Communication Equipment

Communication Equipment

A building permit is not required for the following types of work:

  • Performing minor electrical repair work such as the connection of portable (cord-and-plug) electrical equipment to a permanently installed receptacle
  • Installing, maintaining, or removing electrical equipment used for radio and television transmissions regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (A building permit is required for power supply wiring and the installation of towers, antennas, brackets, or similar supporting structures for such equipment.)
  • Installing, maintaining, or removing a small cell telecom antenna that is attached to a vertical structure located entirely in the public way, such as a telephone, utility, streetlight, or traffic signal pole

Work involving a small cell telecom antenna in the public way does require a permit from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Historic Buildings

These exceptions may not apply to work on a property that is a proposed or designated Chicago Landmark or part of a proposed or designated Chicago Landmark district. For more information, contact the Historic Preservation Division in the Department of Planning and Development.

Structure in the Public Way

Installation or maintenance of a temporary or permanent structure of any size below, on, or above a public street, alley, sidewalk, or parkway (the “public way”) generally requires a separate public way use permit from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP). A temporary structure in the public way that is used for a special event requires a special event permit from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).

Code Compliance Required

Any work performed without a building permit, as allowed by Section 14A-4-402 of the Municipal Code, must still comply with all applicable requirements of the Chicago Construction Codes. Section 14A-4-402 does not waive any applicable requirements of the Chicago Construction Codes or of the Municipal Code other than the requirement to obtain a building permit.

If you have a question about whether proposed work is code compliant or requires a building permit, please visit the Department of Buildings assistance counter on the 9th floor at City Hall.