The Department of Buildings

Roof-Top Water Tank

Roof top water tanks are regulated by the Department of Buildings. While roof top tanks represent a proud piece of Chicago history, some water tanks are over a century old and have been exposed to the elements. To protect both public safety and to ensure that owners properly maintain these tanks, Mayor Emanuel sponsored code reforms which passed the City Council in 2014. Under Mayor Emanuel’s reforms:

• Owners of rooftop tanks are required to hire a licensed architect or licensed structural engineer to conduct a thorough critical structural examination of both the water tank and the water tank support structure and file a report of the critical structural exam with the Department of Buildings for its approval no later than September 10, 2015, and every two years thereafter;

• If the critical structural exam reveals any structural or safety deficiencies with the water tank or support structure the owner must take immediate measure to secure and repair the water tank or support structure or immediately remove the water tank or support structure; and

• To protect the structural integrity if the water tank or support structure, owners are prohibited from attaching any miscellaneous items on the water tank or support structure, including but not limited to: signs, antenna, satellite, wireless communication facility, communication equipment, lighting equipment, or any associated hardware or wiring.

If you suspect that a roof top water tank or support structure may be structurally unsound please call the City at 311 to report it. 311 will track and route your call to the appropriate City department(s) for inspection and enforcement action. More details can be found in the municipal code (13-96-420).

For more information, please contact Jose Aparicio at jose.aparicio@cityofchicago.org.