CHICAGO NEW BUILDING CODE

Chicago's new updated building code brings new safety regulations and stricter model codes.

 

Building

Incorporating many of the 2018 International Building Code's sections, the "new" code updates the Chicago Building Code to enable designers and developers to use modern construction methods and systems. To make it easier to update, it was reorganized to reflect the layout of the IBC model codes. The "new" code combines several construction codes such as fuel gas, conveyance device, rehabilitation, existing buildings, energy conservation, new construction building, and much more.  The Chicago building code underwent its first major update in almost 70 years. The Chicago Building Code has been modernized and incorporated parts of the International Building Code (IBC), which architects worldwide are more familiar with.

As a result, architects and contractors have a more excellent choice in constructing buildings than the new code. The Chicago Building Code can also be updated when the model codes are updated when aligned.

Building permits have been getting more straightforward and comprehensive globally and nationwide in recent years, both due to an easing of access and expanding their scope. The most important thing, however, is to improve the efficiency of permitting. The streamlining of the approval process included the creation of online platforms for granting permits. By using such platforms, licensed design professionals can be guided through a series of steps with clear instructions, reducing the possibility of omission on administrative workers or submitters. With less red tape, the permitting process is more straightforward and less painful. The Chicago Department of Buildings' internet-based service provides a comprehensive list of subdivisions, making it easier to navigate the system and understand the Chicago building code.

WHAT ARE BUILDING CODES?

A building code is something that is there to set specific minimum standards when it comes to constructing buildings. These codes are not legally binding, but they serve as a type of model for various legal jurisdictions used when developing regulations and statutes.

The primary purpose of having building codes is to protect the general welfare, safety, and health of the public as it relates to the occupancy and construction of structures and buildings. However, a building code can become a law of specific areas when private authorities or governmental authorities formally enact it.

In the United States, there is comfort in knowing that buildings and homes are considered to be resilient and safe. Whenever a person enters a building, they often will do so without worrying or hesitate for personal well-being or safety. That is something that people will often take for granted. Whenever the construction and design are sound, then it can hold up to the wear and tear of time and nature. People are right to expect that their hospitals, schools, workplaces, homes, and other structures are safe.

This is a long-standing type of expectation founded on building standards and codes, which are just a comprehensive set of regulations designed to deal with the governing of new constructions, demolitions, repairs, and renovations remodel. Even though building codes have multiple objectives, the main goal is to protect the public's well-being, health, and safety regarding the occupancy and construction of buildings. Model codes and adopted codes are two types of codes. Codes are a set of standards, recommendations, or recommended practices to follow, such as what to do regarding the construction and occupancy of buildings.  Although model codes do not contain any legal authority, their adoption by a local, state, provincial, or national government can make them law.  Codes adopted by jurisdiction are developed by it (either integrating model codes or developing them by other means authorized by its local laws) and setting out a minimum standard to be followed. 

There are multiple types of codes available to address the performance of buildings.  There are three types of building codes: building code (covering many aspects of design and construction), energy code (aiming to regulate energy conservation in a building), and fire code (protecting against fire, hazardous substances, and other risks such as those from carbon monoxide).  It is not uncommon for the model codes to be supplemented or amended to suit the regional needs before incorporating the official building code, energy code, or fire code. If these codes are adopted, they become minimum requirements, and if not followed, they are enforceable by law.  Those who fail to adhere to building code requirements, whether they are developers, designers, or owners, may face penalties such as making repairs, revocation of their building permits, the requirement to demolish all or some of the work, fines, or other penalties. 

In the event of a code violation, there can be severe legal and liability issues, cancellation of insurance, inability to connect utilities, or even the building being declared unfit for occupation or incarceration.  Code-breaking ensures today's buildings are safe, solid, and efficient by ensuring that they meet safety requirements.  All parties are therefore motivated to comply with the code.

This is a long-standing type of expectation founded on building standards and codes, which are just a comprehensive set of regulations designed to deal with the governing of new constructions, demolitions, repairs, and renovations remodel. Even though building codes have multiple objectives, the main goal is to protect the public's well-being, health, and safety regarding the occupancy and construction of buildings. Model codes and adopted codes are two types of codes. Codes are a set of standards, recommendations, or recommended practices to follow, such as what to do regarding the construction and occupancy of buildings.  Although model codes do not contain any legal authority, their adoption by a local, state, provincial, or national government can make them law.  Codes adopted by jurisdiction are developed by it (either integrating model codes or developing them by other means authorized by its local laws) and setting out a minimum standard to be followed. 

There are multiple types of codes available to address the performance of buildings.  There are three types of building codes: building code (covering many aspects of design and construction), energy code (aiming to regulate energy conservation in a building), and fire code (protecting against fire, hazardous substances, and other risks such as those from carbon monoxide).  It is not uncommon for the model codes to be supplemented or amended to suit the regional needs before incorporating the official building code, energy code, or fire code. If these codes are adopted, they become minimum requirements, and if not followed, they are enforceable by law.  Those who fail to adhere to building code requirements, whether they are developers, designers, or owners, may face penalties such as making repairs, revocation of their building permits, the requirement to demolish all or some of the work, fines, or other penalties. 

In the event of a code violation, there can be severe legal and liability issues, cancellation of insurance, inability to connect utilities, or even the building being declared unfit for occupation or incarceration.  Code-breaking ensures today's buildings are safe, solid, and efficient by ensuring that they meet safety requirements.  All parties are therefore motivated to comply with the code.  Building Code History Several different guidelines and regulations resulted from the absence of Model National Building Codes, as each municipality wrote its requirements and performance standards. There may have been similar codes and standards between municipalities, even though sometimes they were distinct or even contradictory.

As a result of the wide variety of codes and standards across many municipalities, architects, specifiers, designers, manufacturers, and contractors found it challenging to meet diverse needs with efficient solutions. Consequently, they were unable to conduct business efficiently across larger geographical areas.  A standardized and universal system was developed to address this problem, ultimately developing model codes. Codes and standards attempt to unite most regulatory frameworks in a region or nation, even if the model codes can be adopted or revised at local levels.  

Available building codes date back to 1758 BC when King Hammurabi in Babylon enacted the first known written code. The harsh penalties of the code were engraved on stone, making it clear that any building or design done for someone else must meet quality standards. There were no detailed codes or permits, but the code stipulated that builders who built houses for women and men whose work was not vital would be slain. Such penalties inhibited innovation, but they also kept most builders honest without licensing detailed codes or permits. Concerning this code, it should be noted that it did not apply to people who built homes for themselves or their families.

The great fires of London in 1666 and Chicago in 1871 led to the development of building codes that addressed the risks one building posed to nearby buildings and the public. In cities, denser development and the associated hazards of near-neighborhood buildings led to regulations for building common walls between adjacent buildings and forbidding dangerous practices like wooden chimneys. Lighting and ventilation for existing buildings, fire escapes, water supplies, toilets, and sanitary drains, stairs, and railings were all regulated because of problems.

The National Building Code was created in 1905 by the National Board of Fire Underwriters to minimize the risk of property damage and building occupant injury. As a result of the introduction of this code, organizations of building officials were formed. Each of the three regional code organizations had its code when the United States was founded in 1940. The International Code Council (ICC) consolidated all of the above organizations and their codes into one set of "I-codes" in 2000. There are several codes to be considered, including the International Building Code (IBC), the International Residential Code (IRC), and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

As the international codes become more widely accepted in the United States, the consolidation of the codes did not mean they are all followed. US codes are local or state-specific as opposed to national government codes that are adopted nationwide. In some jurisdictions, older codes are still enforced. In others, they have their specialized codes, and in some cases, laws aren't enforced. All these variables affect your building project, making it crucial to confirm what codes, if any, will apply at your site.

The Chicago fire of 1875 inspired the city to create the Department of Buildings and adopt the six-page first Building Code. A fire code was created to avoid future fires and disease outbreaks.  Some people believe the code is too restrictive, while others believe it isn't strict enough. As the 20th century dawned, updates to the code were in effect. However, they were difficult to enforce due to corruption and understaffing. Several significant changes to the code were finally made in 1949, and only minor updates have been added since then. It is no surprise that a long-overdue revision of construction codes has become necessary with all the new building materials and technologies available today.

 

 

WHEN DID THE UPDATED BUILDING CODE TAKE EFFECT?

