Village of Oak Park says it acted properly ahead of building collapse

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

As reported by Wednesday Journal last week, the Village of Oak Park issued a report Monday, concluding that unpermitted work led to the recent collapse of a building on Harrison Street.

Back in August, the façade of 201-211 Harrison St. unexpectedly came tumbling down, injuring one and leaving three Oak Park businesses unable to operate. After that, the village's building codes advisory commission was tasked with the responsibility of figuring out what went wrong, and what steps village hall can take in the future to avoid a similar situation.

The commission ended up determining that the collapse "was directly caused by unpermitted work that included removing critical masonry support below the steel lintel beam at the top of the storefront windows. This loss of bearing support for the beam caused the beam to be eccentrically loaded by the masonry façade above and ultimately lead to the failure."

Commissioners also came up with a list of steps Oak Park can take in the future, according to a press release. Those include instituting unannounced inspections, requiring contractors to pass a test, increasing penalties for doing work without a permit, and hiring more village staff to enforce codes.

2011 Harrison Street Facade Collapse

Reader Comments

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Frustrated with OP  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 12:11 PM

What does this really conclude? We take more money from the village to conduct their business, for our safety, that we already thought was in place. This is reprehensible. And the businesses are continuing to lose money while these wonks fiddle on. Oh, but let's give millions to heated sidewalks 1 mile away!

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 12:08 PM

O Jerk from OP, if the building on the 100 S. Oak Park avenue collapses, it surely has to be the Village's responsibility this time. There are no supports holding the brick were the lintels have been removed.

O Jerk from OP  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 9:12 AM

"Village panel finds that Village not at fault"... whatever. You don't get to take credit for all the good things that happen (that you had little or nothing to do with) and not get the blame when things go wrong (that are you basic responsibility).

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 18th, 2011 3:11 PM

Building collapses on Oak Park Avenue on the 100 S. Oak Park avenue is a possibility. Brick and lintels have been removed for large openings. No support under the brick can collapse. Why is there no protection provided for people walking by the building on the North alley side? Maybe the Village will be lucky and no collapse but why after Harrison street collapse, the inspectors wouldn't insist support for the brick wall.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 11:32 AM

Oak Park, don't waste your money hiring more people, unless you hire enough to check every structure in Oak Park each day, including weekends. New rule requires all masonry work will require a temporary 4 foot wall built to be set back 8 feet from structure being worked on.

Eye sore   

Posted: November 16th, 2011 9:15 AM

Why didnt the Village shut down the site if they were unpermitted in what they were doing? It cant get any closer to Village Hall.


Posted: November 16th, 2011 9:03 AM

This is a nice job of CYA by the village! The real question here is whether or not they acted properly in dealing with a terrible landlord. On that front, things aren't looking so good. People have been complaining about Kleronomos (sp?) for years. The funny thing is, when I saw the news about the building collapse, I immediately thought it had to do with him. Sadly, I was right...

irritated with ignorance and FACADES!  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 6:58 PM

Really? Now that people are bringing attention to this the Village must do what it is so well known for doing-justifying themselves. If they did nothing wrong ahead of collapse then why are changes being made, why are more village staff being hired to enforce codes, etc? VILLAGE HALL-IF you had no fault in this or other issues there is nothing to fix so you would go on as is. Do you get that? Honestly? You are contradicting yourself!!? You would not be "fixing" if nothing had been broken

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