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Permits: Getting Started

Permits: Getting Started

When a Building Permit is Required

Building permits give you, your insurance company, neighbors and the City assurance that specific minimum standards are met in constructing, repairing or altering your home or building by complying with the Chicago Building Code. These standards are intended to protect the integrity of the buildings, the welfare of the public and your safety.

Types of Projects That Require Permits

  • Additions – room, upper floor, expansion
  • Attic – finish, renovate
  • Basement – finish, renovate
  • Boiler – install, replace
  • Carport – install, replace
  • Chimneys – replace, erect
  • Conversion of units – single to multiple
  • Deck – build, replace
  • Deconversion of units – multiple to single
  • Demolition – garage, home, building
  • Dormers – installation
  • Driveways – installation
  • Electrical system – alteration, expansion
  • Fence – taller than 5 feet, may not exceed 6 feet. For Landmark buildings only, a permit is needed for any solid fence of any height visible from a public street*
  • Furnace – install, replace
  • Garage – build attached, detached
  • Gut rehab – complete modernization
  • Hot Water Heater – install, replace
  • Masonry – replace, install face brick
  • Natural light and ventilation – skylight
  • New Construction – homes, high-rise, retail, business
  • Plumbing system – construct, alteration
  • Porch – build, replace, enclose, renovate
  • Security Alarm – installation
  • Siding Replacement-For Landmark buildings only*
  • Roof – slope less than 5-in-12
  • Ventilation system – mechanical, supply
  • Windows and Exterior Doors-For Landmark buildings only*

*If a building has been designated a Chicago Landmark or as part of a Chicago Landmark District, one should check in with the Landmarks Division prior to getting a permit. Applicants of Landmark properties are encouraged to contact the Landmark Commission staff prior to submitting an application to ensure that the application will include all the necessary information. For a Pre-Permit Submission checklist, contact the Landmarks Division for that and other related information. For an address list (in PDF) of all properties that are a landmark or are found in a Landmark district, click onto the Chicago Landmarks List.