This first phase consisted of electrical revisions, and it was adopted in March 2018. The second phase of the program was approved in April 2019, is currently being implemented, and will become effective on August 1, 2020. Building codes include building construction (new buildings), accessibility, energy efficiency, existing buildings, rehabilitation codes, conveyance device codes, and fuel gas codes. During Phase 3 of the project, mechanical ventilation, refrigeration, natural gas, fire prevention, and plumbing will be integrated. It is planned to be fully implemented in 2021. In announcing the 2019 Chicago Construction Codes on the International Code Council's (ICC) website, the Department of Buildings would like to inform the public that the codes are now available for sale or online viewing. Building codes in Chicago are now much more in line with national standards for the construction, renovation, and maintenance of buildings.

 

Chicago City Council has adopted a construction code modernization ordinance, which is being phased in overtime. June 2019 marked the implementation of the updated Energy Conservation Code. In the City of Chicago, extensive efforts are underway to update its construction regulations based on widely-used model codes and standards while staying in tune with the local conditions. Between June 2019 and August 2020, Construction Code Modernization Phase 2 will be implemented. 

Implementation timeline for Chicago building code (CBC)
  • Beginning on December 1, 2019, permits will be issued for built projects according to the modernized Chicago building code.

  • June 1, 2019, marks the adoption of the International Energy Conservation Code, an updated energy code.

  • As of July 1, 2019, administrative provisions are in effect.

  • The dry standpipe requirements for mid-rise buildings introduced in 2019 will be replaced by the modernized building code provisions on December 1, 2019.

  • As of December 1, 2019, all construction and rehabilitation work in Titles 14B and 14R must meet accessibility requirements (unless otherwise noted).

  • For architects who are not yet self-certified, the training took place December 2-4, while for those already certified, the training was on December 10.

  • As of January 1, 2020, sprinklers are required for multi-unit residential buildings, This initiative has been extended until December 31, 2020 (memo dated July 22, 2020).

  • After August 1, 2020, a building permit fee deposit must accompany all permit applications. The Chicago building code standards for 2019 must apply. Exceptions include the following (for the complete list and official text, see 14A-1-105.2.1-14A-1-105.2.7).

  • Permits for minor revisions to projects approved before August 1, 2020 (14A-1-105.2.5)

  • Projects that have applied for their first permit before June 1, 2020 (14A-1-105.2.6) may be subject to phased permitting. 

  • As of 2021, Phase 3 will include plumbing, mechanical, gas, sign, and any remaining fire prevention items.

  • The modernized building code will be continuously updated according to its needs.

TYPES OF BUILDING CODE

There are many different building codes, depending on the construction type and the issue they are addressing. US governments adopt model building codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC) as part of their building codes. 

Administrative Provisions – 14A

Chicago Construction Codes regulate buildings, structures, and adjacent outdoor areas in Chicago for construction, demolition, maintenance, rehabilitation, relocation, use, and occupancy.

Chicago's proposal to update its building code has a significant purpose of aligning its construction requirements with the most current model codes and standards used by other major US jurisdictions while maintaining long-standing local requirements tailored to the city's needs. Forty years have passed since this revision was first conceived and 20 more until it was finally implemented. 

As you prepare for the new ordinance, it is essential to keep these points in mind:

  • Text in italics - defined term (aligned with I-codes) 

  • The Chicago ordinance is shown in blue 

  • Chicago ordinance defines blue italic text as blue 

  • Zoning ordinance IS NOT building code  

 

In title 14A (pg. 2), you will find the new Administrative provisions for Chicago Construction codes. As of July 1, 2019, this will become effective. Listed here are the instructions on how to use as well as understand the codes. As well as explaining how inspections work, it will disclose how permits and licenses are issued, including a description of special approval processes and fees associated with these.

This introduction page into the new Chicago Building Code - Title 14B (page 161) contains the new construction requirements. Considering the International Building Code, Title 14R (p. 611) has Rehabilitation requirements for renovations, additions, and remodeling. 

In addition to assisting with user preparation, these new administrative provisions make it easier to view requirements before entering the building code.

Building
Code – 14B                                                                     

Title 14B of the Chicago Building Code regulates the construction of new buildings and structures, inspections and tests performed on construction sites, and rehabilitation work performed on existing structures, as described in the other Chicago Construction Codes.

As with other large cities, Chicago has always had unique fire alarm requirements that differ from its suburbs. As a result, keeping track of a specific set of requirements was challenging, as they were added via policies, memoranda, and rules instead of municipal code.

As a result of the addition of the new Title 14B of the Chicago Municipal Code, otherwise known as the Chicago Building Code (CBC), many previously unknown aspects of fire alarm requirements are eliminated, and the code is more closely aligned with the International Building Code (IBC). Although the uncertainty won't entirely disappear, Title 14F (Chicago Fire Code) will not be adopted until 2021. It will include many of the unique Chicago fire code requirements.

Nonetheless, we will be moving forward with the new requirements of CBC as well as the repeal of most of Chapters 15-16 of the current CBC. The new CBC will likely have the highest impact on the Educational sector. Presently, occupancy is defined as C (Assembly), further divided into three types (I, II & III), further subdivided. There are also types of institutions. The new occupancy classifications make it easier to remember if you do this rarely.

Group E-1 and E-2 are now the only educational occupancies. Until the end of the 12th grade, E-1 schools educate at least six children at a time. Anything classified as group A-3, occupancies are classrooms and auditoriums of less than 100 occupants per room or space if they are occupants of an assembly occupancy. Private schools are included here. E-2 occupancies require fewer than 24 hours per day of supervision and personal care for more than three children in a building or portion of a building. A typical daycare center for children would look like this.

 

The following exceptions apply to E-2 occupancies:

Spaces and rooms associated with an assembly occupancy that provide daycare services during events shall also be considered assemblies.

Three or fewer children attending such a daycare facility must be considered primary occupancy.

The occupancy category of a daycare facility incorporated into a residence cohabiting with the operator and having eight or fewer children receiving such daycare shall fall into either Group R-2, R-3, or R-5.

In places where children under two years of age occupy levels other than the level of exit discharge, the occupancy class shall be designated as Group I-4 (Institutional).

Group I-4 occupancy is defined as a facility that accommodates more than 30 children under two years of age.

As a result, K-12 schools are now only E-1 occupancies rather than split into type IA and Type IB. There is just one type of childcare facility, E-2, instead of I, II, or III. Rather than being considered an educational occupancy, secondary and adult education facilities are now categorized as businesses (Group B).

Conveyance Device Code – 14C

Under the Chicago Conveyance Device Code, conveyance devices and their components are designed, constructed, installed, altered, and repaired.

Phase 1 of the Phase 1 modernization included updating the Conveyance Device Code in 2018. Chicago purposely chose not to adopt IBC Chapter 30 with the passage of this year's ordinance as part of this revised chapter in the CBC. These sections are not included in Chicago's code, so elevator vestibules in a typical office floor plan are essentially the same. For example, according to Section 3007 of the CBC, only one fire service access elevator should be installed in place of two (403.6 has been revised).  There is no requirement for enclosed elevator vestibules (3006 is not adopted).  An elevator lobby for fire services is not required (3007.6).

The new CBC IBC tables 1017.2 and 1006.2, along with the existing CBC reference of 13-160-110 about Non-sprinklered exit access travel and the typical path of travel with a dead-end corridor, are indicated 4 of the provisions. There are some general requirements for Chicago buildings regarding Paths of Travel. 4.2 Impact on Core Planning The vestibules of passenger elevators will not be required to have hold-open doors and other operable barriers. A stairway does not have to be adjacent to the service elevator vestibule. By using these two vestibule types, Chicago can continue to enjoy efficiencies on core plans that are familiar.

Electrical      Code – 14E                                                                    

The situation has changed a lot since a few years ago. There are now more options for hardwired power in Chicago—a good thing for our city, we think.

However, as installing data and power units into Chicago buildings is still tricky, it's essential to follow these guidelines:

Chicago forbids the use of modular power systems outright

Arrangements like cubicles and panel systems come to mind. The installation of hardwired electrical components in each furniture channel of the modular systems is required in Chicago-based designs. Employing a licensed electrician may mean additional costs, but the most significant factor is safety. And it's a legal requirement.

A UL-listed outlet box is only to be used within an office furnishing that can be slid into a mounting bracket. These must only be installed by an electrician who is licensed.So, how can you make Chicago's walls less of an obstacle to power? There are several ways to do this. You can now use freestanding furnishings with daisy chains and corded units.

You can also use a corded Furnishing Power Distribution Unit or FPDU if the tables in your room layout are height-adjustable, for instance. There is no restriction on any freestanding furniture specified by the code (the UL962A standards.) However, they are allowed on any freestanding furniture listed by the code that end users can move. If you are using four or more simplexes, you must use a circuit breaker because the cord on the FPDU can only be 9 feet long.

