Small Temporary Structures

Small Temporary Structures

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

  • Installing, maintaining, or removing a temporary structure up to 15 feet tall that covers no more than 400 square feet (A building permit is always required for a construction trailer used as storage, an office, or a sales center.)
  • Installing, maintaining, or removing a temporary non-sewer-type toilet or associated hand washing equipment
  • Installing, maintaining, or removing a temporary stage or platform that is no more than 24 inches high

“Temporary” means installed at the same location for 180 days or less.

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.