This informational guideline has been developed to identify the minimal submittal requirements for a permit application for tents, membrane structures and/or air structures larger than 120 sq. ft. The information provided contains, and is not all-inclusive to, the City of Wheaton’s adopted Building Codes, Ordinances, and inspections required for this type of project. Please review this information and call the phone numbers provided should you have any questions.

Amusements, such as carnivals and fairs, require a special use permit and approval from City Council; therefore, you must contact the Wheaton Police Department at 630-260-4861, a minimum of thirty (30) days prior to the event.

Associated Documents
All associated documents are provided below.

Required Submittals
The following documents need to be submitted to initiate a review of your project:

  1. Building Permit Application
    Provide Building Application for Permit that includes: site address, description of work, contractor(s), the total cost of work to be performed, permit applicant contact information, etc.
  2. Plat of Survey
    Provide a Plat of Survey indicating the location of the tent with dimensions to all structures within (30) feet, as well as roads, driveways, and/or parking lots.
  3. Plans
    Provide detail of tent interior identifying arrangement of exits, isles, tables and chairs, booths, seating capacity, fire extinguisher, smoke detector locations, and portable toilets.
  4. Diagram
    Provide a staking diagram from the tent manufacturer.
  5. Flame Resistant Certification
    Provide a flame-resistant certification for tent fabric (or air-supported structure). Fabric certification shall identify the following information:
    1. Names and addresses of the owners of the tent or air-supported structure.
    2. The date the fabric was last treated with a flame-resistant solution.
    3. Trade name or kind of chemical used in treatment.
    4. Name of person or firm treating the material.
    5. Name of testing agency and test standard by which the fabric was tested (NFIPA 701).
  6. Electrical Lighting
    If temporary electrical lights or receptacles are proposed, submit a plan of fixture locations, supply source, overhead clearances. See Contractor Registration Guidelines for information regarding the electrician.
  7. Manufacturer’s (for Heaters) Cut Sheet
    Submit a manufacturer’s cut sheet of any temporary heating equipment for City of Wheaton approval. If portable heaters are utilized, they shall be inspected daily when in use by a qualified person representing the owner and any defects must be corrected before the public is admitted. Only labeled heating devices shall be permitted.

Significant Codes - Building
The provisions of this section shall apply to tents, membrane structures, and other structures erected for a period of less than ninety (90) days.

  1. The proximity of tent to other structures shall be in conformance with IBC 2003 Table 602.
  2. Call J.U.L.I.E. prior to driving stakes at 1-800-892-0123 or 811.
  3. Tent stakes, adjacent to any means of egress from any tent open to the public, shall be railed off, capped or covered in such a manner as to not present a hazard to the public.
  4. Travel distance inside the tent along the normal path of travel shall not exceed 100 feet per Table 3103.4.
  5. Exit discharge: all structures shall have at all times ample and unrestricted exit discharge to the public ways at no less than two (2) points remote from each other. An available park, field or open space may be approved as a public way. If required exits from structures do not discharge directly into a street or open space leading to a street, unobstructed lanes suitable to accommodate the occupant load shall be maintained from such exits to the street at all times while all such structures are occupied by the public.
  6. International Fire Code 2003 Edition 2403.9. Tents, canopies or membrane structures and their appurtenances shall be adequately roped, braced and anchored to withstand the elements of weather and prevent against collapsing. Documentation of structural stability shall be furnished to the fire code official on request
  7. International Fire Code 2003 Edition 2403.12.3. Exit openings from tents. Exit openings from tents shall remain open unless covered by a flame-resistant curtain. The curtain shall comply with the following requirements:
    1. Curtains shall be free sliding on a metal support. The support shall be a minimum of 80 inches (2032 mm) above the floor level at the exit. The curtains shall be so arranged that, when open, no part of the curtain obstructs the exit.
    2. Curtains shall be of a color, or colors, that contrast with the color of the tent. Exit doors shall swing in the direction of exit travel. To avoid hazardous air and pressure loss in air-supported membrane structures, such doors shall be automatic-closing against operating pressures. The opening force at the door edge shall not exceed 15 pounds (7 kg).
  8. Smoking shall not be allowed in any tent or temporary membrane structure.
  9. Portable fire extinguishing equipment shall be furnished and maintained in tents and temporary membrane structures by the person(s) operating any assembly occupancy in such amount and in such locations as directed by the authority having jurisdiction and must provide one (1) rated fire extinguisher 2A:10B: C for every 3,000 square feet floor area with maximum 75 feet travel distance from any point to the nearest fire extinguisher. IFC, 2003, 2404.12.
  10. Any electrical system and equipment shall be isolated from the public by proper elevation or guarding and all electrical fuses and switches shall be enclosed in approved enclosures. Cables on the ground in areas transverse by the public shall be placed in trenches and protected by approved covers.
  11. The ground enclosed by any tent or temporary membrane structure and for a reasonable distance, but not less than 10 feet outside of such structure, or structures, shall be cleared of all flammable or combustible material or vegetation. This work shall be accomplished to the satisfaction of the authority having jurisdiction.
  12. International Fire Code 2003 Edition 2404.8 Fireworks. Fireworks shall not be used within 100 feet (30 480 mm) of tents, canopies or membrane structures.
  13. Toilets - Provide location and number of accessible and regular toileting and handwashing facility units. The total number of sanitation shall be based upon Appendix A 890, Table B.:
    1. 100 occupants load requires:
    2. Men’s - 1 water closet plus 1 urinal, and 1 lavatory.
    3. Women’s - 2 water closets, and 1 lavatory.
  14. CAUTION: Many of the tent manufacturers often indicate that tents should not be occupied when winds are greater than 40 mph and/or if there is rain or lightning. It is the permit holder’s responsibility to be aware of the manufacturer’s usage recommendations and to provide evacuation directions, if necessary.

The inspections listed below are required prior to opening the tent(s) for public use. If additional inspections are required, they will be identified at the time of permit issuance.

  1. Location of Other Structures (30 Feet) and Overhead Electrical
  2. Isles and Exits
  3. Temporary Electric
  4. Extinguishers at Exits
  5. Combustibles or Heat Source Hazards

To schedule an inspection, please call 630-260-2050 a minimum of 24 hours in advance, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.

Permit Fees
For associated Building fees, please refer to Appendix B7 Fee Schedule per the Wheaton City Code - Building Fee Schedule.

Contact Us
City of Wheaton Building & Code Enforcement Department
Address: 303 W. Wesley Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: 630-260-2050
Fax: 630-260-2195 (contractor registrations, certificates of insurance & bonds)

Business hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Revised 2/8/2012