In addition to interlocking accessories, IQ.,the power centers are included as well. Power strips away from a wall are a great way to stay compliant in Chicago and power up multiple workstations.

FPDUs can handle (8) 15-amp simplexes - as well as as many charging USBs you want. Be sure to keep circuit breakers in mind, though. The rest of the power and data devices must be hardwired. Power and data accessories must be hardwired in all other room design and planning instances, other than freestanding furniture.

What is the importance of the electrical code?

Engineering, architecture, and interior design aren't the only ones who need to follow code. Because of the effects on room design and layout, these professions may be the most affected, but there should also be rules for marketing.

Let's say you're launching a product and are running an ad campaign targeting Chicago interior designers. It is imperative to ensure that all marketing collateral is accurate and helpful whenever it comes to power.

A comprehensive workspace solution in Chicago should be delivered by understanding Chicago's electrical codes. Keeping this knowledge in mind will make you one of the leading furniture suppliers in an era when customers have many options.

BOMA/Chicago has received city council support for a significant amendment in terms of electrical code updates.  By aligning with the 2017 National Electrical Code, Chicago will be one of the first major cities.

Through the update, existing barriers to the use of state-of-the-art building technology will be removed, allowing building occupants and installers to enjoy state-of-the-art building technology. By reducing the cost and time of permits and inspections, the permit and inspection process will also benefit developers, building owners, and the construction industry. With greater efficiency, building owners - as well as more than 12,000 companies housed in Chicago-area BOMA buildings - can direct more resources to wages, job creation, and economic growth.

 

 

According to the National Electrical Code of 1999, the Chicago Electrical Code is based on that code. In several significant ways, the code update brings Chicago closer to national standards, including:

By reducing the light design loads in commercial buildings and multifamily residential buildings by 83 percent, new lighting calculations have been developed, resulting in significant reductions in electric installation costs and energy consumption.

Solar panel installations and storage are allowed under new articles of code, allowing sustainability New provisions on improved technology and safety in health care facilities, Building code updates for smoke detection and carbon monoxide detection in new buildings. Another issue is that approximately half of the 156 articles in the National Electrical Code are being adopted without any local changes. Many other articles are being adopted with only minor changes.

Judy Frydland, Building Commissioner, said that after a 14-year hiatus, the city's Electrical Commission was reinstated in 2015 to update the Electrical Code. This update clarifies requirements for state-of-the-art technologies, which ultimately reduce permitting time, expedite an inspection and save time and money for the building industry."

In Chicago, the new code preserves several features that have improved electrical safety, including strict metal conduit requirements and long-standing electrical sign regulations.

Additionally, it will codify a February memorandum allowing flexible metal conduit, armored cable, and metal-clad cable when restoring existing buildings.

Written testimony from BOMA/Chicago was provided to Chicago's Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards at its August 30 hearing.  On September 6, the full Council approved the proposed code, and the committee subsequently adopted it.

Interim Fire Prevention Code – 14F

Several design firms and installers have asked whether Chicago's new Building Code (CBC) will change fire alarm system requirements. However, some new Chicago Fire Code changes can affect fire alarm systems well before that date, even though the official changes aren't expected to take effect until 2021.

Chicago's existing Municipal Code Chapters 15-16 outline most of the current requirements related to fire alarms. The new code, Chapter 14B,is repealing the defining requirements found in Chapters 15-16. Some of the administrative elements are being brought back by the interim code, but they don't retain some of the unique aspects of the current code. Rather than retain current requirements in the interim fire code, these are included in the new Chapter 14B. One of these is the requirement that select types of occupancy must be connected directly to the Chicago Fire Department via the city fire alarm box (masterbox). In addition to K-12 educational occupancies and dormitories (a new requirement), certain daycares, institutions, and assembly occupancies must have master boxes to report an alarm condition to the fire department. City of Chicago personnel must install the masterbox mechanisms and extend circuitry into the building, so several cost and coordination issues must be resolved well before occupancy.

You should install compliant equipment from Gamewell-FCI to ensure compliance with City of Chicago regulations.

As with other large cities, Chicago has always had unique fire alarm requirements that differ from its suburbs. As a result, keeping track of a specific set of requirements was challenging, as they were added via policies, memoranda, and rules instead of municipal code.With the new Chicago Building Code (CBC) implementation known as Title 14B of the Chicago Municipal Code, the fire alarm requirements will be more clearly identified and comply with the International Building Code (IBC). Though many of the Chicago-specific requirements will be included in Title 14F by 2021, the uncertainty is still present as Title 14F (Chicago Fire Code) will not be adopted until that year.

Nonetheless, we will be moving forward with the new requirements of CBC as well as the repeal of most of Chapters 15-16 of the current CBC. As a result of the new CBC, the educational occupancies will be most affected. At present, the occupancy type for the building is C (Assembly), from which three occupancy types are delineated (I, II, III), which are themselves further divided into subdivisions. Some types could also be considered institutional. The new occupancy classifications help make it easier since it isn't something we do every day.

Group E-1 and E-2 are now the only educational occupancies. Until the end of the 12th grade, E-1 schools educate at least six children at a time. Anything classified as group A-3, occupancies are classrooms and auditoriums of less than 100 occupants per room or space if they are occupants of an assembly occupancy. Private schools are included here. E-2 occupancies require fewer than 24 hours per day of supervision and personal care for more than three children in a building or portion of a building. A typical daycare center for children would look like this.

 

Exceptions to the E-2 occupancy rule include:

Spaces and rooms associated with an assembly occupancy that provide daycare services during events shall also be considered assemblies.

If there are fewer than three children in such a center, it is classified as an immediate occupancy. An occupancy that provides daycare for eight or fewer children within a residence occupied by the operator shall be classified as a Group R-2, R-3, or R-5 occupancy. In places where children under two years of age occupy levels other than the level of exit discharge, the occupancy class shall be designated as Group I-4 (Institutional).

Group I-4 occupancy is defined as a facility that accommodates more than 30 children under two years of age.

As a result, K-12 schools are now only E-1 occupancies rather than split into type IA and Type IB. The type of care provided at daycare facilities is E-2 rather than Type IC-I, II, or III. The newest occupancy group is business occupancy (Group B) rather than educational occupancy.

Occupancies in Group B and Group M in Chicago Have Changed

In the Chicago Building Code (CBC), the designation for business occupancies has been changed from Class E to Group B. For mercantile premises has been changed from Class F to Group M, in line with the 2018 International Building Code (IBC). In comparison to Group M occupancies, Group B occupancy mainly sells services as opposed to selling things. Therefore, education is classified as Group B since secondary education is self-funded rather than Group E (Educational), which requires attendance. Please keep in mind that Chicago daycare facilities are typically categorized as Group E-2 occupancies to provide additional security for the children even though you're paying them.

In most cases, Group B and Group M occupancies have the exact necessary fire alarm requirements. Only when conditions are met does the situation differently. In Group B structures with a total occupant load of 300, a manual fire alarm system must be installed, while in Group M structures with a total occupant load of 500, it is required to have an automatic alarm system. The manual system is also required if the load above or below 100 is not above the lowest discharge level. Specifically, manual stations are only required at exit points for occupancy if a sprinkler system notifies all occupants upon activation. As for Group M, sprinkler requirements are determined by square footage, not ambulatory care or telephone exchange facilities. The fire alarm system must notify occupants when a sprinkler system is activated & transmit a signal offsite if sprinklers are required. However, none of the above consider high-rise properties, which have their requirements regardless of occupancy type.

The CBC explains that Group B & M properties don't need fire alarms if their occupant loads do not meet the threshold. The requirement may, however, be stipulated in the corporate policy or by insurance. NFPA 72 should apply if they are installed.

Interim Fuel Gas Code – 14G

Generally, the Chicago Fuel Gas Code (Title 14G) covers the installation and operation of natural gas (fuel gas) pipes from the point of utility delivery to the inlet connections of gas-fueled appliances and related accessories.

This code memorandum clarifies and puts into writing to all designers, installers, and inspectors what the City of Chicago requirements are for gas piping. As part of the memorandum, you will find both the National Fuel Gas Code and industry standards applicable to installing gas piping inside a building.

The City of Chicago has long overdue this memorandum. Because it is vaguely written, this section is open to interpretation. This update can clarify the city's requirements. Items in the memo should be included on the drawings or specified in the specifications from an engineering and design perspective.

AGC and NFPA have collaborated to write the National Fuel Gas Code for many years. There are tables and charts in this code and other uniform building codes that guide correctly sizing and installing fuel-burning appliances.

Currently, Gas Research Institute researchers are working on determining how chimney sizes should be adjusted. 

For reviews, permits, and inspections of gas piping, the following shall apply.

