Electrical Inspections

The goal of the Electrical Inspection Bureau is to enforce the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment and to avoid the danger of electrical shock and fire. Inspectors work in conjunction with electrical contractors and building owners to ensure all buildings meet the City of Chicago electrical code requirements.

The Electrical Bureau is responsible for a variety of inspections. Our primary function is to inspect all electrical installations and to check that they are installed in an approved manner to ensure public safety. The Bureau responds to complaints of code violations and assures that they are corrected. We also conduct annual inspections of nursing homes, day care centers, electrical signs, and buildings defined as Public Places of Assembly. In addition, the Bureau inspects fire alarms, and life safety emergency systems in a variety of buildings and institutions, to ensure code compliance and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can owners do their own electrical work?
A: No. Due to the potential for electric shock or fire hazard, only Electrical Contractors licensed by the City of Chicago can perform electrical installations.

Q: Can an owner obtain an electrical permit?
A: The licensed electrical contractor completes the required permit application, along with the supervising electricians signature and license number.

Q: Does the City's Electrical Bureau recognize T U V AMERICA as a national recognized testing laboratory?
A: The city of Chicago Electrical Inspection Bureau recognizes any nationally recognized testing laboratory listed on the OSHA website. Products bearing a TUV label would be acceptable to the city's electric inspection bureau. Please see Section 18-27-110.2 of the city electrical code for this requirement.

Q: As a tenant, who do I call if I have electrical violations that the landlord will not repair?
A: Call 311. Please give as much detailed information as possible, including a daytime phone number so that the inspector can contact you to arrange a date and time for an inspection.

Additional Information:

Electrical regulations are found in Title 14 of the Chicago Building Code, chapters 14-8 through 14- 72. Only registered electrical contractors are issued permits to perform electrical work. Electrical work is permitted either as part of a "Building Permit" or as "Electrical Work Only".

Electrical Work associated with a "Building Permit":

Building Permit Applications must include a properly filled out short form Electrical Permit Application. These applications are available from the Department of Buildings website. All short form electrical applications are signed by the licensed supervising electrician employed by the Contractor. Note that the Electrical Contractor's name, address and license number should be entered on the face of the Building Permit Application in the appropriate area. Electrical plans are required by various sections within the Code. An outline of these requirements can be found on the following page. Required drawings, load calculations or letters of relief should accompany the Building Permit submittal. Relief from the Code will only be considered before a permit is issued. Jobs that require Exit/Emergency Fire Prevention review will be accepted with a receipt from FPB confirming submittal along with the required electrical drawing. Jobs requiring a Standard Fire Alarm will be accepted without drawings but must include a FPB receipt confirming submittal. Before work begins on a required fire alarm system, all reviews must be complete and a separate wiring permit shall be obtained.

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Know Before You Hire An Electrical Contractor

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