Temporary Tent Permitting Procedures
This page describes requirements for tents that will be temporary (installed at the same location for 180 days or less). Tents and similar structures that will be installed at the same location for more than 180 days must follow permitting requirements and processes for permanent structures.
Is a Building Permit Required?
Coverage up to 400 square feet
A temporary tent that will cover a ground area of 400 square feet or less and will have no point more than 15 feet above the ground does not require a building permit. The structure and installation must still meet all applicable requirements of the Chicago Construction Codes.
Coverage from 401 up to 600 square feet
A temporary tent that will cover more than 400 square feet or exceed 15 feet in height requires a building permit. A temporary tent that will cover a ground area of 600 square feet or less and will have no point more than 15 feet above the ground may obtain a building permit based on drawings prepared by any responsible person, such as an employee of the contractor that will install the tent. A permit application for a tent that meets these criteria may use the Easy Permit Process (EPP).
Coverage greater than 600 square feet
A temporary tent that will cover a ground area of more than 600 square feet or exceed 15 feet in height requires additional information as part of the permit application, including drawings prepared by an Illinois-licensed architect or structural engineer. This type of permit application must use either the Standard Plan Review (SPR) process or Self-Certification Permit Program, if eligible. This type of permit application must be submitted through E-Plan.
Measuring coverage area
Generally, all tents with a horizontal separation distance of less than 12 feet are considered together when determining if a permit is required based on area of coverage.
Where a special event permit is required, if the event organizer certifies in writing that no cooking or heating devices, fuel, or open flames (e.g. candles) will be used inside of or within 10 feet of the tents, the horizontal separation distance used to determine whether tents are are considered together in determining if a permit is required based on area of coverage is reduced to 6 feet.
The following documents are required as part of the permit application:
B. The permit application must be accompanied by a certificate of fire resistance executed by an approved agency certifying that the structure meets the flame propagation performance requirements of NFPA 701. If the treatment indicated on the certificate is not of the permanent type, the certificate must be dated within 360 days preceding the last date of intended use. If the tent fabric is certified as having been rendered permanently fire-resistant during manufacture, or is made of an inherently fire-resistant fabric, then the certificate must be dated no earlier than seven years prior to the last date of intended use. The certificate must indicate the type of fabric and method of compliance with NFPA 701.
C. The high winds action plan must specify the wind speed and time period before arrival of a storm at which the temporary structure must be evacuated, the means by which the permit applicant will monitor weather conditions, and the individual(s) responsible for carrying out evacuation and/or disassembly, if needed.
|Required Document||Coverage Area|
|Up to 600 square feet||601 to 1,000 square feet||Over 1,000 square feet|
|Easy Permit Program (EPP) application form||⚫|
|Building Permit Application (Form 400)||⚫||⚫|
|Letter of intent from licensed general contractor||⚫|
|Copy of general contractor's City of Chicago license certificate||⚫||⚫|
|Letter of intent from event manager / organizer including erection and removal dates||⚫||⚫||⚫|
|Scaled site planA drawn by a responsible person||⚫|
|Scaled floor plan and elevation drawn by a responsible person||⚫|
|Anchorage detail(s) drawn by a responsible person||⚫|
|Scaled site planA prepared by an Illinois-licensed architect or structural engineer including name, address/location and dates of event (erection and removal dates)||⚫||⚫|
|Scaled floor plan, including egress details, and elevations prepared by an Illinois-licensed architect or structural engineer||⚫||⚫|
|Structural details, including anchorage details, prepared by an Illinois-licensed architect or structural engineer||⚫||⚫|
|Structrual (wind resistance) calculations prepared by an Illinois-licensed architect or structural engineer||⚫||⚫|
|Flame spread certificateB||⚫||⚫|
|High winds action planC||⚫||⚫||⚫|
|Sidewalk cafe permit or expanded outdoor dining permit, if applicable||⚫||⚫||⚫|
|Fire extinguisher detailsD||⚫||⚫|
|Emergency lighting informationE||⚫|
|Chicago Park District letter, if applicable||⚫||⚫||⚫|
|Special events permit, if applicable||⚫||⚫||⚫|
Tent permits issued through the Standard Plan Review (SPR) process or Self-Certification Permit Program can be reinstated up to five years from the original permit issue date when using the same quantity, size, connection details and location as well as the same architect or structural engineer and general contractor. Temporary structure reinstatement permits must be submitted electronically using E-Plan. The words “TENT REINSTATEMENT” followed by the quantity and size of all tents must be included in the field labeled “description of work.” A copy of the previously-approved (City stamped) drawings must be uploaded in the reference drawings folder. All required drawings must be updated for the current year. Resubmission of out-of-date documents/drawings will not be accepted.
Reinstatement applications submitted less than 14 calendar days before the planned erection date are subject to a tripled permit fee.
Permit Fees for Temporary Structures
If the total area of all temporary structures for an event is 2,500 square feet or less, and all structures are submitted on the same permit application, the permit fee is $325 (including a $75 zoning fee). If multiple permit applications are submitted for the same event, this fee will apply to each permit.
If the total area of all temporary structures on a permit application exceeds 2,500 square feet, the minimum permit fee is $377 and the permit fee is calculated as $75 + 9.5 cents per square foot.
Where a complete permit application for installation of a temporary structure is submitted to the City of Chicago less than 14 calendar days before the intended installation date, the permit fee is tripled.
Additional fees may apply if inspections outside of normal business hours are requested or required.