  1. A53/A53M gas piping that meets the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) A53M and A53 will be installed when it comes to natural gas distribution inside of a wall and beyond the gas appliance or meter. The International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) 2000 Edition should be used when installing schedule 40 black steel gas pipes.

  2. Unless otherwise specified, gas fittings with an inner diameter of two inches (2") or less shall be made from class 150 malleable iron and meet the requirements of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) B16.3. Fittings with an inside diameter greater than two inches (2 inches) must be rigid and non-flexible black steel welded fittings of schedule 40. The house pipe distribution piping (the gas meter or appliance output side) is forbidden to use Press Type fittings or Dresser Couplings.

  3. All gases pipes carrying more than 5 pounds per square inch gauge pressure (psi) or more significant than two inches (2") inside diameter must be welded. To weld gas piping, individuals must possess a current Welder's Certification that meets the requirements of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IX, including requirements for welds on gas pipelines that comply with ASME B31.8, ASME Gas Transmission, and Distribution Piping Code.

  4. It is permissible to use Flexible Appliance Connecters (FAC) for flexible gas appliance connection from a rigid non-flexible gas pipe outlet or stub-out. If the FAC is to function, it must be accessible to visual inspection and cannot extend inside walls. According to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z21.24, the FAC must be listed, labeled, and coated.

  5. A gas shut-off valve shall be installed before any gas piping connection to a fuel-burning appliance. This valve must be no smaller than the nominal size of the connector. Whenever possible, shut-off valves should not be more than six feet from fuel-burning appliances. The shut-off valve is located no farther than two feet (2'-0") from the appliance when connecting Hard Gas Pipes to fuel-burning appliances. The shut-off valve should be conveniently located next to the appliance in a visible location to the public.

  6. ANSI Z223.1 - National Fuel Gas Code requires that any newly installed, altered, or repaired gas piping and piping that has been out of service for twenty-four (24) hours or more are pressure tested immediately. An inspection and necessary repairs must be conducted on any gas piping system that fails to pass the ANSI Z223.1 pressure test.

  7. A yellow paint, coating, or label with a black lettering writing "Gas" shall be applied to all exposed elements. A maximum of five feet should separate these identifiers.

  8. For outdoor gas appliances that connect to the building's gas system, such as gas grills and gas fire pits, the same standards apply as above.

  9. The Department may conduct a plan review and/or a field inspection to determine whether the code has been observed.

Interim Mechanical Code – 14M

Before complete code changes are implemented, Chicago's Department of Buildings will prepare a draft of interim mechanical changes. The Chicago Building Code has undergone a few minor changes for 2019, with more to come in 2020 and 2021. 

Mechanical code changes
  • Provide standardized acceptance of listed and labeled appliances that have been rigorously tested to ensure that they meet or exceed requirements for safety.

 

The Mechanical Code will no longer require field inspections or modifications of listed and labeled heating, cooling, and ventilation appliances that might void product warranties or create unsafe conditions. The manufacturer's warranty may be violated if the equipment is modified in the field. Adding or extending cooling vents and having rooftop units capture more outside air used to be an issue. The equipment should be kept as the manufacturer provided it because it is safer, more robust, and robust. 

  • The adoption of national standards for electric dryers that are energy-efficient for residential use.

 As a result of the requirements for through-wall venting in new and existing buildings, especially in affordable housing, in-unit laundry has long been prohibitively expensive. To facilitate condensing clothes dryer installation without an exterior vent, the government should adopt consistent standards for installing these devices. As a result of this, many existing buildings will be able to vent their dryers outside without worrying about the cost or be unable to do so. It is also essential to clarify how the dryer room exhaust should work in conjunction with condensing dryers. At present, electric dryers in dryer rooms must be exhausted according to the code. Using a condensing dryer will be less beneficial if dryer room exhaust is still required.

  • Update domestic appliance exhaust requirements.

Currently, it is required that all domestic cooking appliances exhaust to the outside per Chicago Mechanical Code. According to the national standards, recirculating hoods will allow electric and induction-based cooking appliances to reflect the increasing popularity of these technologies. On the off chance to help reduce confusion, recirculating hoods should be stated clearly. 

  • Recognize new refrigerants and update the list.

 

There will be no reference to refrigerant types banned by federal law, but all refrigerants recognized by the 2021 International Mechanical Code will be included. Changing the Chicago construction codes is a good idea since older refrigerants still appear there, some of which aren't used anymore except for older systems. There is no information on the newer refrigerants. 

  • Be able to recognize ventilation systems that recover energy.

 

By capturing and reusing energy from exhaust air, energy recovery ventilation systems reduce heating and cooling energy requirements. This critical technology will be recognized and allowed in the Mechanical Code.

Energy Conservation Code – 14N

Chicago's Energy Conservation Code applies to permit applications submitted as of June 1, 2019, two days ago. According to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the 2018 edition is the basis of this energy code.

To read the updated code, access the IECC 2018 on the International Codes Council website and review the modifications made by the ordinance for the updated Chicago Building Code (SO2019-1452, adopted April 10, 2019). The updated CBC has been modified on page 579.

This code will soon be available in the Chicago municipal code as Title 14N and added to Amlegal, which hosts all Chicago codes. This summer, a full report will be published.

A 2019 compliance statement is required for all permit applications (for residential buildings up to four stories). You can learn more about the requirements for energy conservation on the Department of Buildings website.

After the Chicago Building Code (CBC) has been fully updated later this year, the Chicago Energy Conservation Code will be fully integrated. By August 1, 2020, the updated CBC will become mandatory for all permit applications.

Based on the 2018 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code, the Chicago Energy Conservation Code 2019 (Title 14N of the Municipal Code) applies to permit applications filed after June 1, 2019. The Chicago Building Code (Title 14B) specifies requirements for solar reflectance for roof coverings in Section 1515. 

Statement of compliance with energy conservation requirements:

On this page are forms that can be used to complete a one-page compliance statement for anyone applying for a permit using architectural plans and familiar with the Chicago Energy Conservation Code's requirements.

An E-Plan permit application must include a signed and sealed compliance statement along with supporting documents.

Your completed Compliance Statement(s) and supporting documents should be uploaded to the following folder: 

  • Review of the Plan.

 The project administrator or manager will conduct an application screening to verify that the necessary compliance statement has been uploaded onto E-Plan. Plan reviewers may spot-check compliance with specific information requirements during a plan review for projects subject to energy conservation requirements.

  • Departmental Inspections.

Inspectors with the Department of Buildings will spot-check construction sites to ensure they occur according to the plans. The plans must include information about insulation materials, fenestration, and building equipment. It may be necessary to revise the permit or to inspect the work again if this information is missing.

  • Commissioning and Post-Construction Testing Obligations.

To verify the performance of a building, commissioning and post-construction testing are required in several types of work and methods of compliance. Commissioning and post-construction testing requirements that apply to a permit application or building ownership must be communicated in writing by the licensed design professional who completes the compliance statement. The Department does not require that written reports be filed unless specifically requested.

  • Design professionals can receive free technical assistance.

University of Illinois' Smart Energy Design Assistance Center provides free technical assistance and training on energy conservation code compliance: https://smartenergy.illinois.edu/energy-code. The Illinois EPA Office of Energy funds these services in whole or in part.

Interim Plumbing Code -14P

Changes to the plumbing code
  • Complying with the International Building Code's requirements for the minimum number of plumbing fixtures.

In 2019, plumbing fixture minimum requirements will be determined by model codes used to update the Chicago Building Code. 0.+6This will reduce confusion and variance requests. Plumbing fixtures required in Chicago were too stringent, resulting in high numbers of plumbing fixtures. There are also conflicting or confusing provisions between the Chicago Building Code and Illinois Plumbing Code. Obtaining an ACAR for the plumbing fixture count by following the state requirements was a widespread remedy. Likely, the ACAR will no longer be required following this change.

  • The two-year pilot program provided additional data about drain pipe items and methods.

Plastic drain pipes will be used underground and inside buildings with a maximum height of five stories. There will be various additional methods of connecting metal drain pipes in more significant buildings that meet enhanced firesafety standards. Data from a pilot program conducted by the Department of Labor since late 2017 indicates significant cost savings and equivalent performance. Therefore, the pilot program can no longer be continually renewed, as it is integrated into the code. Cast iron has always been challenging to use for plumbing waste because of its high cost. Building owners can save a significant amount of money using PVC or CPVC. 

  • Provide restrooms that all genders can use.

