The Department of Buildings
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Information on the Demolition Process

The Department of Buildings' Demolition Bureau responds to complaints generated by the 311 system reported by residents, community groups, Aldermanic offices, as well as the Chicago Police Department. The bureau responds to complaints of vacant and open buildings. Buildings that are abandoned and scenes of criminal activity are inspected and then referred to the Circuit court system. The process consists of identifying a responsible party who will secure, rehab, sell or raze the structure. If these standards cannot be met, the Demolition bureau continues to inspect the building throughout the court case. In some cases, the court may order the premises to be properly secured, or ultimately demolished.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is a permit required to tear down a garage?
A: Yes, permits are required for the removal of garages.

Q: I purchased a building and I'm doing interior remodeling work. Do I still need a permit if no plumbing or electrical work is being done?
A: Yes, permits are required for interior remodeling for the removal of plaster, lath and drywall.

Q: I recently bought my house and there was no garage. I then applied for a permit but it was not issued. I was told that I needed a demolition permit before I would be allowed to apply for a permit for a new garage. Why was the permit not granted?

A: According to the city records, there was a garage at that address at one time, but the previous owner demolished it, without a permit. The city will not issue a permit at a site if there is no record of a permit to remove the previous structure.