Streamlining Codes and Processes

While the inspection process is critical for public safety, local building code and permit inspections that are unpredictable, overly complex and opaque cost building owners money.


The Preservation Compact’s working group developed recommendations with the goal of increasing predictability and transparency in the inspection process.

Summary of Recommendations

  • Violation notices should be clear, with photos if appropriate.
  • Publish a set of protocols to make Department of Building processes more transparent.
  • Distinguish health and safety versus maintenance violations to ensure less urgent issues do not consume enforcement resources.
  • Clarify timelines and requirements for different inspections; inspections should be more frequent for problem buildings, less for well-maintained buildings.
  • New data technology should ensure that:

Old violations are cleared in a timely fashion.
Owners receive timely notice for scheduling (and rescheduling) inspections.
Payment of violations and building registration processes are online.

Next Steps

The City of Chicago is already working on several fronts to improve and streamline processes, including the Department of Buildings new E-Plan system, which allows electronic submission, review, and approval of building plans.

The Preservation Compact will continue to work with the Department of Buildings and the Mayor’s Innovations Delivery Team to help alert building owners to ongoing improvements in processes and to encourage further progress.