Demolition (Wrecking) Permits

Permit Process Changes

In June 2021 the City Council adopted an ordinance amending certain requirements related to demolition permits, effective September 1, 2021. This page describes requirements applicable to demolition permits issued on or after September 1, 2021. These new requirements also apply to applications started before that date if a permit was not issued by August 31, 2021. 

You must obtain a demolition permit before beginning work to demolish an entire building or structure, to demolish substantially all of the above-grade portion of a building or structure, or to alter an existing building and permanently reduce its building area. Exceptions to this requirement apply to wood frame private garages being replaced with an easy permit, small sheds and other structures that do not require a building permit to construct, and demolition work authorized by the Building Commissioner or another city official on an emergency basis.

Demolition work must be performed by a general contractor licensed by the City of Chicago. That contractor must also have a wrecking bond on file with the City of Chicago in the appropriate amount. ($20,500 to demolish buildings up to 3 stories and $40,500 to demolish larger buildings).

Starting a Demolition Permit Application

A demolition permit application may be submitted by the property owner, the contractor who will be performing the work, or a City-licensed expediter.

A separate permit application is required for each building or structure to be demolished, except a private garage (for five or fewer cars) may be demolished on the same permit as an associated residential building.

To start a demolition permit application, complete the first page of Form 480 (Demolition Permit Application) and email it to DOBDemoPermits@cityofchicago.org along with at least two clear exterior photographs of the building or structure to be demolished. You will be assigned an application number. If any information on Page 1 of Form 480 changes after your application number is assigned, you must start a new application.

You will receive an email with your permit application number or requesting missing information. You will also be notified of any address-specific holds that must be resolved before a demolition permit can be issued.

After you receive a permit application number, you will need to obtain the required approvals and documents described on Page 2 of the permit application. Additional information about each of these requirements is provided below.

A demolition permit application expires if there is no activity with the Department of Buildings for more than 120 days. One 90-day extension may be requested before the 120-day period expires.

Instructions for Form 480, Page 1

When completing Page 1 of the Demolition Permit Application (Form 480) please follow these instructions. Providing incorrect or incomplete information in your application will delay processing of your application and issuance of your permit.

Preparer: Provide the name and contact information for the person preparing the permit application. This person can be the property owner, the demolition contractor, or a licensed expediter. The Department of Buildings will contact the preparer if there are any questions about the application or if the application expires.

Address and Secondary Address: Provide the street address of the building or structure to be demolished. Use the Chicago Online Zoning Map to confirm street addresses. If the building has a range of addresses or is on a corner, provide all addresses in the secondary address field.

PIN(s): Provide all affected Permanent Identification Numbers (PINs). PINs are assigned by Cook County for property tax purposes. You can look up PINs using the Chicago Online Zoning Map or the Cook County Property Tax Portal.

Type of Demolition: Use the questions in the box on the right side of Page 1 to determine if the planned work is classified as an “ordinary demolition” or “complex demolition.” Incorrect classification of the planned work will delay issuance of your permit.

Fire Damage: If the building or structure to be demolished has been damaged by fire, you must indicate this on the application.

Location of Structure on Site: Indicate the location of the structure to be demolished relative to the primary street address. For example, if the building to be demolished is behind a building that faces the primary street address, select “Rear.” If you select “Other,” provide more information in the Secondary Address field or Description of Work field.

Building Contains Dwelling Units: Indicate if the building contains dwelling units. If the building contains dwelling units, you will also need to submit Form 483 to the Department of Housing. Additional information about the definition of “dwelling unit” is found on Form 483.

Main Occupancy Classification: Select one occupancy classification from the list that best reflects the primary occupancy of the building or structure to be demolished. For a building that contained multiple occupancies, select the occupancy with the greatest floor area. For more information on occupancy classifications, see Chapter 3 of the Chicago Building Code.

Describe Work to be Performed: Provide a concise description of the work to be performed under the permit. The description should include the height (in feet or stories), material, and occupancy classification of the structure. For example: “WRECK AND REMOVE A 3-STORY BRICK SCHOOL BUILDING, INCLUDING FOUNDATIONS” or “WRECK AND REMOVE A 2-STORY FRAME RESIDENTIAL BUILDING WITH 2 DWELLING UNITS (FRONT BUILDING).”

Describe Method of Demolition: Provide a brief description of the method of demolition to be used. For example: “MECHANICAL DEMOLITION” or “HAND DEMOLITION.”

Note: Use of explosives for the purpose of building demolition requires an additional permit for Demolition by Implosion. This permit is issued by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) after a separate multi-departmental review and public notification process. A demolition permit cannot be issued by the Department of Buildings until the Demolition by Implosion permitting process is complete.

