File a Buildings FOIA Request

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a state law that provides citizens with access to public records.  Each City department is a separate agency responsible for maintaining its own records, so requests should be submitted to the department that maintains the records you want.

All Freedom of Information requests submitted to City of Chicago departments must include the following information:

  1. The name, mailing address and contact information of the requester;
  2. A description of the records that are being requested.

Buildings FOIA Information:

The Department of Buildings enforces the Chicago building Code to protect the health, safety and welfare of Chicago's residents and visitors. We issue all construction and demolition permits in the City of Chicago, which includes an efficient building permit review process that promotes public safety. We also identify potentially hazardous buildings, provide for their repair through enforcement action, and coordinate their demolition when necessary. The Department of Buildings is also responsible for examining and licensing the members of the building trades.

The first 50 photocopies are free of charge*, with each additional copy $.15.

*except plans

The Department of Buildings maintains the following categories of records:

  • Building permit records
  • Building inspection records for conservation inspections, heat inspections and technical inspections, including boiler, electrical, elevator, iron, new construction, plumbing/water, refrigeration and ventilation
  • Trade licensing records for stationary engineer, crane operator, electrician, elevator, apprentice plumber, journeyman plumber, plumbing contractor and mason contractor
  • Fast Track demolition files
  • Building registration records
  • Exterior wall ordinance records and required filings
  • Departmental personnel records
  • Departmental budget records

The City of Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) enforces the provisions of the Municipal Code relating to all demolition, electrical systems, elevator operation, heating/ventilation systems, plumbing and zoning compliance. The Department reviews all applications and architectural drawings for compliance with the Chicago Building Code and is responsible for the issuance of all new construction, renovation, repair and associated permits. DOB examines applicants for trade licensing and issues certificates of registration for crane operators, supervising electricians, electrical contractors, supervising elevator mechanics, elevator contractors, general contractors, masons, plumbers, stationery engineer and steam boiler erectors. The Building Board of Appeals is an independent review board, within DOB, with the responsibility of hearing appeals to decisions made by the Commissioner of Buildings on matters provided for in the municipal code and providing a determination.

The Department of Buildings has an operating budget of $32 Million, and a total of 285 employees.  It's various subdivisions are demonstrated in the following link (GRAPHIC) In addition, offices are maintained in five locations:

  •  120 N. Racine Ave. Chicago, IL  60607
  •  121 N. La Salle St., Rm 906, Chicago, IL 60602
  •  South Permit Center 2006 E. 95th St., Chicago, IL 60617
  •  Southwest Permit Center, 4770 S. Kedzie Chicago, IL 60632
  •  North Permit Center, 2550 W. Addison Chicago, IL 60618

Representatives of the Department of Buildings chair the Building Board of Appeals, as well as the Committee for Standards and Tests that act in an advisory capacity on behalf of the Department.


Buildings FOIA FAQ:

Where do I go to fill out a Freedom of information request with the City of Chicago, Dept. of Buildings?

That information may be obtained by filling out a Freedom of Information request in the Public Records Section of the Dept. of Buildings, 121 N. LaSalle St, Room 900. The quickest way is to download the form and submit it.

Can I download the Freedom of Information Request form via the Dept. of Buildings website?

Yes, click here to download the Buildings Freedom of Information Form. The form is in Adobe Acrobat format.

Can someone find out building violations on a property by filling out a Freedom of Information request?

Yes.  One can look up building violations online by address. 

What about ownership information?

Ownership information can be obtained through the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, 118 N. Clark Street, Room 120, Chicago, IL 60602, Phone: (312) 603-5050.


For general public Buildings FOIA requests, write to:



Mail:                                         121 N. Lasalle, City Hall Room 900
                                                  Chicago, IL 60602


Please note that all FOIA requests are posted online.  FOIA requests are public information, and when you submit a FOIA request, your name and information about the request will be made available on the City's website.

Please be specific about the information you are seeking, and indicate the exact locations and dates.  Please indicate in your request how you would like the information sent to you (via email, mail, or available to pick up at our office).

Due to our request volume, the most efficient way for us to respond to questions is via email:


Click here for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program & Initiative Page

 Supporting Information Facts


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