Permit Studio is a full-service permit expediting and permit management company in Chicago.

We are offering the following services and many more:

  • Alternative Code Approval Requests (ACAR)

  • Architectural Drawings Submittal

  • Building Inspections

  • Building Records and Violations

  • Business Licensing

  • Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Permits

  • Certificate of Occupancy

  • Change of Contractor Permits

  • Code Consulting

  • Cook County Permit and Records

  • Demolition (Wrecking) Permits

  • Developer Services Permit Program

  • Driveway Permits

  • Easy Permit Program

  • Elevator and Conveyance Device Permits

  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

  • Green and Solar Permits

  • Homeowners’ Assistance Program

  • House Number Certificates

  • Landscape Ordinance Review

  • Marketing Floor Plans

  • Maximum Capacity Signs

  • Office of Underground Coordination (OUC)

  • Public Way Use Permits

  • Rendering Visualizations and Virtual Walkthroughs

  • Scaffolding Permits

  • Sewer Permits

  • Sign Permits

  • Special Event Permits

  • Standard Plan Review Permit Program

  • Stop Working Order Removal

  • Tent, Stage, and Temporary Structure Permits

  • Wireless Communication Installation Permits

  • Zoning Administrative Adjustment

  • Zoning Certificates, Analysis, and Reports

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Alternative Code Approval Requests (ACAR)

Did you know that trade professionals, State-licensed design professionals, and city-licensed or registered contractors can make special requests for project-specific modifications of code requirements?


The Alternative Code Approval Requests (ACAR) process replaces the former “administrative relief” and “special permission” process for project-specific modification of code requirements. The Department of Buildings reviews this process to determine if they meet the Chicago Construction Codes.


The ACARs fees are paid in advance before the review can take place. ACARs are submitted to the Department of Buildings through the appropriate request forms.

Architectural Drawings Submittal (New Construction, Interior Renovation, Addition, Interio

Architectural Drawings Submittal

An important part of any new construction, renovation or build-out is the architectural drawings submittal process. In the city of Chicago, architectural drawings can be submitted through the city’s E-Plan portal.


At that time the submittal payment can be made through the portal, or it can be made online. Once the payment has been made, the plans are reviewed by a project manager.


After the plans have been reviewed, the certificate or permit can be downloaded from the E-Plan portal.

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Building Inspections

The Department of Buildings in the City of Chicago is responsible for checking the progress of any building construction in the city. It is the responsibility of the general contractor or the homeowner to schedule a building inspection to ensure that the work is consistent with the permit drawings.


If your building does not require a Certificate of Occupancy, you will be able to schedule permit inspections on an “as needed” basis with an individual bureau. However, if your building requires a Certificate of Occupancy, you will have to meet the required intervals during the construction process. 

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Building Records and Violations

If you are looking for building records or violations on any Chicago address, then you can use the city’s online database. With the database, you enter the Chicago area address of your choice. The database will provide you with the latest permit, recordings, and violations associated with that address.


The Chicago building records and violations database is free to use. You may want to use this database to find information about your building or to find information about a building in your area.

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Business Licensing

There are many types of businesses in Chicago that will require a business license before opening for business. Chicago Business Licenses are issued by the city’s Small Business Center (SBC). Businesses that are exempt from getting a Chicago Business License include businesses that are regulated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). This includes the IDFPR Division of Professional Regulation, IDFPR Division of Banking, and the IDFPR Division of Financial Institutions.


The Small Business Center (SBC) in the City of Chicago is responsible for issuing business licenses. The SBC is responsible for licensing a diverse range of businesses from daycare centers to theaters, liquor stores, manufacturing facilities, and motor vehicle repair shops.To complete the process and receive a business license, the applicant must register with the appropriate local, state, and federal officials and meet specific deadlines, pass inspection and pay the applicable fees.

CDOT Permits (Environmental Health Permits; Barricade; Street & Sidewalk Closure; Opening

Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Permits

Whether you are looking for a Right of Way Permit or a Driveway Permit in Chicago, you will have to apply through the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). The CDOT is responsible for handling any construction work or events in public areas in Chicago. This includes residential, commercial, or industrial work that will cross over into public areas in the City of Chicago.