In response to recent changes to Illinois law, signage requirements for single-user restrooms will be revised. All-gender restrooms are included in the new facility, including separate stalls for each gender, as well as shared sinks, based on Denver's and Vancouver's best practices. If a total plumbing fixtures count is affected by all-gender restrooms, clarifying the requirements would be helpful. 

  • Update 2014 Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Regulations for Public Swimming Pools.

The provisions that contradict the 2014 state swimming pool regulations will be revoked. State regulations will no longer apply to private residential pools (unregulated by the state). Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago code always differ when it comes to plumbing requirements. A common language will be helpful so that these codes can communicate with each other. 

  • Make sure plumbing fixtures are water-saving.

 According to federal regulations and legislation requiring new plumbing fixtures to be certified under the EPA's WaterSense program, inconsistencies in water usage requirements for various plumbing fixtures will be clarified. WaterSense, the EPA's water-reduction program, can provide clear directions about how to reduce water usage.

  • Consistently update plumbing fixture standards.

Minimum standards for plumbing fixtures such as faucets, toilets, and showers will be updated to reflect the latest national product safety and performance standards to ensure that newer products are fully recognized without confusion or need for variances. Chicago Building Code should align itself further with national standards.

  • Streamline the process of obtaining trade licenses.

Licensed plumbers and drainlayers will be licensed by the DOB, which is fully responsible for disciplining them. Without a separate license, plumbing contractors can perform drain repairs. By obtaining from one agency instead of multiple agencies, contractors will be less likely to delay getting to the project site.

  • Align requirements for protecting the sewer system from grease with national standards.

Commercial food service establishments will comply using off-the-shelf products following requirements for pre-treatment of grease-laden waste. Multifamily residential buildings will no longer be required to have catch basins that aren't based on current science.

  • Utilize model plumbing codes to identify additional methods of venting.

A study has shown that plumbing waste and vent systems can generate significant savings for residential construction and renovations. Designers and builders will have more options for configuring plumbing waste and vent systems. By doing so, mechanical engineers can design more efficient mechanical systems that are sustainable. 

  • Protect drinking water by strengthening and clarifying requirements.

In Chicago, the commitment to enforce lead-free standards in new plumbing will be restated more clearly. Methods allowing copper pipe connections and a flexible hose connection to the building plumbing will be clarified.

Building Rehabilitation Code – 14R

The vast majority of Chicago's design professionals already know that we are in the process of adopting the 2018 International Building Code (IBC), based on Chicago's new Building Code (Title 14B). The 2018 International Existing Building Code (IEBC) also includes a new Rehabilitation Code (Title 14R). Also, for the sake of avoiding confusion, we should note that there is a new section entitled Chicago Minimum Requirements for Existing Buildings (Title 14X). There is no IEBC here, and this is more like a property maintenance code. On August 1, 2020, these codes will become mandatory and may be used for new permit applications today.

How does the Rehabilitation Code work?

Buildings that are rehabilitated and reconfigured must meet minimum standards. In cities like Chicago, it is typical for existing buildings not to meet the new construction requirements with their unique architectural styles. In addition to exceeding the value of the building, upgrading existing building features may restrict the possibilities of a building's future use. Regulations of work done on existing buildings allow for overall code compliance and safety to be maintained or improved. The repair or maintenance of damage to a building cannot create a less compliant building but does not cause an increase in compliance either. There are a few exceptions regarding hazardous materials (lead, asbestos, etc.).

Is there a catch?

As a design professional, you should decide which method best suits your project based on these tradeoffs. Each member of the design team must follow the same method.

Following a Building Code's requirements for a new building is the primary objective of the Prescriptive Compliance Method. However, sometimes it may be logistically impossible or cost-prohibitive to offer a prescriptive solution.

As requirements grow as the scope of a work area, it is a metered approach. As requirements generally apply only to the work area, a clear illustration and tabulation of the work area are essential.

 

There are three categories of work: Alteration Level 1, 2, or 3, Change of Occupancy, Addition, or Historic Building. It is unnecessary to meet all the prescriptive method requirements, but various requirements are different from each classification.

According to the Performance Compliance Method, safety features are indexed and scored according to three categories: fire safety, means of exit, and general safety. Alternative methods are possible for achieving the same degree of building safety using this method. The design professional will need to conduct an in-depth analysis of the existing building before following this approach, even though it may offer the most significant degree of flexibility or cost-effectiveness.

 

A second complication to this method should not be overlooked - a building permit application can only be processed after the report is approved.

 

A building official can also refer the report to the Standards and Tests Committee. Engagement of the Department of Buildings is imperative before evaluating to prevent these potential delays.

With the implementation of the Rehabilitation Code in August, each rehabilitation project must adhere to one of these methods

Minimum Requirements for Existing Buildings – 14X

Building codes in Chicago have been updated with several improvements that could benefit small residential buildings.

The updated CBC generally permits higher heights and a larger envelope for buildings with one to three residential units than the current CBC. CBC's updated Type VA construction allows three stories above grade plane compared to the current Type IVA construction. Type IA construction at CBC resembles Type VA construction at updated CBC the most.

Up to 4,000 s.f. is allowed with the current CBC. The maximum building area allowed in Type IVA construction is 5,000 s.f. for multi-story residential buildings (13-48-080); 5,000 s.f. for single-story residential buildings. Type VA of the CBC limited to 5000s.f. No sprinklers are installed in small residential buildings regardless of their number of stories.

An additional floor is allowed in Type IVA construction in an occupancy class A building (limit of 800 s.f.) when the building is a small residential building. Each floor is not to exceed 1,600 s.f. in the area and 1,600 s.f. in the area. There is an "h" next to the area (13-48-030).

The third-floor limit is evident in all of Landon Bone Baker's new Tierra Linda three-flat design. It eliminates this third-floor area limitation, and it has a fourth-floor option available for type VA buildings with sprinklers (table 504.4).

Both codes allow an increase in the allowed area in some cases. You are limited. According to the current CBC, many small residential developments do not meet the minimum frontage requirements (13-48-1090) and will therefore not utilize an increase in allowable area. A greater area increase is possible in the updated CBC because frontage is measured differently (506.3.2). 

In any case, a small residential project is likely to run into Chicago zoning regulations on floor area ratios (FARs) before it is impacted by building code standards on maximum wood frame building areas. In the RT-4 zoning district, for example, the maximum building size is 3,750 s.f. The area of a standard Chicago lot is 3,125 square feet (25'x125', 1.2 FAR).

A three-story small residential building can have four stories by including sprinklers in Type VA construction in the updated CBC. Under the current Chicago building code and the updated Chicago building code, basements are allowed. 

Additionally, licensed building contractors may build wood-frame buildings up to the lot line using fire-retardant-treated wood framing and noncombustible exterior wall covering (table 602, note j, and 2302.2).

Small residential buildings face additional code changes

The CBC (IBC 2018) does not require egress (exit) windows.

This new CBC still features the steeper stairs, tighter windings, and narrow spiral staircases required by the current CBC. A 7'-0" minimum ceiling height is now required by the IBC, decreasing from 7'-6" currently required by the CBC.

Loft provisions have been added to the updated CBC. Lofts are mezzanines in the current building code and must follow mezzanine standards. CBC section 1207.5 defines loft specifically, which can now be found under section 1207. Under the updated building code, lofts and mezzanines differ in how they apply to dwellings and sleeping units and all other uses.

CBC requires lofts to be no more than 150 square feet. The minimum horizontal dimension is five feet, and access can be achieved using a ladder or steep stairs. It is a requirement that a portion of every loft has a ceiling height of at least 5 feet.

As of December 1, 2019, builders can use the updated CBC for building permit applications. From August 1, 2020, the updated Code of Construction and Building Standards will be mandatory. 

chicago
building code updates

To bring Chicago up to the National standard, the significant change in the Chicago Building Code is implementing the National Standard. Buildings in Chicago are the safest because of the changes made to meet life safety requirements. The new regulations also make it easier to incorporate new technologies and reduce construction costs. 

Clarification Regarding Building Heights

As per the zoning code, the vertical separation between a building's grade plane and the point of the lowest roof slope shall be defined as Building Height. Mean roof height is not the same as Building Height. There are indeed some exceptions.

Residential space's minimum height has been reduced under the new Chicago building code.

 

Existing residential buildings will be affected by this. It would be possible to expand home areas by converting basements and attics into accessory dwelling units (ADU) if the minimum ceiling height was reduced from 7'-6" to 7'-30". Ceiling height is further reduced in bathrooms and laundry rooms to six to eight feet.

The building code allows ducts, beams, and girders to be installed at the minimum ceiling height of 6' to 4".  Unless the occupancy is of Group R (residential), there is a lower ceiling height of 7'-0" in bathrooms, kitchens, storage, and laundry rooms, and above and below mezzanines.

