Small Temporary Structure

Terms and Conditions for Small Temporary Structure



Work authorized by this permit must comply with the General Terms and Conditions for New Construction and Temporary Structures.


This permit is valid for the date range stated on the permit certificate, based on the date range requested in the permit application. On or before the end date, the structure(s) must be removed or an extension permit obtained.

Occupancy and use

This permit cannot be used for a temporary structure that will contain any of the following occupancies: educational (Group E), factory/industrial (Group F), high hazard (Group H), institutional (Group I), or residential (Group R). Occupancies must be classified in accordance with Chapter 3 of the Chicago Building Code.

Groupings of temporary structures

Generally, all temporary structures within 12 feet of each other (horizontally) must be considered as a single structure when determining permit requirements based on area of coverage. However, where a special event permit is obtained from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the event organizer certifies in writing that no cooking or heating devices, fuel, or open flames will be used inside of or within 10 feet of the temporary structures, the horizontal separation distance used to determine whether grouped temporary structures are considered as one is reduced to 6 feet.

Size limits

This permit is not valid for a temporary structure that covers more than 600 square feet of ground area or that is taller than 15 feet.

This permit is not valid when all temporary structures associated with a single event/installation cover more than 2,500 square feet of ground area. An event or installation with temporary structures exceeding this limit requires a plan-based building permit application. Applying for multiple permits to evade this requirement is illegal.

Electrical work

Electrical work must comply with the edition of the Chicago Electrical Code in effect at the time when the permit application was submitted to the Department of Buildings. Electrical work must be performed by the Chicago-licensed electrical contractor listed on the permit application.

Toilet Facilities


Permanent toilet facilities or temporary nonsewer toilet facilities for temporary events must meet the minimum quantity requirements in the Chicago Plumbing Code. For temporary events with more than 30 people present, at least 2 toilets must be available. For temporary events with more than 600 people present, at least 1 toilet is required for every additional 300 (or fraction of 300) people present.  In most cases, at least 5 percent of the toilets (and no less than one) must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Handwashing facilities

Where a temporary nonsewer toilet is provided for use by workers or the public, temporary handwashing facilities must also be provided per the Chicago Plumbing Code.