Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the Commissioner for the Department of Buildings certifying that a building conforms to the general, special, and structural requirements of the Chicago Building Code applicable to new multiple dwellings.

A Certificate of Occupancy is required for buildings that meet one of the following criteria

  • Multiple dwelling units consisting of four or more units erected or substantially rehabilitated
  • Newly constructed non-residential buildings over 10,000 square feet.
  • Alternations or repairs of non-residential buildings over 10,000 square feet.
  • Work in existing buildings resulting in a change of occupancy, as "occupancies" are defined in Chapter 13-56 of the Chicago Building Code, "Classification of Buildings by Occupancy." See the code online for more information.
  • Substantial work performed in a new or existing building of Institutional of Assembly use, as defined by the code.

Please note that the owner of any newly constructed, altered or modified building and/or the permit holder for the construction, alteration or modification of any building may not occupy the building or cause others to occupy such building.

Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy requires the following steps:

  1. The applicant must submit required technical and contact information on the Certificate of Occupancy Form.
  2. The completed form can be submitted to the Department of Buildings from the City of Chicago website.
  3. Upon receipt of a completed application, the Department will schedule a certificate of occupancy inspection and notify the applicant. If the applicant wants to change or cancel a scheduled appointment, the applicant must notify the Department at least two business days prior to the appointment.  
  4. The Department will send the certificate of occupancy application to the Fire Department for approval prior to issuance.

The following inspections ARE REQUIRED and MUST be requested at the following intervals:

Underground Inspections:  

  • Plumbing underground
  • Rebar, structural steel prior to concrete pours (initial and ongoing)

Rough inspections:

  • Carpentry (new construction)
  • Electrical
  • Iron
  • Plumbing
  • Ventilation

Final inspections:

  • Boilers
  • Carpentry (new construction)
  • Electrical
  • Iron
  • Plumbing
  • Refrigeration
  • Ventilation
  • Certificate of occupancy inspection

On-Site Inspection Requirements:

The applicant or the authorized representative of the applicant must:

  • Be present at the time of the scheduled certificate of occupancy inspection;
  • Make sure a representative for any technical trade is present at the inspection, if requested by the department;
  • Make available at the inspection the full set of stamped permit plans and any technical document approved by the department;
  • Make sure that all rooms and spaces required to be inspected can be accessed; and
  • Provide all equipment required by the Department to undertake the inspection, including but not limited to, ladders, safety equipment, and lighting.    

A reinspection fee, as provided in section 13-20-051 of the Building Code, shall be assessed whenever any scheduled certificate of occupancy inspection cannot take place because of the absence of, or other action or inaction by, the building’s owner or permit holder. The reinspection fee shall be paid to the director of revenue before a certificate of occupancy is issued.