Other permits issued by the CDOT include Occupy the public right of way, Opening in the public right of way, Block Party Permits, Athletic Event Applications, CDPH Air quality permits and more.

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Certificate of Occupancy

If you are a construction or substantial renovation on certain buildings or structures in the city of Chicago, then you will need to get a Certificate of Occupancy. The Chicago Department of Buildings issues a Certificate of Occupancy.


Buildings that will require a Certificate of Occupancy include buildings with more than four dwellings, a building with more than 10,000 square feet of non-occupancy, change of occupancy projects, and other spaces as specified by the Chicago Department of Buildings.

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Change of Contractor Permits

There may come a time when a contract may have to be removed or added to a construction or renovation project. In the City of Chicago, a contractor can be added to a project by submitting an Easy Permit Process (EPP) application.

City of Chicago fee for a change of contractor permit is $75.

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Code Consulting

Code consulting is an important service that can help a building or homeowner navigator the various code compliance involved in a construction or a renovation project. One of the important reasons a code consultant is needed is that there is usually no one in a project solely dedicated to making sure that the project complies with the various city codes.


In the City of Chicago, code consulting services include compliance to various city codes, including building codes, zoning codes, landscaping codes, and more. Ideally, code consulting services should begin at the inception of a project.

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Cook County Permit and Records

All work that is done in unincorporated areas of Cook County requires a building permit. The only exemptions to this rule apply for routine repairs and maintenance. You can apply for a permit electronically with a $100 deposit for residential projects and $500 for commercial projects.


Several supplemental permits are available from Cook County, including Electrical Supplemental Permit Applications, Plumbing Supplemental Permit Applications, Demolition Permit Applications, and Requests for Extensions. All Cook County permit applications are payable to the Cook County Collector.

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Demolition (Wrecking) Permits

In the City of Chicago, all demolition work must obtain a Demolition of Wrecking Permit before starting any work. Exceptions to this requirement include wood private frame garages, which only require an Easy Permit.

Requirements for the Demolition Permit include a Wrecking Bond on file with the City of Chicago in the amount of $20,500 for buildings up to three stories and $40,500 for buildings above three stories.

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Developer Services Permit Program

To simplify moderate and complex construction projects, the city of Chicago has created the Developer Services Permit Program. This program makes a single point of contact known as a Project Administrator (PA) from the Buildings Department. During the project, the PA will manage the permit review process.


Projects that qualify for the developer service permit program include new construction over 80 feet in height, non-residential projects over 150,000 square feet, residential projects with over 50 dwellings, and school projects over 60,000 square feet.

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Driveway Permits

If you are looking to construct or renovate a driveway that crosses a public walkway, you will have to get a permit from Chicago. The entity applying for the permit must get insurance that protects the city of Chicago and its employees and officers from any liability and loss.


When working on a driveway, the construction must meet the standards set forth by the Chicago DOT (CDOT). Also, there are reviews by different departments to check if the driveway work interferes with any sewer, fire hydrant, or water valve controls. Finally, any permit is reviewed by the CDOT’s Division of Engineering if any driveway work conflicts with any electrical poles.

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Easy Permit Program

Did you know that you can complete minor home and building improvement projects without submitting architectural plans? With Chicago’s Easy Permit Plan, you can streamline your permit submission process.

So, what kind of projects can you complete with the easy permit program? You can complete minor indoor and outdoor projects such as drywall replacement, roofing repair & replacement work, minor fire damage, plumbing fixture replacement, door & window replacement, certain fence installations, porch repairs, and more. The Easy Permit Plan can be used for both residential and commercial projects.

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Elevator and Conveyance Device Permits

If you are looking to install or renovate an elevator, escalator or conveyance in your Chicago area building, you will need to get an Elevator and Conveyance Device Permit. A conveyance device will include any of the following: a material hoist, a belted lift, elevator, escalator, a permanent window washer platform, an automotive lift, and more.

