Countdown to the Express Permit Program

November 2, 2023

Dear Chicagoan,

As part of Mayor Johnson’s commitment to making the building permit process quicker and more user friendly for all Chicagoans, the Department of Buildings is very excited to launch our new Express Permit Program on Monday, November 6. We will send an email on Monday when the system is live. As we prepare for the launch, this message contains some important things for you to know.

I am grateful to the Department's dedicated employees and all of our industry and community partners for their input and support on these improvements.


Matthew Beaudet
Building Commissioner

What is the Express Permit Program?

The Express Permit Program will provide a fast, web-based way for homeowners, businesses, and other building owners/tenants (and the contractors who work with them) to obtain building permits needed to repair or replace existing features of a building or undertake specific small improvement projects, such as adding residential solar panels. It will replace the paper-based “easy permit,” “short form,” and “solar express” permit programs.

What isn’t changing … yet?

The Express Permit Program won’t change the existing application processes for electrical-only permits, plan-based building permits, sign permits, conveyance device (elevator) permits, fire alarm permits, sewer- or water-connection permits, or demolition (wrecking) permits. Stay tuned for announcements about changes for these permit types in 2024.

How can I learn more?

The Department of Buildings is offering free public webinars demonstrating the Express Permit Program website on Tuesday, November 14, and Thursday, November 16. Registration details for these webinars will be included in the email on Monday. Special thanks to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Business Education program for helping us to host these webinars.

Winding down the Easy Permit Program

New “easy permit,” “short form,” and “solar express” applications will not be accepted after 4:00 p.m. on November 2, 2023. For pending easy permit applications, you will have until Friday December 29, 2023, to complete the permitting process.

On Friday, November 3, only limited in-person services will be available at City Hall as most staff will be preparing for a successful launch of the Express Permit Program on Monday.

Licensed contractors and design professionals—new account creation

If you are a Chicago-licensed electrical contractor, general contractor, mason contractor, or plumbing contractor or an Illinois-licensed architect or engineer with an email address on file in our existing electronic permitting system, you will receive an email next week inviting you to create a new account, linked to your existing license, for the website where the Express Permit Program is hosted. License-claiming invitations are scheduled to be sent as follows:

Invitation Date Group
Monday, November 6 General contractors, mason contractors, and plumbing contractors that have been listed on 3 or more easy permit or short form permits in the last 3 years; electrical contractors listed on 25 or more easy permits (primarily for solar work)
Tuesday, November 7 Architects and structural engineers (with email address on file) who have been listed on any building permit issued in the last 3 years
Wednesday, November 8 General contractors, mason contractors, and plumbing contractors that have been listed on 1 or 2 easy permit or short form permits in the last 3 years; general contractors first licensed in 2023 with no permit applications yet
Thursday, November 9 All remaining general contractors, mason contractors, and plumbing contractors
Friday, November 10 (Veterans' Day) All remaining electrical contractors

If you attempt to create an account before receiving your invitation, it will not be linked to your existing license, and you may not have access to important features.

Licensed contractor e-acceptance

When an Express Permit Program permit application is submitted by an owner or expediter indicating that work will be performed by a contractor licensed by the Department of Buildings, the licensed contractor will be notified by email (no account required) and must click a link in the email to accept the job before a permit will be issued. This will help to prevent contractor license fraud.

Licensed contractors who need to update their official email should log in to to their account on the Dynamic Portal or contact Continental Testing Services the City of Chicago's trade license support partner. 

Licensed expediters—account setup

Most City-licensed expediters already have an account in the City’s Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing Portal for working with other departments that already use the system such as CDOT, BACP, CDPH, and DCASE. If so, your existing account is already linked to your expediter licenseno action is required to access the Express Permit Program as an expediter on Monday.

If you do not already have an account, please create a new individual account, and then (before starting any applications) email expresspermits @ to request this account be linked to your expediter license. Each individually licensed expediter must have their own personal account. Shared company accounts are prohibited.