Scaffolding Information

When is a scaffolding permit required?
A scaffolding permit is required when scaffolding is being used in a building in the City of Chicago that is either (1) located anywhere within the central business district*, and is over forty (40) feet above grade or (2) any building over eighty (80) feet above grade.

“*Central Business District” is defined by the Chicago Municipal Code Ordinance as the district consisting of those streets or parts of streets within the area bounded by a line as follows: beginning at the easternmost point of Division Street extended to Lake Michigan; then west on Division Street to LaSalle Street; then south on LaSalle Street to Chicago Avenue; then west on Chicago Avenue to Halsted Street; then south on Halsted Street to Roosevelt Road; then east on Roosevelt Road to its easternmost point extended to Lake Michigan; including parking spaces on both sides of the above-mentioned streets.

2.    Who obtains the scaffolding permit?
The owner of the building must obtain a scaffolding permit before scaffolding erection or work may proceed on the building. The permit application should contain a complete schedule of scaffolding work anticipated for that building for a one year period.

3.    Can an operator apply for a Scaffolding permit on behalf of the building owner?
Anyone can actually walk-in and request a permit application, however permits are specific to the owner, and it is the owner’s responsibility to obtain the permit, and provide all the necessary information including the necessary signature.

4.    How much does a permit cost and how long is it valid?
The fee for any scaffolding permit shall be $150.00. Any amendments to the permit shall each be an additional $100.00. The permit is valid for 1 year from the date of issuance.

5.    Where does an owner apply for the scaffolding permit?
Applications for the scaffolding permit can be obtained from the Department of Buildings (DOB), 121 N. LaSalle Street Room 900 or downloaded from DOB’s website.

6.    Does the scaffolding permit require displaying?
The property owner shall keep a copy of the scaffold permit at the site, at their office, and is responsible to produce the permit for inspection upon the request of an authorized city official.

7.    What is required for the scaffolding permit to be valid?
The operators shall have successfully completed scaffolding training, must have insurance in place, in amount no less than $ 1,000,000.00 per occurrence and shall name the City of Chicago, its officers, employees and agents as additional insured.

8.    Is it allowable for one operator to erect scaffolding and a new operator to come in and utilize the scaffolding?
Yes, as long as the permit information for that scaffolding remains accurate or is amended, and as long as the new operator has the necessary insurance and proof of training, thus making the permit still valid. It is important to remember that city ordinance provides that if there is a violation, the owner and the operator are both subject to fine.

9.    Do architects and engineers on a job site need to have scaffolding safety training?
Yes, if they are on a scaffold they are considered a user.

10.    Will city inspectors ask for scaffolding safety training ID cards?
Yes, City officials will request to see ID cards.

11.    What happens if an operator does not have a scaffolding safety training ID card?
The City official will write the operator a citation and he/she will have 30 days to comply with the citation.

12.    What is the penalty for not carrying a scaffolding safety training ID card?
Any person participating in or allowing the erection, operation, or maintenance of scaffolding in violation of Chapter 13-34 is subject to a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.

13.    Can a city official shut down a job site?
Yes, the Building Commissioner can order an immediate stoppage of all work conducted on scaffolding that is in violation.

14.    Where and when can you receive scaffolding safety training?
Training is available at various locations throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area. Please check the Department of Buildings website for approved scaffolding safety course providers.

15.    Is there a cost for scaffolding safety training?
Yes, the cost varies from provider to provider.

16.    What is required on the scaffolding safety training ID card?
The identification card shall include a photograph of the student’s face, and shall include the following information: the student’s name, the student’s building trade, the institution’s name, the date the course was completed, expiration date, and the type(s) of scaffolding that the student has been trained.

17.    How long are ID cards valid?
Scaffolding safety training ID cards are valid for 4 years.