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)

Severe Alert Dec 11, 2014 Taxi Driver Fairness Ordinance
Severe Alert Oct 24, 2014 Know Your Local Business Development Centers
High Alert Jun 10, 2014 See Something? Report it to 311!
Low Alert Sep 12, 2014 The Department of Buildings inspects for "No Heat" complaints. Heat Season Begins September 15, 2014
Low Alert Aug 21, 2014 Intake process for DPD’s 2015 Roof/Porch Assistance Program begins September 4, 2014

View all Alerts (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Most Recent News (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Dec 04,2014 City of Chicago Provided 2500 Entrepreneurs Free Business Workshops
Dec 03,2014 Mayor Rahm Emanuel And The Chicago Department of Buildings Announce More Than 150 Percent Increase Since 2010 In Building Permits Issued For Small To Mid-Size New Construction Projects
Nov 15,2014 As Winter Chill Takes Hold, Mayor Emanuel Joins City Departments To Remind Residents To Take Precautions During Cold Weather
Nov 05,2014 City of Chicago Accepting Nominations For ‘2014 Taxicab Driver Excellence Award’
Nov 05,2014 City Council Approves Ordinance To Strengthen Law, Encourage Landlords To Install Smoke, Carbon Monoxide Detectors

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

Services

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Supporting Information

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