Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing
City Services

Visit the Small Business Center for information on licenses, permits, and additional resources

Visit the Small Business Center website, for information on licenses, permits, and additional resources

 

Resources

Links to related Departments:

Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing

Information for homeowners, builders/developers/contractors, business owners, and more!

 

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City of Chicago's Guide to Inspections

The 4 Main Types of Inspections:

  1. Permits (inspections to achieve a permit)
  2. Annual / Quarterly (inspections to maintain status)
  3. Business License (required inspections to obtain new licensing)
  4. Complaints (inspections prompted by a complaint)

Common Reasons for Failing an Inspection

Inspections are required for several reasons and at various times during the life a business.  View common reasons that businesses fail inspections, including both NEW businesses and EXISTING businesses.

 

Important Steps Before You Start a Business:

Before taking out a business loan, signing a lease, or applying for a business license, ensure that the site where you intend to operate is in an appropriately zoned area and that it complies with the current Chicago Municipal Code.  The Code is frequently updated so a new owner needs to check current zoning and code regulations and not assume the previous owner's designation applies.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection also holds FREE business workshops the first Wednesday of every month.  To download the schedule of dates and additional details please reference this PDF.

 

Photo of retail worker cleaning a kitchen

Retail Food Service

This link provides information regarding businesses that sell or serve food and/or liquor.

General Retail - photo of women shopping

General Retail / Professional Services

This link provides information regarding professional service companies and retailers other than food retail.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing / Warehouse

This link provides information regarding manufacturing industrial businesses.

 Photo of 2 workers doing construction

Construction / Renovation

This link provides information regarding new construction and rehabilitation work as well as additional developer / contractor links and information.

Contractors - third party

Contractor / 3rd Party Certification

This link provides information regarding self-certification for business/property owners as well as required certifications for contractors.

Street with signs above shops

Signs

This link provides information regarding requirements and permits for signs that hang over the public way or require Department of Buildings or Zoning approval.

       

Alerts (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

High Alert Mar 17, 2014 The Draft Ambulance Rules and Regulations Are Available for Viewing and Comment
High Alert Mar 14, 2014 The Draft Filling Station Rules and Regulations Are Available for Viewing and Comment
High Alert Apr 25, 2013 Temporary Small Business Center Hours
Low Alert Jun 28, 2013 Sign Permit Moratorium

Most Recent News (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Apr 02,2014 Mayor Emanuel Introduces Sign Ordinance Amendment To Address Changing Technology In Dynamic Image And Video Display Signs
Mar 26,2014 Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Award Taxicab Driver a Taxicab Medallion For Outstanding Service to Disable Community
Mar 07,2014 City of Chicago to Host Small Business Center on the Road Expo in the Polish Community
Feb 14,2014 Mayor Emanuel Announces Launch of First Phase of Paperless Online Permit and License Portal for Businesses
Jan 15,2014 City Council Confirms Felicia Davis Commissioner of the Department of Buildings

View all News Releases (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Services

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Supporting Information

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