August 10, 2011

Mayor Emanuel Announces New Efficiencies in Building Permitting Process

“E-Plan” Reviews and Certified Corrections Program will streamline operations and permit process, saving time and money

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that the Department of Buildings is moving forward with plans to implement new measures that will improve efficiency in the building permitting process: saving tax payer dollars and cutting down on time in the permitting line.

"We are taking much-needed steps to increase efficiency and decrease the time it takes developers to obtain a building permit in the City of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel.

One of the key improvements is the implementation of “E-Plan,” a new review system that will allow architects to submit plans electronically and eliminate the need for paper plans to be brought to City Hall for approval.

In addition to eliminating paper plans, the “E-Plan” system allows multiple plan examiners, like plumbing and electrical reviewers, to approve drawings at the same time and submit recommended changes to architects and engineers more quickly.  Additionally, all stakeholders, including the building owners, can be notified instantly when a review is complete or when the status of a permit changes.

Starting September 1, 2011, more than 5,000 projects a year are now required to go through the Certified Plan Corrections (CPC) process, which will cut down on turn-around time even further.  Architects will now be required to submit affidavits certifying that the plans have been revised to address any issues that were noted by reviewers, which eliminates the need for multiple separate meetings with multiple plan reviewers. The Department of Buildings has offered CPC as an option for more than five years, and only a small percentage of projects have taken advantage of the program. 

As part of the change to “E-Plan,” the Department of Buildings will also be implementing two other changes: a 50 percent deposit on estimated permit fees up front and a requirement that architects and engineers resubmit corrections in less than 20 days. The deposit for plans helps to ensure the Department will recoup costs for examining plans that are reviewed but never picked up, corrected or permitted. In 2010, projects that were abandoned cost Buildings close to $300,000 and delayed issuing permits to other applicants.

As part of its transparency and accountability initiatives, the Emanuel Administration posted a Performance Metric today that tracks the time it takes the Department of Buildings to issue building permits. The data shows that the Department of Buildings has exceeded its performance goals for July 2011. You can view that data at

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