COVID-19-Related Frequently Asked Questions

April 30, 2020

Last updated: April 30, 2020


Is there a list of guidelines that construction sites should be following to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

The Department of Buildings has created a one-page flyer outlining safety guidelines that all workers should follow on active construction sites. Building inspectors are regularly distributing these flyers when they arrive for inspection.


Are inspections still occurring and are permits still required?

Yes.  Building inspectors continue to conduct permit and periodic inspections as well as respond to 311 referrals from residents.  Building permits are still required and failure to obtain the appropriate permits will result in a stop work order. The public can check to see if a certain property has a permit here


What are the remote processes for permits and inspections during Governor Pritzker’s ‘Stay at Home’ Executive Order, now extended to May 31, 2020, and while City Hall is closed to the public?

We continue to process permits and make ourselves available to answer questions and assist you in any way possible. The following protocol is available so you can manage your Department of Buildings needs via a call, email or online.


Can I pay for my permit in-person while City Hall is closed to the public?

While City Hall is closed to the public, cashiers located at the city's 400 West Superior facility may accept payment of fees and print building permits that require in-person payment. Many types of permits can be paid for and printed online, and we encourage use of the online process where available. Cashier hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

If you are visiting the facility, please remember to practice social distancing as an important first step in preventing the spread of a disease like COVID-19.


Have rules for construction hours changed?

No. To assist with social distancing, some contractors are implementing staggered shifts on job sites. However, provisions of the noise ordinance regarding the loading of construction materials (7:00 am to 10:00 pm) and the use of power equipment/tools (8:00 am to 8:00 pm) remain in effect. While people are working from home, contractors should be mindful and respectful of nearby residents, keeping noise and dust down, including no throwing debris out of windows, etc. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be a good neighbor.


What if I want to delay my construction project? How long is my permit valid?

A permit must be paid for within 120 days of the notification that it is ready for payment, and the permit becomes active once payment is received.

You then have six months from the date of payment to "begin" work. (Beginning work is making any alteration to a wall, floor, ceiling, or structural element of the building.) If you need to extend this start date by six months, you can pay a fee equal to 25% of the original permit fee.  

If work has already begun and is put on hold for more than 365 days, the permit must be reinstated (for a fee equal to 25% of the original permit fee) before work can resume.

Please note: different deadlines may apply to projects with special zoning approvals, such as planned developments (PDs), administrative adjustments, or decisions from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).


What is the guidance for maintenance and repair in multifamily residential buildings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Building management and maintenance are also essential services and may continue under the 'Stay at Home' Executive Order. Per the Chicago Department of Public Health, landlords and building management should take the steps outlined on the site to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago.


Will trade license testing be postponed?

Please note the tests for Supervising Electricians and Crane Operators scheduled for May 6, 2020 have been canceled. The future 2020 dates for those exams are highlighted below:

Supervising Electricians - November 4th

Crane Operators - July 8th, Sep 9th, and Nov 4th

For more information on testing, visit Continental Testing Services.

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