Chicago Construction Codes

The Chicago Construction Codes establish minimum standards for the construction, alteration, repair, maintenance, and demolition of buildings and other structures in order to protect public health, safety and welfare. The Chicago Construction Codes include provisions of the Municipal Code of Chicago related to construction and rehabilitation, plumbing, heating, electrical, fire prevention, sanitation, zoning and other health and safety standards relating to buildings and structures, except provisions enforced exclusively by a city department other than the Department of Buildings. 

An electronic copy of the entire Municipal Code of Chicago, including the Chicago Construction Codes, is available from American Legal Publishing. Information on navigating these provisions is found on this page.

The City of Chicago is currently in the middle of a multi-year effort to comprehensively update its construction requirements based on widely-used model codes and standards while maintaining provisions that are well-adapted to local conditons. Phase 2 of Construction Code Modernization will be phased in between June 2019 and August 2020. For more information of Chicago's Construction Code Modernization project, visit: http://www.chicago.gov/content/city/en/depts/bldgs/supp_info/CodeModernization.html.


 

Administrative Provisions of the Chicago Construction Codes (Title 14A)

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Chicago Building Code (Title 14B)

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Chicago Amendments from American Legal Publishing

 

Chicago Conveyance Device Code (Title 14C)

Chicago Amendments from American Legal Publishing

Links to purchase model codes

Chicago Electrical Code (Title 14E)

View full text from NFPA

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Chicago Amendments from American Legal Publishing

 

 INTERIM Chicago Fire Prevention Code (Title 14F)

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INTERIM Chicago Fuel Gas Code (Title 14G)

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INTERIM Chicago Mechanical Code (Title 14M)

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Chicago Energy Conservation Code (Title 14N)

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Chicago Amendments from American Legal Publishing

 

 INTERIM Chicago Plumbing Code  (Title 14P)

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Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code (Title 14R)

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Chicago Amendments from American Legal Publishing

 

Chicago Minimum Requirements for Existing Buildings (Title 14X)

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Purchase print or electronic Chicago Construction Codes bundle from ICC

  

Navigating the Chicago Construction Codes

This section provides a guide to locating provisions on specific topics within the Chicago Construction Codes

Administration
Accessibility
Building (New Construction)
Conveyance Devices (Elevators)
Electrical
Fire Prevention
Fuel Gas
Mechanical
Energy Conservation

Plumbing
Signs
Trade Licenses
Work in Existing Buildings
Minimum Requirements for Existing Buildings
Zoning

 

Administration

Effective July 1, 2019, the Chicago Construction Codes Administrative Provisions are found  in Title 14A of the Municipal Code.

View full text from ICC

Full text from American Legal Publishing

 

Accessibility

The accessibility provisions of the 2019 Chicago Construction Codes (primarily Chapter 14B-11 and Section 14R-3-305) apply to all permit applications started on or after December 1, 2019, regardless of whether the project is electing to follow other provisions of the 2019 Chicago Building Code or Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code (links above). For permit applications started before December 1, 2019, accessibility requirements are found in Chapter 18-11.

Some buildings or projects may also be required to meet additional state or federal accessibility requirements. Existing businesses may also have obligations to provide accessible services under the City of Chicago Human Rights Ordinance (Chapter 2-160). For more information, contact the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD).

 

Building (New Construction)

Pre-2019 Chicago Building Code

The City of Chicago’s pre-2019 requirements for construction of new buildings are primarily found in Title 13 and Title 15 of the Municipal Code. Additional requirements may apply to regulated businesses, and these requirements are found in the applicable business license provisions in Title 4. These provisions remain available for all permit applications started before August 1, 2020.

For users more familiar with the International Building Code (IBC) organization, the Department of Buildings has prepared a table which correlates provisions of the Municipal Code of Chicago to chapters within the Common Code Format topical groups.

2019 Chicago Building Code

Under the Phase 2 Code Modernization Ordinance, the 2019 Chicago Building Code (Title 14B), based on the 2018 IBC, becomes optional for permit applications started on or after December 1, 2019:

View full text of 2019 Chicago Building Code from ICC

Chicago Amendments to 2018 International Building Code from American Legal Publishing

 

Conveyance Devices

Requirements for elevators, escalators, and other conveyance devices are found in Title 14C (effective October 1, 2018). These requirements are partially based on and incorporate provisions of model codes published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and other standards development organizations. These documents are available for purchase from their respective publishers:

Electrical

The Chicago Electrical Code (Title 14E of the Municipal Code) incorporates provisions of the 2017 National Electrical Code, which is published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These provisions are incorporated by reference and not reprinted in the ordinance. A free, read-only document which compiles the model code provisions and amendments adopted by the City of Chicago, hosted by NFPA, can be viewed at: https://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/all-codes-and-standards/codes-and-standards/free-access?mode=view&t=other&c=CHNEC2017. For frequent users of the code, this compiled version of the Chicago Electrical Code is available for purchase from NFPA in various formats.

