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 feet above grade or (2) any building over eighty 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.

Who obtains a scaffolding permit?

The owner of the building must obtain a scaffolding permit before scaffolding erection or work may proceed on the building.

Can an operator apply for a scaffolding permit on behalf of the building owner?


How do I apply for a scaffolding permit?

You must apply for a scaffolding permit online, using the Express Permit Program.

Does I need to display the permit certificate?

Yes. The property owner must display a copy of the permit certificate in a place that is legible and visible from a public sidewalk.

What is required for the scaffolding permit to be valid?

The operators must have successfully completed scaffolding safety training, must have insurance in place in an amount no less than $ 1,000,000.00 per occurrence and must name the City of Chicago, its officers, employees and agents as additional insureds.

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.

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.

Will city inspectors ask for scaffolding safety training ID cards?

Yes, City inspectors will ask to see ID cards.

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 the Municipal Code is subject to a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.

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.

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.

Is there a cost for scaffolding safety training?

Yes, the cost varies from provider to provider.

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.

How long are ID cards valid?

Scaffolding safety training ID cards are valid for 4 years.