The Chicago Building Process: From End To End

Michael Tobias
5 Minutes Read
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    When you start dreaming about your new home, a burdensome process of construction shatters your dream. Most People living in Chicago don’t have time to catch up with the demanding building process and therefore need the service of professional Chicago engineers. The plan should be designed according to the required service in building and the requirements of the client, and it should also comply with the rules and regulations of the specific district.

    The district based rules and policies are crucial because in the City of Chicago the regions are divided into small districts, and each of them has a unique set of rules and regulations that the construction engineers have to adhere to. As of MEP, requirements for plumbing and mechanical codes are found in chapter 18-29 and chapter 18-28 of the Municipal code respectively whereas for electrical, Title 14E of the Municipal code is available.


    The zoning department keeps an eye on the adequate classification of business activity that is permitted within a specific district, and it also checks for compliance with various requirements linked with parking, building, landscaping, and verification of a valid driveway. The Chicago's Building Department also maintains a code to ensure the quality of life and public safety for the occupants and visitors. The engineering team will promptly notify you regarding the activities that will require a permit and will also assist in getting these approvals. The engineering team keeps all these factors under consideration before designing the project and can work to get any approvals and clearance needed in case there is an issue.

    Get your design permit approved through qualified engineers.

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    Approvals at Chicago Building Department

    First of all, comes the stage of obtaining a building permit. Getting the permit will allow you to construct the building while conforming to the minimum standards of the Chicago Building Code.

    Now, the questions arise what are you building?

    • If you’re carrying out repair on existing building then you can use the Easy permit process
    • If you’re intending to extend the part of your building or making a new one then you’re going to need a permit by going through standard plan review.

    What is the Easy Permit Process (EPP)?

    This process is intended to give you a fast track approval to carry out small renovations such as door replacement, electrical wiring, drywall replacement, window replacement and so on.

    • The average time for permit issuance: If your application has complete information then department of Building (DOB) will issue the permit on the same day

    What is the Standard Plan Review (SPR)?

    The SPR is intended to obtain a permit for the small to medium size constructions. In this case, only a licensed architect or structural engineer can submit the permit application for the SPR process.

    • The average time for permit issuance: It will take DOB on average 57 days to process the application.

    Following is the indicative list of projects that require SPR if you’re going to add/install or expand the following:

    • Rooms, floors
    • Attic
    • Basement
    • Carport
    • Boiler
    • Deck
    • Electrical system
    • Driveways
    • Furnace
    • Garage
    • Porch
    • Plumbing system
    • Gut rehab


    To ease out the complications in the process and minimize the process time the City of Chicago Departments of building (DOB) has recently introduced an E-Permit. You can take the advantage of this service to minimize your cost and save time. The following image will illustrate how smooth and easy the process is.


    Green Permit

    Now if you’re taking one step further towards environmental sustainability and want to take the advantage of using the “Green” materials then you need to obtain a Green permit. It will reduce your fees and application will be processed through a fast track service along with many other advantages.

    Construction Bidding

    Construction bidding is one of the most crucial parts of any construction project and MEP engineering firms provide this service to their prestigious clients. They can send bid packages on behalf of the clients to subcontractors that outline all the details associated with the project. The subcontractors will evaluate the plan based on their specific cost codes and submit their bids. The firm will award a bid which involves the assurance of technical competency of a firm, economic factors and the service provider profile by the client and transforms it into a commitment.

    The engineering team will assess all the available alternatives carefully. It will only extend an offer to a subcontractor after discussing all positives and negatives linked to the project with the client. A professional firm will keep you updated with all the information regarding the project, so that time and budget constraints remain under check.


    MEP engineering firms understand that proper monitoring of all the construction projects is essential for efficiency. Therefore, the team ensures the quality of craftsmanship, even when you’re not present. It is achieved with the help of progress reporting by conducting surveys on the constructions site and updating the client on the current status of the project, the process being called scheduling in any planning software like Primavera P6 etc.

    The progress report is available with three different levels of detailing including; standard, thorough, and as required. These progress reports will enable you to find out how the project is progressing along and what needs to be changed.

    Final Words

    MEP engineering emphasizes the use of cutting edge technology to ensure sustainable design practices in the field of construction and raises the bar by setting new benchmarks. A professional firm providing all MEP engineering is a one-stop solution for all types of construction projects, from the design process to project finalization.

    The engineering team will only focus on the requirements set by the client and focus on providing them with the best alternatives according to the budget and time constraints. The firm can also offer frequent updates on the projects which will enable the client to stay up-to-date with the project's status.

    Although Chicago building codes are most demanding, qualified Chicago engineers take up the challenge professionally to make sure the design process complies with all the requirements set forth by the Chicago Department of Building and Zoning and the client doesn’t have to worry about any code violations with the project.

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    Tags : Chicago Building Process Chicago Department of Buildings construction bidding Chicago engineers

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