Accidents can happen at any time, and it is your responsibility to minimize the risk.

    Importance Of Porch Maintenance

    You are not the only one who feels that building permit regulations are a hassle. Indeed, they can be quite time-consuming. But here is what you need to remember: these codes have been developed for your safety and not to make your life difficult.

    The purpose of these building guidelines is to keep you safe and prevent significant damage to your property. In Chicago, porch collapses can often be attributed to violations. People do not build them according to structural standards or fail to maintain them properly.

    Surely, you do not want anyone to sustain significant injuries due to your negligence. By investing in porch maintenance, you protect yourself from getting on the wrong side of the law. Additionally, it saves you a significant amount of money in the long run.

    Obtaining a proper permit puts you in the clear. If you decide to sell your property in the future, you will have sufficient documentation to increase your property’s value.

    Importance Of Porch Maintenance

    Why Trust A Professional For Deck Construction?

    If you want to make the most of everything porches can offer, hiring a professional is your best bet. You need someone who will follow all the local permit processes and regulations, someone who will know what you are looking for and align your requirements with the City’s codes.

    Hiring someone who doesn’t follow permit and inspection requirements can land you in great trouble. Are you still wondering about the benefits of hiring the best contractor for your rooftop deck? Here are some factors that will help make your mind.

    Quality Maintained

    Before the deck construction begins, a lot has to be taken into account. If you want to have a high-quality deck, you need the right materials, tools, and equipment. And these are things you only get with a professional.

    A professional porch builder will ensure that the deck is structurally safe and sound. At the same time, they won’t compromise on the aesthetics. So you will get the best of both worlds!

    Limited Time

    We know you can’t wait for your deck to be ready! This is where a professional can help you out. They will get the job done faster. After all, it’s what they do!

    They know the kind of plan that will get you the permit in a jiffy. Additionally, since they will be complying with the City’s codes, there’s little chance of your project being halted too. Everything will go on smoothly if you have a pro on board!

    Much-Needed Warranty

    The most significant benefit of hiring a reliable deck builder is that you will receive a warranty. Porch maintenance won’t seem such a challenge now! If you feel something is amiss, you can get them to inspect the site without any worries.

    The warranty may also protect you from bearing expenses for porch damages due to weathering or natural disasters.

    It’s Time For Creativity

    Everyone desires their deck to have a certain appearance. But a professional will guide you on how to make your porch unique and practical. They will ensure the porch matches your vision while adhering to the building regulations.

    If you are unsure about your preferences, the professional will present you with some incredible options to consider.

    Experience Counts

    A professional deck builder has enough experience to navigate through the whole process smoothly. They know the tricks of the trade. Therefore, they will be able to ensure there are no hiccups or unwanted delays in your project.

     Save Money!

    Yes, believe it or not, hiring a professional can actually save you money in the long run! By doing things correctly from the start, you’ll avoid shelling out for expensive repairs later.

    Porch Maintenance: Do not Take it Lightly

    We’ve only touched on a few porch collapses in Chicago, but numerous similar incidents have resulted in lost lives and severe injuries. Since the 2003 tragedy, the city has ramped up its focus on building guidelines and has taken strict actions against violators.

    Yes, the approval process for rooftop decks and balconies has grown more complex, and construction costs have also risen significantly. In fact, the price tag for a new porch is now about 30% higher than it was before the 2003 incident. Plus, the construction timeline has extended.

    Despite these challenges, these stringent measures and guidelines have made our porches much safer. They now last longer and are less prone to accidents. The city’s strict stance on porch violations serves a critical purpose: to ensure citizen safety.

    Expect the permit process for building a porch to take up to two months, and prepare for your design to undergo thorough scrutiny. Your site will also face frequent inspections. However, if you adhere carefully to all the regulations, you can rest assured that you’ve taken essential safety steps. These strict laws have also pushed builders to be more meticulous with their architectural drawings and plans.

    Having a reliable porch builder on your side simplifies the whole process. They’ll focus on the details, help you with permits, and create a design that both appeals to you and meets the city’s codes.

    If you’re looking for a sturdy and safe porch that’s compliant with Chicago’s laws, look no further—City Porches is here to help!

    Let the numerous porch collapses in Chicago be a lesson to us all. It’s high time we put an end to violations and make the city safer, and we’re here to help you do just that!

    City Porches provides a yearly maintenance program, regardless of whether we or another company built your porch. Our comprehensive program features annual check-ups, power washing, staining, and on-site visits to address any concerns you may have throughout the year. We’ll tailor the maintenance program to fit your specific needs. To find out more, reach out to Zoe at!

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