Judy Frydland serves as the Commissioner of the Department of Buildings for the City of Chicago.
The Department of Buildings is a 285‐person department with an annual budget of $37 million. The DOB enhances safety and quality of life for residents and visitors of the City of Chicago through permitting, inspections, trade licensing, and enforcement of the Chicago Building Code.
Since Commissioner Frydland’s appointment in 2015, the Department has implemented multiple reforms that have streamlined the permit process for all building projects, from single-family home renovations to large-scale developments, making it quicker and more efficient to obtain a permit than ever before. In 2017, the Building Department issued a record 48,408 permits and the pace has continued. Under her leadership, the Department is modernizing City code to align with national and international standards, while maintaining parts of the existing code that are adapted to Chicago’s environment and urban density. In 2017 Chicago became one of the first major cities to align with the National Electrical Code. In 2019 the city adopted the first full rewrite of the Chicago Building Code in 70 years, making Chicago one of the first major jurisdictions in the U.S. to align with the 2018 International Building Code.
Prior to joining the Department of Buildings, Ms. Frydland spent 25 years in the Chicago Law Department working with various city departments, community groups and other stakeholders on the enforcement of building code, municipal health and business license regulations. In her role as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Building and Licensing Enforcement, Ms. Frydland enforced the city’s vacant building ordinance and implemented strategies aimed to preserve the city’s housing stock, closed down and revoked licenses for problem businesses engaging in criminal activity, actively preserved occupied residential buildings through circuit court litigation and city programs, aggressively prosecuted illegal signs and dangerous and hazardous rooftop water tanks, as well as enforced the Life Safety Evaluation (LSE) requirements for pre-1975 high-rise buildings.
Commissioner Frydland is the recipient of the 2018 “Labor Person of the Year” award from IBEW Local 134 and the 2018 “Building Industry Woman of the Year in Construction” award from the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago.
Ms. Frydland graduated from I.I.T. Chicago Kent College of Law, was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1990 and is a current member of the Chicago Bar Association. Ms. Frydland earned her law degree while working as a social worker and assistant administrator in a nursing home. Ms. Frydland also has a Master’s Degree in Community Health Care Planning and Administration.