February 3, 2012

Emanuel Administration Will Post High-Rise Residential Building Life Safety Information Online

Implements Plan to Expedite Permits for Buildings Undertaking Life Safety Upgrades;Sends Notifications Reminding Building Owners of Upcoming February Deadline

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

The Emanuel Administration announced today that information on the Life Safety Evaluation (LSE) status for hundreds of high-rise residential buildings will be made available online. Starting this afternoon, residents will be able to search for specific residential buildings required to submit an LSE report in order to identify their status at data.cityofchicago.org. The information will be updated monthly.

“Providing this information will strengthen the transparency and accountability in this critical process to ensure the safety of Chicagoans across the city,” said Mayor Emanuel. 

To date, there are over 600 residential buildings across the city required by City Ordinance to submit a Life Safety Evaluation report. These reports are used to determine the current fire safety status of a building and if necessary map out concrete steps building owners will take to ensure their buildings meet the City’s fire safety standards. 

The Department of Buildings has implemented an expedited permit process that will ensure work being done to bring buildings into compliance is approved by the City within 10 days and started swiftly by building owners.

 In January, the City notified all building owners and/or property managers of buildings required to submit an LSE report that they must provide the City with an update on their compliance progress by February 10, 2012. The City sent letters today reminding building owners and property managers of this deadline. The City will consider further action against building owners who do not comply.

Mayor Emanuel added, “The City will do whatever it can to ensure that buildings are able to comply with the law and ensure this essential work gets done.”

The Chicago Life Safety Ordinance was passed in 2004 to improve fire safety standards in high-rise buildings eight stories or higher. Because the Chicago building code has since 1975 required new high-rise residential buildings to be constructed with sprinkler systems, the Life Safety Ordinance mostly impacted high-rise residential buildings constructed prior to 1975. It requires owners of these pre-1975 buildings to file a report, called the Life Safety Evaluation, which provides information on the current life safety elements of the building as well as any plans needed to meet requirements for fire safety. 

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