When is a Building Permit NOT Required?

A building permit is NOT required for the following repair or replacement work at any building:

  • Interior finishes such as carpet, hardwood flooring, tile, paint and wallpaper
  • Interior non-fire rated ceiling tiles (excluding grid)
  • Cabinetry and furniture without electrical and plumbing connections
  • In-kind replacement of non-fire rated interior doors
  • At grade non-combustible walkways and patios
  • Playground equipment
  • Fences, other than chain-link fences or masonry walls, a maximum of 5’-0” high on private property (excludes landmark buildings and landmark districts )
  • Vinyl, aluminum, wood, EIFS or other similar nonstructural exterior finishes on all one-story buildings except hazardous occupancy (excludes landmark buildings and landmark districts)
  • Porches less than 50 square feet in area, excluding steps, and a maximum of six feet above ground level for the floor of the porch (excludes landmark buildings and landmark districts)

A building permit is NOT required for the following construction or alteration work at any building:

  • Temporary tents and similar temporary structures, up to 400 square feet in area, that comply with all zoning and construction type setback requirements and are not less than 2 feet from all property lines and not less than 6 feet from all residential buildings and are erected for not more than 60 consecutive days

A building permit is NOT required for the following repair or replacement work in non-mixed use residential buildings (excluding hotels):

  • Shingle roofing with slope of 5 in 12 or steeper on residential buildings with a maximum of 3 dwelling units and 3 stories
  • In-kind replacement of non-fire rated doors/windows, hot water heaters, boilers, furnaces and AC condensers in buildings with a maximum of 3 dwelling units and 3 stories (excludes windows and exterior doors in landmark buildings and landmark districts)
  • In-kind replacement of toilets, sinks, faucets and tubs
  • Interior stairs in same location within a single dwelling unit
  • Not more than 1,000 sq. ft. of drywall without any alteration of underlying structural, plumbing, electrical or ventilation systems
  • Low voltage wiring for phones, speakers, burglar alarms, doorbells, thermostats and computers (excludes fire alarm systems)
  • Replacement of not more than 250 bricks in buildings with a maximum of 3 dwelling units and 3 stories(excludes landmark buildings and landmark districts)
  • Vinyl, aluminum, wood, EIFS or other similar nonstructural exterior finishes on residential buildings not more than 3 stories in height (excludes landmark buildings and landmark districts)

A building permit is NOT required for the following construction or alteration work in or on the same lot as residential buildings with 1-3 dwelling units: 

  • Alteration of existing interior stair system with no change to existing stair opening in a detached single family residence
  • Alteration of low voltage wiring for phones, speakers, burglar alarms, doorbells, thermostats and computers inside non-mixed use buildings (excludes fire alarm systems)
  • Gazebos up to 150 square feet in area (open air with roof and no walls) that comply with all zoning and construction type setback requirements and are not less than 2 feet from all property lines and not less than 6 feet from all residential buildings.  (Combustible gazebos must be at least 3 feet from property lines.)
  • Enclosed sheds up to 70 square feet in area that comply with all zoning and construction type setback requirements and are not less than 2 feet from all property lines and not less than 6 feet from all residential buildings. (Combustible sheds must be at least 3 feet from property lines.) Only one enclosed shed is allowed per lot.

Note:  This does not constitute a waiver from the regulations of Titles 13, 14C, 14E, 15 and 18 (Building & Construction) and Title 17 (Chicago Zoning Ordinance) of the Municipal Code of Chicago. All construction must be code compliant.