City Council adopted the new Chicago Building Code at their meeting this afternoon. The comprehensive update allows for more flexible building systems and utilizes the evolved model codes that the rest of the country is designing to.

At the meeting today, after the approval report from the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards was made, Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the following remarks:

"I do want to recognize the major change we just made on the building code in the City of Chicago. I want to recognize...[Department of Buildings Commissioner] Judy Frydland and the planning department, mainly Judy for all her work in seeing [through] two major changes". Chicago adopted updated electrical and conveyance codes last year.

Emanuel continued, "No other city of our size or scope had done that in the United States, and to complement that we just revised a total comprehensive rewrite of the Chicago building code. This will modernize it, save a tremendous amount of money and time, and reflects the hard work of bringing business and labor together with a common purpose of modernizing the system."

Twice, Emanuel said that this big news wouldn't be significant outside Council Chambers, but we disagree. This tremendous effort, led by Commissioner Judy Frydland and Deputy Commissioner Grant Ullrich, is a groundbreaking development in the field of architecture and real estate that will support Chicago to better compete on the international stage.

The new code will use the same language other cities are using and make Chicago more user-friendly to the rest of the country and the world. The code will decrease construction costs for some building types, and improve occupant safety in all new and rehabbed buildings. Chicago's building code hadn't been comprehensively updated in over 70 years.

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.

On May 30th, Heather Morrison, MAPS CEO, will be discussing the update of the Chicago Building Code with Commissioner Frydland and others at Bisnow’s Construction and Development event.

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We look forward to starting the discussion about how our Chicago community will be using the updated Chicago Building code at the end of this year and into 2020 and the financial, design and schedule impacts.  

We've started scheduling our Chicago Building Code Update discussions. The program is a guide to the modernized Chicago Building Code. We will inform AEC professionals, developers and contractors on how to navigate the new code and explain the changes through scenario-based storytelling.

Our one hour presentation will also have plenty of time for discussion and Q&A.

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