Estimated Cost of Work: Estimate the cost of work to be performed in connection with this permit application, including associated utility disconnections and environmental work.

Permit Applicant: Provide the name and contact information for the property owner who is applying for the permit. (The permit applicant must be a property owner, except where the City of Chicago is pursuing demolition for public safety reasons.) If there are multiple property owners, you do not need to identify all property owners. The name provided in this section will be printed on the permit certificate.

Contractor: Provide the name, City of Chicago ID number, and City of Chicago General Contractor License number for the contractor who will perform the demolition. Changing the demolition contractor after a permit appliction number is assigned requires starting a new permit application.

Instructions for Obtaining Required Approvals (Form 480, Page 2)

Use Page 2 of Form 480 as a checklist to determine which types of approvals and documents must be obtained and submitted before the Department of Buildings (DOB) can issue a demolition permit. More information about each of these requirements, including contact information, is provided below:

Department of Public Health - Demolition Notice of Intent

All demolition permit applicants must file a Demolition Notice of Intent with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) through the City’s online permit portal. As part of this process, the applicant will be required to provide information about planned measures to control dust and abate asbestos and other hazardous materials, as applicable.

For more information and to file the Demolition Notice of Intent: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cdph/supp_info/healthy-communities/asbestos_demolitionorrenovationsandblastinggrindingandchemicalw.html

Questions? Contact CDPH Environmental Permitting at 312-744-8026, 312-745-7206 or CDPHPermits@cityofchicago.org.

After filing the Demolition Notice of Intent through the online permit portal and paying the environmental review fee, email Page 1 of Form 480 (including the permit application number assinged by DOB), CDPH ENVGEN number, and worksite address to CDPHPermits@cityofchicago.org with “Demolition Approval Request” in the subject line to obtain CDPH email approval for your demolition permit.

Department of Streets and Sanitation - Rodent Control

All demolition permit applicants must hire a licensed pest control company to bait the site, complete an affidavit, and pass a rodent control inspection conducted by the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS).

Questions? Contact Rodent Control at 312-744-5036 or email Donna.Bennett@cityofchicago.org or Josie.Cruz@cityofchicago.org.

After a successful inspection, DSS approval will be issued by email.

Department of Transportation - Public Right of Way Permit

All demolition permit applicants must either obtain a permit to occupy the public right of way from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) through the City’s online permit portal or written approval from CDOT that a right of way permit is not required for the intended scope of work.

For more information and to apply for a public right of way permit, visit: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/construction_information/svcs/online-permit-portal.html.

After obtaining the public right of way permit through the permit portal, email Michael.Imparato@cityofchicago.org or Bryan.Gallardo2@cityofchicago.org for demolition approval by email.

To obtain a written determination that a public right of way permit is not required, email Michael.Imparato@cityofchicago.org or Bryan.Gallardo2@cityofchicago.org.

Department of Water Management - Sewer Disconnection

All demolition permit applicants must either obtain a sewer disconnection permit or written confirmation that a sewer disconnection permit is not required for the intended scope of work. Sewer disconnection permits are issued by the Department of Buildings on behalf of the Department of Water Management (DWM).

First, obtain a sewer disconnection (cut and seal) permit or determination that a sewer disconnection is not required from the Department of Buildings Sewer Permit section.

After obtaining a sewer disconnection permit or determination that a sewer disconnection is not required, contact the Department of Buildings Sewer Permit section for demolition approval by email.

Remember: after the permitted sewer disconnection work has been completed by a licensed contractor, you must contact the Department of Water Management Sewer Inspections section for an inspection as described on the permit certificate.

Questions? Contact DOB Sewer Permits at 312-744-3155 or sewerpermits@cityofchicago.org.

Department of Water Management - Water Disconnection and Source

Water Disconnection Permit

All demolition permit applicants must either obtain a water disconnection (cut and seal) permit or written confirmation that a water disconnection permit is not required for the intended scope of work. Water disconnection permits are issued by the Department of Buildings on behalf of the Department of Water Management (DWM).

First, a licensed plumbing contractor must obtain a water disconnection permit (“B Permit”) from the Department of Buildings Water Permit section.

After the permitted water disconnection work has been completed by the licensed plumbing contractor the work must be inspected by the Department of Water Management.

Questions? Contact DOB Water Permits at 312-744-7060 or bpermits@cityofchicago.org.

Hydrant Use Permit or Approval of Alternative Water Source

All demolition permit applicants must also obtain either a hydrant use permit (HUP) from the Department of Water Management (DWM) or approval for an alternative source of water to be used during demolition activities, such as a water truck.

