Business License Inspections

Business Planning StageZoningBusiness LicensingPermittingAdditional Requirements

Business License - Required inspections to obtain new licensing
Certain types of business establishments must go through and pass an inspection from one or more city departments before a license can be issued and, in some cases, to renew an existing license. Inspections include:

Department Type of Inspection What Do Inspectors Check? Additional Materials
Commission on Animal Care and Control Animal-Related Businesses Is the facility right for the activity performed and clean?
Do you have the necessary record and licenses?
Are all animals currently in the possession of the facility are correctly housed and getting appropriate care?

Note: These inspections vary depending on the type of activity the licensee is engaged in, whether it be grooming, boarding, providing veterinary care or acting as a humane society.
Department of Buildings     SIP (Special Inspection Program) Are clients, customers and employees safe?

Example: A building inspector will check to make sure fire separation is included, an adequate number of exits are provided and are not blocked, and that an occupancy sign/drawing is posted, if required.
Electrical Are all equipment installations and electrical work safe and do they follow the Chicago Building Code?  
Plumbing Do all plumbing fixtures have hot and cold running water?
Are fixtures properly trapped and vented?
Are water heaters correctly installed?
Ventilation Do your heating and ventilating systems provide enough fresh air and exhaust?
Are all needed carbon monoxide detectors installed?
Permit Are all construction projects are being done correctly and do they follow the approved permit drawings?  
Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Investigations Are Liquor, PPA and/or Tobacco far enough from restricted areas?

Investigators also inspect interiors of Liquor, PPA and Massage Establishments.
Department of Public Health Health Surveillance Are facilities properly staffed with trained staff?
Are facilities clean, and is the necessary equipment  properly maintained?
Retail Food Health Inspection Guide
Fire Department Fire Prevention Are there functioning sprinkler systems, an illuminated exit sign, properly maintained fire extinguishers, clear and unlocked fire doors and for properly stored  flammable materials? Checklist

Inspections Workshop
"Talk to City Inspectors, Ask Questions, Get Answers" is a special workshop offered on the first Wednesday of every month at City Hall. The workshop is highly recommended for anybody interested in opening a business, especially a business that requires a pre-license inspection by one or more city departments. This workshop will give you an understanding of licensing, permits and inspection requirements for many types of businesses in the City of Chicago such as: restaurants, manufacturing, day care centers, motor vehicle repair shops and many others. The workshop is held at City Hall, Room 805. You can register for the workshop by calling 312-744-2086 or email at


Related Pages
Business Licensing: What Do I Need?
Building Permits - Permits for new building construction, renovations and major repairs

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