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



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 page.


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 / 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


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 Sep 28, 2015 Free Solution Station Small Business Expo on 10/9
Severe Alert Sep 22, 2015 Check out our updated Contact Information for the Department of Buildings.
Severe Alert Oct 24, 2014 Know Your Local Business Development Centers
High Alert Jul 28, 2015 DOB Office has relocated to 2045 W. Washington effective 8/3/2015.
Low Alert Oct 2, 2015 The Department of Buildings Inspects for "No Heat" complaints during Heat Season: September 15-June 1st

View all Alerts (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Most Recent News (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Sep 18,2015 City of Chicago Hosts 4th ‘Small Business Center on the Road’ Expo
Aug 25,2015 City of Chicago Launches New Workshop Series Focused On Startups
Jun 26,2015 City of Chicago Hosting Free Minimum Wage & Plastic Bag Ban Workshop
May 29,2015 City of Chicago Inspectors Available to Answer Questions at June Workshop
May 08,2015 Second Stop For City of Chicago's ‘Small Business Center on the Road’ is the Arturo Velasquez Institute on May 9

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


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Supporting Information

View all Supporting Information