To obtain a contractor’s hydrant use permit visit: http://hup.buildinganewchicago.org/#/home

Questions? Contact DWM’s Chief Plumbing Inspector at 312-744-7017 or denis.riordan@cityofchicago.org.

Demolition Approval

A single approval will be issued when both requirements are met.

After obtaining a hydrant use permit and a successful cut and seal inspection, contact bpermits@cityofchicago.org for demolition approval by email.

Department of Assets, Information, and Services / Department of Public Health - Environmental Contamination

In areas of the city with a documented soil contamination from past industrial activities, the Departments of Assets, Information, and Services (AIS) and Public Health (CDPH) enforce radioactivity safety requirements. You will be notified if these requirements apply to your application.

For more information about environmental contamination in the Streeterville area regulated by CDPH, visit: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cdph/provdrs/healthy_communities/svcs/apply_for_a_streetervilleright-of-wayorpropertypermit.html

For more information about environmental contamination in the Bronzeville area regulated by AIS, visit: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dgs/supp_info/former-carnotite-reduction-company.html

Department of Buildings - Complex Demolition

All applications for complex demolition (see Page 1) require a pre-permit inspection by the Department of Buildings (DOB). The structural condition report and site safety and operations plan (see below) must be on site and available for review at the time of inspection.

To request a pre-permit inspection visit:  https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/bldgs/provdrs/inspect/svcs/permit_inspection.html

Questions? Contact Demolition Inspections at 312-743-7200 or DOBdemoinspections@cityofchicago.org (inspections cannot be scheduled by phone or email).

Department  of Housing - Dwelling Unit Demolition

Any application to demolish a building containing dwelling units must be approved by the Department of Housing (DOH). Use Form 483.

For a copy of Form 483: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/bldgs/supp_info/permitforms.html 

Questions? Contact DOHDemolition@cityofchicago.org.

Department of Planning and Development - Historic Preservation

Any application to demolish a building designated as “orange” or “red” by the Chicago Historic Resources Survey (CHRS) or to demolish a Chicago Landmark must be reviewed by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). A 90-day hold or additional reviews may apply.

Questions? Contact the DPD Historic Preservation division at 312-744-3200 or landmarks@cityofchicago.org

Department of Transportation - Freight Tunnels

Any application for demolition work in the area bounded by Roosevelt Road, Michigan Avenue, Illinois Street, and Canal Street (including both sides of the boundary streets) must be reviewed by the Department of Transportation (CDOT) to evaluate impact on the freight tunnel system.

For review and approval, contact Michael.Imparato@cityofchicago.org or Bryan.Gallardo2@cityofchicago.org. Approvals are issued by email.

Department of Public Health - Flammable Liquid Tank Removal

A permit must be obtained from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) for removal of any underground storage tank or above ground storage tank used for flammable liquids.

For above ground storage tank procedures: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cdph/provdrs/healthy_communities/svcs/apply_for_an_abovegroundstoragepermit.html.

For underground storage tank procedures: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cdph/supp_info/healthy-communities/underground_stroagetanks.html.  

After obtaining a permit, contact Emmanuel.Adesanya@cityofchicago.org or Michael.Enos@cityofchicago.org in the Chicago Department of Health (CDPH) Environmental Permitting Section for demolition approval. Approvals are issued by email.

Instructions for Required Documents (Form 480, Page 2)

Note: all documents must be formatted for 8½ by 11-inch (letter sized) paper.

Required for All Applications

Photographs: Provide at least two clear color photographs of the exterior of the building or structure to be demolished with all applications. Additional photographs should be provided for larger buildings. Photographs must have been taken within the past 60 days. Photographs should be taken from ground level. Photographs from a commercial map site, such as Google or Bing, are not acceptable. 

Contract: Provide a copy of a signed contract between the permit applicant and the demolition contractor covering the work described in the permit application.

Excavation Certification: DOB Form 402 (Excavation Certification) is required with most demolition permit applications. Where Form 402 is required, it must be accompanied by evidence that the required notices have been sent, as described in the instructions on the form. If a contractor believes Form 402 is not required for a particular job, the contractor must prepare a signed letter, on the contractor’s letterhead detailing how work associated with the demolition, including utility work, does not trigger the excavation notice requirements.

Site Plan: A scaled site plan marked with the horizontal distances between buildings or structures to be demolished, property lines, and buildings on the site that will not be demolished. The site plan is not required to be drawn to a specific scale as long as the required dimensions are clear and legible. The site plan may be based on the Chicago Zoning Map or an aerial photograph if dimensions, buildings, and property lines are clearly labeled.

