Mayor Lightfoot Introduces Ordinance to Amend Chicago Mechanical Code to Help Reduce Construction Costs, Strengthen and Modernize Environmental and Other Practices

July 21, 2021

Interim amendments proposed while plans are finalized to convene stakeholder advisory group to develop comprehensive revision as part of ‘Modernizing Chicago Construction Codes’ initiative

Mayor’s Press Office    312.744.3334 /

CHICAGO - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Buildings (DOB) today introduced an ordinance with several amendments to the Chicago Mechanical Codes to help reduce construction costs as part of Mayor Lightfoot’s overall strategy to spur reinvestment in all neighborhoods across Chicago. These amendments,
designed as an interim measure while DOB finalizes plans to convene a robust stakeholder advisory group to develop comprehensive Building Code updates, will
also strengthen and modernize environmental and other building practices.

"In order to encourage reinvestment within our communities and especially those on our South and West Sides, we must use every tool at our disposal to generate
economic activity," said Mayor Lightfoot. "This ordinance will serve as one of those tools and is a part of a larger, holistic effort by DOB leadership and industry experts which are aimed at keeping our codes up to date, supporting our sustainability initiatives, and being cost-effective without compromising on safety."
These amendments in conjunction with the 2019 Chicago Building Code and Energy Conservation Code are designed to encourage sustainable economic recovery in the following ways.

  • Standardize method of accepting listed and labeled heating, cooling and ventilation appliances that have been rigorously tested to meet or exceed safety standards.
  • Adopt national standards for the use of energy-efficient condensing clothes dryers for residential applications.
  • Update requirements for exhaust for domestic cooking appliances. 
  • Recognize energy recovery ventilation systems.
  • Update list of recognized refrigerants and refrigerant piping requirements.
  • Streamline trade licensing requirements for stationary engineers.

These efforts represent the next phase of the City’s ‘Modernizing Chicago Construction Codes’ initiative, which has already produced comprehensive revisions
to the Chicago Electrical, Elevator, and Building Codes adopted by City Council in 2017, 2018, and 2019, respectively.

“These amendments are the result of years studying the Chicago Construction Codes and working with industry stakeholders to find ways to reduce construction costs and encourage community reinvestment,” said Building Commissioner Matthew Beaudet. “We remain committed to the Modernizing Chicago Construction Codes initiative and will continue to modernize our Codes, where appropriate.”