 

Fire Prevention

Pre-2019 Chicago Building Code (including fire prevention requirements)

Provisions of the Building Code intended to reduce or prevent the risk of fires are found in Title 15. Many of these provisions are jointly administered by the Department of Buildings and Chicago Fire Department.

For more information on provisions administered exclusively by the Fire Department, contact the Fire Prevention Bureau.

2019 Chicago Building Code and Interim Chicago Fire Prevention Code

Under the Phase 2 Code Modernization Ordinance, the 2019 Chicago Building Code (Title 14B) and  Interim Chicago Fire Prevention Code (Title 14F) become optional for permit applications started on or after December 1, 2019.

 

Fuel Gas

Requirements for fuel gas (natural gas) installations are found in Chapter 18-28, Article XIV, and are based on the 2003 International Fuel Gas Code published by the International Code Council (ICC). A copy of the 2003 edition may be purchased from ICC at http://www.iccsafe.org/

These same requirements are referenced in the Interim Fuel Gas Code (Title 14G).

 

Mechanical

Requirements for mechanical heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are found in Chapter 18-28 of the Municipal Code.

These same requirements are referenced in the Interim Mechanical Code (Title 14M).

 

Energy Conservation

Effective June 1, 2019, requirements for energy conservation are found in Title 14N of the Municipal Code and are based on and incorporate the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code, published by the International Code Council (ICC).

View full text of Chicago Energy Conservation Code from ICC

Chicago Amendments to 2018 International Energy Conservation Code from American Legal Publishing

For more information on how to show compliance with these requirements, please visit the Energy Conservation Requriements page.

 

Plumbing

Requirements for plumbing within buildings are found in Chapter 18-29 of the Municipal Code. Additional provisions related to the City of Chicago’s water and sewer systems, including requirements for site stormwater management, are found in Title 11. These provisions are primarily administered by the Department of Water Management (DWM).

These same requirements are referenced in the Interim Plumbing Code (Title 14P).

 

Signs

Sign requirements are found in both the Building Code (Chapter 13-20, Article XIII; Chapter 13-96, Articles I and II) and Zoning Ordinance (Title 17). Electrified and illuminated signs must also comply with electrical requirements in section 14E-6-600.

 

Trade Licenses

Trade licenses administered by the Department of Buildings are regulated by the following provisions of the Municipal Code:

Drain Layers Chapter 4-28 (administered jointly with DWM)
General Contractors Chapter 4-36
Excavators Chapter 4-196
Steam Boiler Erectors and Repairers Chapter 4-266
Crane Operators Chapter 4-288
Electrical Contractors Chapter 4-290
Supervising Electricians Chapter 4-292
Elevator Mechanic Contractors Chapter 4-298
Supervising Elevator Mechanics  Chapter 4-298
Plumbers  Chapter 4-332
Plumber Apprentices  Chapter 4-332
Plumbing Contractors Chapter 4-336
Stationary Engineers  Chapter 4-344
Employing Masons Chapter 4-376
Mason Contractors   Chapter 4-376
Wrecking Contractors   Chapter 4-36, 13-32

 

Note: Expediters are licensed by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) under Chapter 4-6, Article XXV. The Chicago Fire Department also issues various licenses, as provided in Chapter 15-4.

 

Work in Existing Buildings (Repairs, Alterations, and Additions)

Pre-2019 Chicago Building Code

Work in existing buildings, including repairs, alterations, and additions is not required to meet all requirements for new construction as described in Chapter 13-200. Work in existing buildings is also required to meet the applicable energy conservation requirements (see above).

2019 Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code

Under the Phase 2 Code Modernization Ordinance, the 2019 Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code (Title 14R), becomes optional for permit applications started on or after December 1, 2019, and mandatory for permit applications started on or after August 1, 2020.

View full text of the Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code from ICC

Chicago Amendments to 2018 International Existing Building Code from American Legal Publishing

 

Minimum Requirements for Existing Buildings

Minimum standards applicable to all buildings are found in Chapter 13-196. There are also a number of retroactive provisions in Title 15.

NOTE: Under the Phase 2 Code Modernization Ordinance, adopted April 10, 2019, the new Chicago Minimum Requirements for Existing Buildings (Title 14X of the Municipal Code) will supercede existing provisions in the spring of 2020.

 

Zoning

The Chicago Zoning Ordinance is Title 17 of the Municipal Code of Chicago. The Chicago Zoning Ordinance is distinct from the Chicago Building Code and is administered by the Department of Planning and Development, Bureau of Zoning. Additional land use regulations administered by the Zoning Bureau are found in Title 16.

 

Disclaimer: Not all laws applicable to construction and building maintenance are found on this website or in the Municipal Code of Chicago. In some cases, Illinois or federal laws or regulations may impose additional requirements for a project. Please consult an Illinois-licensed architect, engineer, or attorney to determine which laws apply to your building or project.