 

In Section 1207.2, these standards are defined. In mid-October, the International Code Council's website hosted the entirety of Chicago's updated construction codes. 

Updated Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design Requirements

Chicago adopted a state-specific amendment on June 1, 2019, in addition to the 2018 IECC. At least one additional energy efficiency package must be integrated into the design to comply with the IECC 2018.

 

In addition, remember to fill out the new compliance forms. Chicago's Energy Conservation Code is applicable to permit applications submitted as of June 1, 2019, two days ago. According to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the 2018 edition is the basis of this energy code.


Visit the International Codes Council's website to access the updated code and review the alterations made by the ordinance for the updated Chicago Building Code (SO2019-1452, adopted April 10, 2019). For details about the changes, turn to page 579 in the updated CBC. This code will soon be available in the Chicago municipal code as Title 14N and added to Amlegal, which hosts all Chicago codes.

Seismic Design
Requirements

Seismic requirements must be adhered to by all critical category buildings, whether high-rise buildings, fire stations, or hospitals. 

Buildings, hospitals, and other critical facilities with higher seismic design requirements will be safer for the public and more straightforward to comply with.

 

Buildings formed with cold-formed steel frames (CFSFs) are among the topics.

Since the Chicago building code (CBC) adoption, this question has been asked most often. It is also sometimes called light gauge framing or light-frame construction. CFSF can be less expensive and quicker to build, which makes it popular among residential developers. CFSF (14B-22-2211) is known in the new building code as Cold-Formed Steel Light Gauge Construction.

Cold-formed steel framing comes under what category in the Chicago Department of Buildings' memo and what the maximum height will be for these structures. Building code confusion has been raised by architects, structural engineers, and developers specifically.

CFSF use was outlined in a code memo by DOB Commissioner Judy Frydland in 2017. It introduces four conditions for using CFSF by residential buildings with more than four Type 1B or 1C construction stories.

THE ACU

Complies with the laws governing disability rights at the federal, state, and local levels within city departments and sister agencies

Ensures plans comply with the Chicago Building Code and Illinois Accessibility Code by evaluating and approving them

Offers architectural and engineering plan review services for the review of pre-permit plans. You can book an in-person pre-permit review with this link. Assists businesses and individuals with disability rights and accessibility requirements within the federal, state, and local jurisdictions. 

Environmental Barriers Act (410 ILCS 25) is implemented in the Illinois Accessibility Code (Code). To fully ensure the built environment in Illinois is accessible to all people, including those with disabilities, the code aims to establish minimum scoping and technical design requirements. It also resolves differences between federal standards for accessibility, such as the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the code (28 CFR 36 [2010]). To provide the most accessibility to all residents in the state, this code was developed by comparing the state and federal accessible specification standards and primarily adopting the version with the strictest accessibility requirements. Both the code and the Environmental Barriers Act (EBA) are laws of Illinois. Full enforcement of the code under the EBA shall be the responsibility of the Illinois Attorney General.  US Access Board develops ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) after the Americas with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. The US Department of Justice is responsible for enforcement of those provisions of the ADA to affected commercial real estate.

State and local governments revised their accessibility provisions as federal accessibility provisions developed. There formed an uneven patchwork of standards due to competing provisions, with some jurisdictions adopting newer models while others lag.  The lack of agreement among code administrators about which standard applied contributed to ambiguity and inconsistency between federal, state, and local standards. Chicago City Building Code (CBC), Illinois Accessibility Code (IAC), and the ADA Accessibility Standards all have different requirements for accessibility for newly constructed and altered buildings. These conflicts create confusion among building operators, designers, and disabled individuals. Buildings constructed before any federal involvement or influence in accessibility requirements present a significant problem, especially in existing buildings.

Currently, existing buildings in Chicago have construction permit plans reviewed by the Mayor's Office of Persons with Disabilities (MOPD), which conducts plan reviews subject to the city's accessibility requirements. Where the CBC and the ADA conflict, renovations can be permitted by complying with the CBC, but if they do not comply with the ADA, they be subject to federal enforcement actions later. The CBC is based on a standard that is based on American National Standards Institute 2003 Accessibility Standards. MOPD has pointed out that this standard is a commercial code subject to copyright laws and therefore is expensive to distribute, leaving many businesses and individuals with no access to the standards.

 

It is currently being attempted in Chicago to adopt and implement the 2010 ADA Standards initially adopted in 2004 by the Access Board that was eventually adopted and implemented by the Department of Justice in 2010.  As with the current accessibility provisions in the CBC, the 2010 ADA Standards are based on the same ANSI version as those in the CBC. Unless more stringent requirements are appropriate in the CBC or IAC, MOPD proposes to use the language in the 2010 ADA Standards

Sprinkler System
Requirements and Fire Limits Extension

Sprinklers are required in additional buildings. A sprinkler system will be required for any new building with four or more units, schools, event spaces that can hold more than 300 people, and hazardous industrial buildings. On the other hand, this requirement may lead to the use of cheaper materials. Some buildings will require sprinklers, but not all of them. Sprinklers will be required on all new hotels, residential buildings with four or more units, schools, large event spaces with more than 300 guests, and hazardous industrial buildings. However, in small or medium-sized buildings, safety benefits may enable you to use less expensive materials and procedures, allowing for more balanced expenditures.

Founded in 1845, Chicago's fire limits serve as a historical marker in the city's history. In the Central Business District, fire limits are currently in effect around Division Halsted, Roosevelt, and Lake Michigan. The current fire limit was increased after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 but eventually reduced after the Great Chicago Fire was extinguished. Added to the Chicago Building Code are the "D" Downtown zoning districts, making the downtown area more fire-rated. There will be fewer fire limits in 1872 than there are now. However, even though these fire limits have a defined boundary, these are not zoning code problems but a type of building code since they stipulate required construction types and fire resistance. A "fire district" is what the IBC calls in Appendix D of the Chicago Building Code. "Fire limits" is a Chicago-specific term in the updated Chicago Building Code. Using fire districts (fire limits) allows cities to create "densely populated portions of the city where fire prevention is a crucial policy consideration." Fire limits are established in downtown Chicago to increase its resistance to fire by generally prohibiting the use of less fire-resistant construction techniques.

Chicago's current building code prohibits construction types II and IV buildings, with a few exceptions (Chicago Municipal Code 13-116). Buildings within fire limits aren't permitted to use wood or other combustible veneers. Additionally, the building's projections are limited in how far they can extend. In the updated CBC, only buildings classified as construction type IV, IIA, IIA, IB, or IA may be erected (D102.1). Chicago Building Code updates differ in the types of construction they allow.

By 2020, the updated CBC will be mandatory as well as an optional standard.

However, the updated CBC maintains some exceptions from the current CBC that permit some other construction types - tents, construction project trailers, detached garages, fences, and sheds, for instance - to be constructed (D105.1).

If the existing building and any modifications are built using one of the allowed construction types (D103.1), existing building areas can be increased (outward, upward, or internally). There are always exceptions in zoning and building codes. Read all the details of fire limits in the new CBC in appendix D of 14B-36-3604 and chapters 13-116 of the current CBC.

Several West Loop and Near South Side neighborhoods are now included in the new fire limits. The development of these two areas has increased. Buildings of the types and sizes proposed to be built in these areas - residential, commercial, and mixed-use structures - are likely to already comply with the rules on expanded fire limits due to their design and location. In the event of new, ground-up construction, increased fire limits won't significantly disrupt operations materially or economically. Existing buildings that do not fall within the allowed construction types may be negatively affected by the expanded fire limits. In high-rise buildings, life and fire safety are even more challenging. Modern codes include fire and life safety elements in their design and construction, but many older buildings were constructed before these features were introduced. A Fire and Life Safety Ordinance provided by the City of Chicago aims to ensure all high-rise buildings adhere to more stringent and effective fire and safety measures.

 

In addition to active fire safety measures, passive fire safety measures are also included in the ordinance. Passive fire-suppression measures, such as fire-rated walls, doors, and ceilings, as well as active fire-fighting methods, such as sprinklers, can contain a fire to its origin. A building's structural frame and existing fire barriers are also considered to be factors that have an impact on its fire safety.

Sprinklers

Adding sprinklers to existing buildings has been the most noticeable change. In buildings built before 1975 or before fire ordinances, sprinklers will be required.  Over 12 years, there were three phases to sprinkler retrofitting.  As of 2017, the sprinkler system must be fully installed in any nonexempt building

Life Safety Evaluations

A Life Safety Evaluation (LSE) must be conducted for every high rise, exempt from having sprinklers. A life safety evaluation takes place to examine the building's current life safety features and determine what needs to be corrected. A completion date of 2012 was set for the LSE.

