The Department of Buildings
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Building Board of Appeals

The Building Board of Appeals (BBA) is a 9-member panel established by the Municipal Code of Chicago (Chapter 13-24) to hear appeals from building permit applicants in cases where the Department of Buildings’ determination of the Municipal Code requirements create practical difficulties in carrying out the strict letter of the ordinance. Appointed by the Mayor, the BBA members represent various building industries and citizens of the City of Chicago.

To apply for a decision by the BBA, a project must be in the permit process, have received an approval from the Zoning Department, and have corrections written by Department of Buildings' plan examiners which outline the code issue(s) that must be appealed to the BBA. The appeal will be for specific code issues citing the code sections and providing an explanation as to why the project cannot be revised to accommodate the code.

The BBA only hears cases for issues related to a specific building permit and address. The decisions are not precedent setting but are binding and final authority on appealed issue (other than judicial courts).

Typical cases that come before the BBA are existing buildings that have a pre-existing condition that is contrary to the current Building Code and are impacted by the project, i.e. the building is located too close to the property line for the building construction type or for its exterior wall fire rating.

To appeal a case to the Building Board of Appeals, the applicant must first be rejected during the building permit plan review process for the Code issue they need to appeal.

To schedule a BBA hearing, or if you have questions about the BBA, please contact robert.fahlstrom@cityofchicago.org.

Related Links:

Building Board of Appeals Form

Building Board of Appeals Fee Instructions