Do you need a permit?

In Chicago a permit is necessary for structural changes to a building. Most remodeling, tile, doorways, cabinetry and bathroom fixtures can be replaced without a permit. We have listed below the instances where it is not necessary to have a permit (source).

 

A building permit is NOT required for the following repair or replacement work at any building:

 

  • Interior finishes such as carpet, hardwood flooring, tile, paint and wallpaper
  • Interior non-fire rated ceiling tiles (excluding grid)
  • Cabinetry and furniture without electrical and plumbing connections
  •  In-kind replacement of non-fire rated interior doors
  • At grade non-combustible walkways and patios
  • Playground equipment
  • Fences max. 5’-0” high on private property (excludes landmark buildings and landmark districts as well as chain link and masonry fences)
  • Vinyl, aluminum, wood, EIFS or other similar nonstructural exterior finishes on all one story buildings except Hazardous occupancy (excludes landmark buildings and landmark districts)
  • A building permit is NOT required for the following construction or alteration work at any building:
  • Temporary tents max. 400 sq. ft. that comply with all zoning and construction type setback requirements and are not less than 2 feet from all property lines and not less than 6 feet from all residential buildings & erected for not more than 60 consecutive days

 

A building permit is NOT required for the following repair or replacement work in non-mixed use residential buildings (excluding hotels):

 

  • Shingle roofing with slope of 5 in 12 or steeper on residential buildings with max. of 3 dwelling units & 3 stories
  • In-kind replacement of non-fire rated doors/windows, hot water heaters, boilers, furnaces and AC condensers in buildings with max. of 3 dwelling units & 3 stories (excludes windows and exterior doors in landmark buildings and landmark districts)
  • In-kind replacement of toilets, sinks, faucets and tubs
  • Interior stairs in same location within a single dwelling unit
  • Not more than 1,000 sq. ft. of drywall without any alteration of underlying structural, plumbing, electrical or ventilation systems
  • Low voltage wiring for phones, speakers, burglar alarms, doorbells, thermostats and computers (excluding fire alarm systems)
  •  Replacement of not more than 250 bricks in buildings with max. of 3 dwelling units & 3 stories (excludes landmark buildings and landmark districts)
  • Vinyl, aluminum, wood, EIFS or other similar nonstructural exterior finishes on residential buildings not more than 3 stories in height (excludes landmark buildings and landmark districts)
  • A building permit is NOT required for the following construction or alteration work in residential buildings with 1-3 dwelling units:
  • Alteration of existing interior stair system with no change to existing stair opening in detached single family residences
  •  Alteration of low voltage wiring for phones, speakers, burglar alarms, doorbells, thermostats and computers inside non-mixed use buildings (excluding fire alarm systems)
  • Gazebos max. 150 sq. ft. (open air with roof and no walls) that comply with all zoning and construction type setback requirements and are not less than 2 feet from all property lines and not less than 6 feet from all residential buildings.  Combustible gazebos shall not be less than 3 feet from property lines.
  • Enclosed sheds max. 70 sq. ft. that comply with all zoning and construction type setback requirements and are not less than 2 feet from all property lines and not less than 6 feet from all residential buildings.  Combustible enclosed sheds shall not be less than 3 feet from interior property lines.  Only one enclosed shed is allowed per lot.

Note:  This does not constitute a waiver from the regulations of Title 13 (Building & Construction) and Title 17 (Chicago Zoning Ordinance) of the Municipal Code of Chicago. All construction must be code compliant.

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