Communications via Voice

The Fire Department must communicate with building occupants in case of an emergency and communicate with a central incident command center if a high-rise commercial building pre-1975 possesses both a one-2ay and a two-way voice communication system.

Data Sheets on Life Safety

Additionally, existing high-rise buildings must provide the Fire Department with information about the building's standpipe and sprinkler system and who owns and manages the building.

Fewer Standards and Test Submissions

Embedding the IBC will enable techs, frequently used and new building materials, and structural glass guardrails to no longer require special approvals. The permit holders are responsible for determining compliance with the provisions of Sections 18-29-312.2 through 18-29-312.9 by performing the tests prescribed in those sections. Building commissioners and water management commissioners must be notified reasonably early when plumbing work is ready for testing. During the inspection and test, the permit holder is responsible for supplying the equipment, materials, labor, and power and determining if the work will withstand the test pressures stipulated in the following tests. Water, smoke, or air must all be used to test plumbing system piping. An inspector licensed as a cross-connection control device inspector must inspect backflow prevention assemblies to determine proper installation. In addition, the results of annual tests for backflow preventer assemblies with reduced pressure principle, double-detector assemblies for check-valves, and double assembles for check-valves along with assemblies for pressure vacuum breakers will need to be tested and then reported to the water department within 30 days after the tests. An emergency notification must be made to the water department in the event of a test failure, and remediation measures must be taken to ensure that potable water is not contaminated

What are ADUs? 

The accessory dwelling units are more minor, self-contained homes with a full kitchen and bathroom. They can be attached to or detached from a primary residence. In August 2019, Chicago launched the ADU Initiative to develop a framework for an ADU policy that would be successful and equitable throughout the region.

 

Three goals of the initiative were set: 

1. Make ADU construction easier

To improve accessibility to ADUs, determine the regulatory, policy, technical, financial, and other barriers that must be overcome. 

2. Affordability of housing must be improved 

Examine ways to encourage families with middle and lower incomes to live in ADUs. 

3. Building community support is crucial 

Address potential concerns regarding ADUs proactively, including diverse groups. 

ULI Chicago convened a series of workshops for nearly 100 stakeholders from the public, private and non-profit sectors as part of the initiative. They developed strategies to help overcome these barriers, promote affordability, and win community support due to meeting collaboratively during the workshop. Stakeholders worked together to develop the recommendations presented in this report by researching best practices from other cities and analyzing Chicago's housing stock and development trends. By repurposing basement and attic spaces, constructing an extension, or building detached units in the backyard, homeowners can create ULI Chicago Initiatives both in new construction and in existing buildings

R-5 New Designation

R-5 is a new residential group in Chicago. The number of stories above grade must not exceed four, and there can be no more than three dwellings. Although there can be a garage, the building cannot house any other occupants. This makes construction materials more cost-effective. Building codes adopted in Chicago include the organizational principles, the concepts, and the majority of the standard as described in the 2018 model International Building Code (IBC). It is essential to learn how the Chicago building code (CBC) will impact certain residential project types before December 1.

Chicago is adopting IBC occupancy classifications. There are six different types of businesses: "R" for residential, "M" for mercantile, and so on. Buildings in the residential category are currently classified as "A" buildings.

IBC 'R' occupancy groups can be categorized into four groups:

  • R-1: Lodging provided temporarily (hotels, motels, etc.)

  • R-2: Several multifamily dwellings (apartments and condos, SROs, dormitories with 16 or more residents, etc.)

  • R-3: Small multi-unit buildings and single-family homes (example: smaller versions of some buildings in R-2, plus two-flats)

  • R-4: Smaller versions of these housing types can be found in the "I" Institutional occupancy group (assisted living, group homes, and rehabilitation centers).

CBC currently classifies commercial buildings as A-2, which includes multi-unit buildings, as well as single-family homes. Residence occupancies will now begin with "R" in the updated CBC instead of "A." IBC's "R" classification and Chicago's current "A" classification cannot be directly translated. 

R-5 is the only residential occupancy classification Chicago will add, which is not included in the model IBC. 

In the updated CBC, section 310.6 defines the R-5 occupancy as:

Buildings no taller than four stories with up to three dwelling units (including live/work units), a private garage attached or without, and no other occupancy. Each dwelling unit is occupied primarily by one household on a non-transient basis. In addition to dwelling units that are classified as Group R-5, accessory buildings shall not exceed a height of two stories above grade.

The new R-5 occupancy classification in Chicago consists of the following:

Homes, units, and townhouses are all four stories or more, whether single-family, two-flat, three-flat, or townhouse.

Buildings with an additional floor, like garages and coach houses, on the same lot. 

It is not permitted to build mixed-use or multi-occupancy buildings in R-5. Under the current CBC, buildings that are R-5 are classified as A1, A2, and R2-4 in jurisdictions that use IBC. 

What Was the Purpose of Adding R-5 to the Chicago Building Code?

IBC's standards for R-2 (three-flat and up) and R-3 (single-family and two-flat buildings) generally don't accommodate the design and construction features on Chicago's existing two and three-flat buildings. 

Comparison of IBC and Updated CBC

In the same buildings classified as R-5 in the IBC 2018 and the updated Chicago building code, there are a number of differences:

  • A three-flat is subject to many different standards than a two-flat or a single-family in the IBC

  • In Type V construction (construction with an exterior wood frame) of R-5 buildings, sprinklers are not required if there are less than four stories (see table 504.4).

  • Floors on top of basements are subject to a lower fire resistance requirement in R-5 buildings (see section 605.4 and Table 601).

  • Those buildings with three stories or fewer are exempt from the minimum guard rail height requirement (section 1015)

  • It does not have seismic design requirements (see section 1613.1).

  • CBC will continue to allow winder treads (turned staircases).(See section 1011.5.3)

 

A revised CBC will become effective on August 1, 2020, and architects and builders will have the option of using the revised CBC as of December 1, 2019. 

Administrative Process

This means that the applicant will spend less time translating Chicago-specific terminology and more time with the applicant since the code will be more detailed, consistent, and up-to-date with statutory standards. In addition, all permits and payments will be made online through the Department of Building's new computer program.

As of April, Chicago's updated construction codes are already in effect in some sections. On June 1, 2019, the energy code became effective, and on July 1, 2019, the administrative provisions (Title 14A) became effective. Parking garages, commercial and industrial uses, and storage facilities are among the uses affected by 14A. The requirements also affect the project owners. 

Buildings have ceased to issue floor load placards, so the project's design professional will need to design a placard, certify it, and post it in the required location. 

Which areas are covered by the new rule?

There are exceptions for areas intended for mercantile, industrial, or storage use designed for loads exceeding 100 pounds per square foot and have signs marking them at or near the primary entrance to all stories, rooms, or areas (14A-8-803.1). 

Data centers and parking garages are likely to be affected by this.

What's the responsible party?

Owners must certify that durability signs have been erected and explain the structural design to obtain an occupancy permit from the Department of Buildings. The general contractor usually does this.

A design professional (a licensed architect or structural engineer for projects using Developer Services (DS) or Direct Developer Services (DDS) are required to provide a signed letter to the third-party plan examiner confirming that they, the design professional, will provide the owner (or general contractor) with live load certification and sign design.

Permit review can take place before or during the drawing of the floor load signs.

Additionally, for parking garages that are solely for vehicles carrying passengers, every level of the garage must display a sign saying, "These stalls are exclusively for the storage of passengers" (see section 14A-8-803.2).

More About Construction Code Books

On the International Code Council (ICC) website, the 2019 Chicago Construction Codes are now available for purchase or viewing directly from the Department of Buildings. As a result of the changes, Chicago's building construction, renovation, and maintenance standards have been brought closer to national standards.

In April 2019, the Chicago City Council adopted a modernization ordinance that is being phased in over some time. Several new Energy Conservation Codes were implemented in June 2019, and the Construction Code will become optional on December 1, 2019, and mandatory for permits on August 1, 2020.

Shipment of the books is expected to occur in late October, according to the ICC.

More about the Construction Codebooks

According to the Chicago Construction Code, Title 14B regulates new constructions of buildings and other structures, including special inspections and tests, safe construction sites, and building rehabilitation work. Our accessibility provisions have been drafted according to the 2018 Illinois Accessibility Code and federal regulations for construction funded by private sources. IBC 2018 codes are fully integrated into this package.

Reconstruction and rehabilitation of existing buildings and structures are regulated by Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code, Title 14R. Our accessibility provisions have been drafted according to the 2018 Illinois Accessibility Code and federal regulations for construction funded by private sources.

