The Chicago City Council adopted some changes to the Chicago Building Code in January, which took effect at the beginning of the month. Owners of vacant buildings must now provide a watchman 24 hours a day.

The previous building code required that a watchman was on premises from 4 PM to 8 AM.

The Department of Buildings said that the new requirement “covers times when children are going to and from school”.

The ordinance, O2018-9443, amends section 13-12-140 of the Municipal Code of Chicago.

Vacant building owners can bypass this requirement by securing the building “by methods approved by the Commissioner of Buildings”. The DOB has a checklist of vacant building owners’ responsibilities.

Plywood can be used to secure the building for up to six months, after which windows and doors must be permanently filled in or covered with commercial-grade metal security panels.

Vacant building owners are also required to register the building on the City’s Vacant Building Registry (VBR) every six months and post the owner’s or agent’s name on a sign visible from the street.