We are excited about the proposed changes to the Chicago Building Code that were introduced this month by Mayor Emanuel. Buildings Commissioner Judy Frydland and Deputy Commissioner Grant Ullrich deserve a lot of credit for their robust stakeholder and technical review process to incorporate important changes to the CBC, the first major update in seven decades.

Frydland said in a newsletter announcing the introduction, "the new code will improve, enhance and spur new building projects of all sizes in neighborhoods throughout Chicago by streamlining the permit process and adding more flexibility and options for construction materials."

The Department of Buildings worked with other departments and the Chicago Fire Department, and nearly 100 technical experts who volunteered their time to serve on the six technical committees, focused on architectural, fire prevention, and administration of buildings. The stakeholders committee, a diverse group of industry leaders, oversaw the work of the technical experts. Together they reviewed and refined several drafts of the Chicago Building Code.

MAPS CEO, Heather Morrison, was on the stakeholders committee; managing architect Tim Artman was on the existing buildings committee; structural engineering consultant Aphrodite Angelakos was on the structural committee; and Tom Miller, fire protection engineer consultant was on the fire prevention committee.

You can now download the new code in a 33 MB PDF (there are 735 pages). A pilot project this fall will invite projects to be permitted under the new code, at the Buildings Commissioner's discretion. The new code will be optional starting December 1, 2019, and phased in through July 2020 – currently the plan is to start enforcing it August 1, 2020, but is subject to change.

In April, MAPS will go on the road talking to architects, developers, engineers, and others to educate them on the important changes in the code and how it affects design and construction. Look at our calendar to directly book a time for our seminar.

The proposed ordinance, O2019-1452, was introduced at the March 13, 2019, City Council meeting. The ordinance was referred to the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards. The committee will discuss the ordinance at the April 9th meeting (agenda). After approval in that committee, City Council will adopt the updated code.

The ordinance was adopted by City Council on April 10, 2019.