2019 Budget Statement

October 26, 2018

Dear Industry Partners:

This past year the Building Department has built on the successes and improvements of the year before by developing positive working relationships, meeting and learning from all those affected by the department and improving our systems.

On October 25, 2018, I had the opportunity to present all we are doing to enhance and streamline our department at our annual budget hearing to City Council.

Just a few of the highlights from our budget address are captured below. Please take a minute to read our full budget statement. I look forward to working with all of our industry partners in 2019!

Budget highlights:

  • Our efforts to enhance and streamline the permit process, together with Chicago’s building boom, resulted in a record number of 48,408 permits issued in 2017, and in 2018 we are on track for another record-breaking year for building permits.
  • This year we issued streamlined and updated rules for our self-certification permit program which expanded projects eligible to participate.  Through September 30, 2018, we’ve issued 2,758 self-certification permits -- a seven percent increase over last year and a 17 percent increase over the average of the last three years.  
  • In mid-November we will roll out further enhancements to our online plan review system. The updated version will improve usability and performance for architects and engineers based on customer feedback.
  • We are also pleased to announce that the Direct Developer Services pilot program will become a permanent program effective January 1, 2019. This program is one of several initiatives we’ve implemented that has drastically cut the time to permit, from single-family home renovations to high rises.
  • Last fall we launched a pilot program to study the use of alternative plumbing materials and gather data on cost implications. More than 330 have participated and the program has saved $8.746 million for building owners and small developers working on projects throughout the City including affordable housing.
  • Building on the success of the updated Electrical Code, we are now working with a wide range of stakeholders and technical experts to update and modernize the core requirements of the building code for new construction and renovation with the International Building Code and International Existing Building Code. The updated version will incorporate the best of our existing building code with the new features from the model codes.

We have also launched the first video in a series we are creating to show residents and business owners what to expect when City permit inspectors come to their property. Knowing what to expect can help save you time and money. The new electrical inspection overview video is posted on our website. More videos will be added in the near future.

Sincerely,

Judy Frydland

Commissioner

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