Title 14N of the Chicago Energy Conservation Code lays down requirements for designing, constructing, and rehabilitating new and existing buildings that conserve energy. Despite the Illinois amendments to the International Energy Conservation Code adopted in 2019, this code was drafted to be consistent with them. Based on IECC 2018, this is a fully integrated code.

A set of administrative procedures is provided for each code in the Chicago Construction Codes series in the Administrative Provisions, Title 14A. It describes the application and enforcement of the codes and establishes the limits of their applicability. As part of these provisions, city employees, design professionals, builders, and building owners are given their rights and responsibilities about the Chicago Construction Codes. 

Where to Get the New Building Codes

In October 2019, the International Code Council released a free online version of the code. Also updated is the City of Chicago Municipal Code of Chicago website, which includes only amendments.

 

The ordinance as adopted by the City Council is here (4 parts):

  • SO2019-1452 is a statute that updates several sections of the Chicago Municipal Code and is over 740 pages long. 75 MB are required to download the PDF. April 10 marked the adoption of the new CBC.

  • Code corrections have been adopted by ordinance SO2019-4097 in the second half of 2019.

  • Code corrections have been adopted by ordinance SO2020-99, enacted on February 19, 2020.

  • Corrections to the code were adopted as part of ordinance SO2020-4593 on October 7, 2020.

Highlights of the New Building Codes
The Chicago Building Code has been updated. What are the changes?

The first general revision to note is that today's new code is much more in line with the International Building Code, which is widely used throughout the nation. Following a standardized practice can help to lessen the confusion among various areas of the city, which means that certain constructions can be streamlined and provide fewer errors that are expensive, which are both critical factors when it comes to building development.

Here are some more highlights of the changes:

1. Building Material Approval and Interpretations Require Less

Due to the International Building Code's alignment with the International Building Code, the approval of commonly used and newer building materials, including roofing, masonry, solar panels, and cellular towers, will no longer be required.

2. There are More Options Available for Small Residential Buildings( Shorter stories and four or fewer units)

You can also build on empty lots or add to existing buildings using wood-frame or prefabricated construction.

3. Benefits of Reusing Existing Basements and Attics

Renovating and expanding existing residential buildings will become easier with the new 7-foot minimum ceiling height requirement. Also included in the updated requirements is a broader range of options for light and ventilation. However, these changes aren't effective until after a rewrite of the Mechanical Code in 2020 or 2021.

4. Reuse of Smaller Buildings at an Efficient Cost

Thinking of building a home with two stories? The requirements for wind as a 15-story hospital will no longer apply to your building. Based on the scale of the work, the new code provides a more flexible framework for establishing requirements.

5. Updated Requirements for Seismic Design

Buildings, hospitals, and other critical facilities with higher seismic design requirements will be safer for the public and more straightforward to comply with.

6. A Revision to the Accessibility Standards

Keeping up with state and national accessibility regulations is now easier with updated accessibility requirements. A fraction of the cost of a packed elevator can now be saved by using vertical lifts or limited use/limited access lifts.

7. Sustainable Design and Energy Efficiency Requirements and Updates

As a result, the Illinois state building code will be updated to comply with the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code, simplifying creating energy-efficient buildings. In addition, there are now requirements that open-plan areas should have occupancy-sensing lighting and HVAC systems (for hotels with more than 50 guests) must feature automatic controls. The requirement to conduct post-construction tests on air leakage and, in some cases, duct leakage is already in place for residential buildings (4 stories or less).

8. Sprinkler Systems

Some buildings will require sprinklers, but not all of them. Sprinklers will be required on all new hotels, residential buildings with four or more units, schools, large event spaces with more than 300 guests, and hazardous industrial buildings. However, in small or medium-sized buildings, safety benefits may enable you to use less expensive materials and procedures, allowing for more balanced expenditures.

In addition to these updates, there are a few others that architects, developers, and contractors must know about:

Upon rezoning (from PMD/M to B or C) in Industrial Corridors, property owners will not be required to pay the conversion fee if rehabilitation of a "character building" is included. It is much more expensive than a typical zoning change because the conversion fee is based on the property area and average land acquisition and construction costs. 

Denise Arnold, the accessibility architect who discussed five changes affecting residential design and construction in the Illinois Accessibility Code, spoke to me about those changes last fall.

Building owners and funders were given more flexibility regarding how muralists could work on blank walls and acknowledge sponsors without being considered a sign by updating "Mural code" (not a code).

Building Code Additions

Last year, several updates to Chicago's buildings codes, including those about Chicago Building, Rehabilitation, Existing Buildings, and Energy Conservation. The Administration section of the site has also been updated. To update the Fire Prevention, Fuel Gas, Mechanical, and Plumbing codes, buildings will have to wait until after August 1, 2020, when Building Code updates will be required for all projects. 

Apartments with Accessory Dwelling Units

In December 2018, the City Council adopted the current five-year housing plan, and City Hall has been working on legislation to legalize coach houses and other accessory dwelling units. Additionally, the Urban Land Institute's affordable housing task force is developing recommendations on mitigating financial and regulatory barriers to mass adoption. The task force is composed of several city employees. City council member Harry Osterman, chair of the committee on housing and real estate, has requested a draft ordinance be prepared this month for potential adoption in spring. 

Providing Affordable Housing

As part of its plans to propose revisions to the Affordable Requirements Ordinance this year, the Department of Housing sought nominations to join its Inclusionary Housing Task Force.Several business and non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, unions, and law firms were selected in December. In the summer, meetings will take place monthly. The Department of Housing has also launched the first-ever ARO dashboard, showing where homes constructed according to the ordinance are located.

Bird Law

An ordinance that required bird-friendly buildings was proposed by Alder Hopkins, 2nd Ward, last year. In Chicago, countless birds are killed every year when they crash into reflective buildings. In the following months, an alternative was introduced. There has been no committee hearing since then, so passage is unlikely.  

CONCLUSION

Architecture, engineering, construction, and development are all governed by building codes. Architects and engineers should ensure their building designs meet or exceed the legal code requirements for the jurisdiction in which they are working. Local building departments review plans before building and issue permits before construction begins. Inspectors confirm a project's compliance with the code. Aside from contractors and subcontractors, building products and materials manufacturers, insurance companies, facility managers, building owners, tenants, and building inspectors are all part of the construction industry affected by building codes.

 

Construction companies and building supply companies compete differently depending on the strength of their building codes. Innovative products and processes can gain a competitive edge in the building sector when codes are changed. In the three-year model code revision process, stakeholders submit recommendations for inclusion in new building requirements. Innovations like these add value to buildings while improving their health and safety. Innovations that enhance the job skills of construction workers also increase the value of their services. There is a perception that government shouldn't have a presence in the development process of private companies. Many of the opponents of state adoption of current safety and energy code present various reasons why building codes are misguided when articulating a belief that they should not be mandated by the government how to run their business. In stark contrast, most citizens expect their government to protect the health and safety of their citizens. The political philosophy is generally indifferent to opposing ideologies.

Historically, codes were designed to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Today, codes are increasingly complicated. The cause and effects of increased temperatures and climate change are constantly being studied, and our knowledge and understanding of earthquakes, windstorms, and other natural phenomena continue to improve. Buildings that we are constructing today will be affected by expected changes in environmental conditions during the 21st century. To reflect that increased knowledge, we need to update our model codes regularly. This is sometimes referred to as "future-proofing." States and local legislatures seeking current building codes need only adopt statewide model codes and update them. All relevant parties make their views known in these codes, which are developed through a rigorous participatory democratic process that considers all points of view. Several amendments are offered by builders, building owners, and contractors. It is beneficial to adopt new model codes, but their value is hampered if inspectors and plan reviewers are not updated. Not all builders comply with code, though many try. Systematic plan reviews and trained inspectors can detect unintentional lapses due to ignorance or mistakes made by designers or builders. Therefore, building permits and inspections should be planned and budgeted to keep up with the most recent model code and maintain trained and qualified staff qualified to read and interpret construction plans and ensure compliance with minimum code requirements.

In general, these updates are aimed at aligning Chicago's building code with international standards. The Chicago Building Code will be simplified, and other states and countries will be more able to access Chicago.

Furthermore, the updates enhance the flexibility of the code, giving developers more options and resulting in lower development costs and expenses. Flexibility in building codes allows architects and developers to design buildings more creatively and reduce building costs.

The City of Chicago's Department of Buildings has updated its website with additional information on permit fees, self-certification requirements, and the permit application. It is hoped that this new code will not only let designers learn from the mistakes of the past but that it will also preserve the "Chicago" character for years to come.