Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing

For homeowners, builders/developers/contractors, business owners, and more!

City of Chicago Guide to Inspections

The 4 Main Types of Inspections:

  1. Permits (inspections to achieve a permit)
  2. Annual / Quarterly (inspections to maintain status)
  3. Business License (required inspections to obtain new licensing)
  4. Complaints (inspections prompted by a complaint)

Common Reasons for Failing an Inspection

Inspections are required for several reasons and at various times during the life a business.  View common reasons that businesses fail inspections, including both NEW businesses and EXISTING businesses. 

Important Steps Before You Start a Business:

Before taking out a business loan, signing a lease, or applying for a business license, ensure that the site where you intend to operate is in an appropriately zoned area and that it complies with the current Chicago Municipal Code.  The Code is frequently updated so a new owner needs to check current zoning and code regulations and not assume the previous owner's designation applies.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection also holds FREE business workshops the first Wednesday of every month.  To download the schedule of dates and additional details please reference this page.


Construction / Renovation

Make streets, sidewalks, schools, and parks safe for all residents. Helping Chicago protect quality of life by adding new resources for preventing and controlling crime and supporting community capacity.

Contractor / 3rd Party Certification
Contractor / 3rd Party Certification

Addresses the most pressing capital needs of CDOT, CTA, and other agencies, including reconstruction, resurfacing, repair, and rail improvements.


This link provides information regarding requirements and permits for signs that hang over the public way or require Department of Buildings or Zoning approval.