Mechanical (HVAC) Work

Mechanical (HVAC) Work

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

  • Installing or removing a portable (cord-and-plug connected or gas-fired) heating appliance
  • Installing or removing portable (cord-and-plug connected) ventilation equipment
  • Installing or removing portable (cord-and-plug connected) cooling equipment
  • Installing or removing domestic cooking appliances (electric or gas)
  • Repairing existing heating, cooling, or ventilation equipment (Except as described below, complete replacement requires a building permit.)
  • Replacing parts of heating, cooling, or ventilation equipment without altering the function or decreasing efficiency of the equipment
  • Installing, altering, or removing a self-contained refrigeration system containing 10 pounds or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less (A building permit is required for any hardwired electrical connection.)

A building permit is also not required for the following types of work in a residential building up to 4 stories above grade or an associated accessory building (such as a garage) on the same lot:

  • Repairing or replacing (in-kind) a boiler or an element of an associated heating system, such as a radiator
  • Repairing or replacing (in-kind) a furnace or an element of an associated heating system, such as ductwork
  • Repairing or replacing (in-kind) air-conditioning equipment

“In-kind replacement” means replacement of existing materials, objects, or elements using new materials, objects, or elements of the same type, size, and shape.

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.

Asbestos-Safe Work Practices

Work must comply with asbestos abatement and handling practices required by city, state, and federal laws. You may be required to file an Asbestos Project Notification with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) before beginning work involving asbestos.

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.