Required for Complex Demolition

Structural Condition Report: A report documenting the structural condition of the building or structure to be demolished and describing the methods to be used in the demolition or deconstruction. The report must be prepared, signed, and sealed by an Illinois-licensed architect or structural engineer. Reports must be based on an in-person site visit by the licensed professional. Reports must include photographs of site conditions.

Site Safety and Operations Plan: A written Safety and Operations Plan, prepared by the demolition contractor or an Illinois-licensed architect or structural engineer, describing how the demolition work to be permitted will comply with applicable requirements of Chapter 33 of the Chicago Building Code. The Site Safety and Operations Plan must address the following requirements of Chapter 33:

Construction Loads (Sec. 3302.4)
Protection of Openings (Sec. 3302.5)
Demolition Procedure (Sec. 3303.1)
Pedestrian Protection (Secs. 3303.2, 3306)
Means of Egress (Sec. 3303.3)
Filling and Grading (Sec. 3303.4)
Water Accumulation (Sec. 3303.5)
Utility Connections (Sec. 3303.6)
Fire Safety (Secs. 3303.7, 3309 through 3320)
Debris Removal (Secs. 3303.8, 3324)
Site Fencing (Secs. 3304.3, 3324.2)
Protection of Adjoining Property (Sec. 3307)
Protection of Public Streets and Sidewalks (Sec. 3308)
Scaffolding (Sec. 3323)

A contractor may develop and use a standard Safety and Operations Plan that addresses each of these topics. To qualify as a "site" Safety and Operations Plan, the contractor must also provide a written list of the sections of the contractor's general Safety and Operations Plan that will apply at the job site based on the particular method of demolition, scope of work, and any site-specific conditions or hazards.

Required for Party Wall Conditions

When work involves demolition of a building that is attached to another building on an adjoining property (party wall condition) the applicant must submit either a survey or letter.

Survey: A survey, prepared by an Illinois-licensed land surveyor, showing that everything to be demolished is on the applicant's property. The survey may be any age as long as it accurately reflects currently-existing conditions.

Letter: A letter referencing the permit application number and signed by the adjoining land owner authorizing the demolition.

Completing a Demolition Permit Application

To complete a demolition permit application, return the fully completed application (Form 480) along with all required approvals and required documents to the Department of Buildings.

Applications (with attachments) that are 30 pages or less may be submitted by email to DOBDemoPermits@cityofchicago.org.

Applications (with attachments) that are more than 30 pages must be submitted in hard copy by mail or delivery to:

DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS
121 N LASALLE ST
CITY HALL RM 906
ATTN: DEMOLITION PERMITS
CHICAGO IL 60602-1256

Hard copies must be on 8½ x 11-inch (letter size) paper and unbound. (No staples, clips, etc.) Double-sided documents are preferred.

A demolition permit application expires if there is no activity with the Department of Buildings for more than 120 days. One 90-day extension may be requested before the 120-day period expires. To request a 90-day extension, email a brief statement explaining the reason for the delay to DOBDemoPermits@cityofchicago.org.

When your demolition permit is issued, the permit preparer (identified on Page 1 of the application) will be notified by email when and where to pay for the permit. The permit fee must be paid within 120 days of this notification. Currently, permit fee payments must be made in person at a Department of Finance payment center. You will receive a permit certificate at the time of payment.

Performing Demolition Work

The demolition contractor must post a copy of the permit certificate at the work site, in a location that is visible and legible from a public street or sidewalk, before beginning demolition work. The permit certificate must remain posted until the final inspection is completed.  Where applicable, a copy of the written Site Safety and Operations Plan and Structural Condition Report must be available on site whenever work is occurring. 

You may not start work before the start date provided to the Department of Public Health (CDPH) and you must notify CDPH if your start date changes.

Work must begin within 6 months of the date when the permit is paid for. Once work begins, work cannot cease for more than 12 months (either cumulatively or continuously). If you need additional time, contact the Department of Buildings at DOBDemoPermits@cityofchicago.org for an extension or reinstatement. 

Inspections: Ordinary Demolition

For ordinary demolition work, the contractor must request an inspection when demolition work is complete and before backfilling, if applicable. If backfilling and grading are required, a second inspection must be requested when this work is complete. These inspections are included in the permit fee. Inspections must be requested online.

Inspections: Complex Demolition

For complex demolition work, the contractor must request the progress inspections decided upon during the pre-permit inspection. The fee for these inspections is charged at the time of permit issuance. The contractor must also request an inspection when all demolition work is complete and again after the site is graded. If additional inspections are required, either at the request of the contractor or as determined by the Department of Buildings, an additional fee will be charged.

Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling Compliance

Pursuant to the Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling Ordinance, compliance paperwork must be provided to the Department of Public Health (CDPH) at the conclusion of demolition work.