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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is designed to make the operations of the city of Chicago more transparent. With FOIA, anyone can access several government records for examination. Some of the most popular FOIA requests for permits include building permits, liquor licenses, restaurant licenses, and inspection status.

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Green and Solar Permits

Are you looking to go green with your building in Chicago? The Department of Buildings offers special “green” permits that give your project a priority review and lowers fees.


In order to qualify, the following projects must receive specific certifications:

  • Commercial projects should have certification from LEEDs or Green Globes rating criteria.

  • Residential projects should have certification from LEEDs for Homes or Green Globes rating criteria.


Note that all projects should either integrate green technology or green strategies to qualify for the green permits.

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Homeowners’s Assistance Program

If you are planning renovation or work on a single-family home in the city of Chicago, then you can get help from the Homeowner’s Assistant Program. This program will provide permitting assistance to the homeowner.


Note that some work is not eligible for the Homeowner’s Assitance Program. Some of the work not eligible include second-story additions, dormer additions, and multi-story additions.

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House Number Certificates

Within the city of Chicago, all buildings must have an official house number. The Department of Transportation issues this house number certificate. Whether the building is used for residential, commercial, or industrial use, a street number must be assigned to the building.


A house number Certificate should be applied for and issued before constructing any project in the City of Chicago. To apply for a House Number Certificate, the Department of Transportation must receive a copy of the building’s site plans, survey information, and building owner information.

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Landscape Ordinance Review

Did you know that the City of Chicago requires your project’s landscape features to be featured for review via the Landscape Ordinance? This rule applies to all new or substantially renovated businesses, large residential buildings, and commercial businesses. The Department of Planning and Development reviews these landscape plans.


Overall, the permitting time for simple landscaping should not take any longer than normal building and zoning processing times. However, parkway trees must undergo an additional review by the Department of Forestry.

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Marketing Floor Plans

A marketing floor plan shows a top-down view of a floor plan that includes the location of rooms, doors, windows, and fixtures. The purpose of marketing floor plans is to give the buyer a better sense of the property before making a purchase. Also, brokers can make use of the marketing floor plan when creating an ideal listing price.

Marketing floor plans are also essential when confirming the gross square footage of a property. In some cases, the actual square footage can be different from what is reported from an assessor.

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Maximum Capacity Signs

In Chicago, If you have a building or a general gathering area that is intended for more than 100 people, you will need to post an Occupancy Placard. The occupancy placard is available from the city’s Department of Buildings. To get started, you will need to prepare plans and get Zoning approval. From there, your plans will undergo a zoning review followed by an onsite inspection.

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Office of Underground Coordination (OUC)

If you are working on any Chicago area project that involves deep excavations, earth retention systems or major piping installations, then you will need to get review approvals from the Office of Underground Coordination (OUC). The OUC consists of 27 utility members from both public utility and private entities who will review any plans that will affect the areas located deep under the city's surface.

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Public Way Use Permits

In the City of Chicago, a Public Way Use permit will be required for any Right of Way Use or Grant of Privilege. For instance, if you want to create a sidewalk cafe, you will need a Public Way Use permit. Today, the city of Chicago is making it easier for you to create, manage or renew your Public Way Use permits by using their updated online portal.

With this new portal comes new changes to the way that permit notices are sent out. There are no longer hard copy notices sent through the mail.

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Rendering Visualizations and Virtual Walkthroughs

A rending visualization is a process of a 3D interpretation of a construction or renovation project. The objective of the rending visualization is to give a feel as to how the exterior and the interior of a project will look to either the client, the contractor, or the permitting officials.


Another way to provide a detailed “Previsualization” of a project is through a virtual walkthrough. In this process, we can provide a video of the proposed construction or renovation process. Both the rendering visualization and virtual walkthroughs can provide a detailed look at the attributes of a specific design.

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Scaffolding Permits

In the city of Chicago, a scaffolding permit is required for any scaffolding located in the central business district and is located over 40 feet above grade or located on a building over 80 feet in height.


A scaffolding permit is issued by the Department of Buildings and can be applied for in-person.

In addition to the scaffolding permit, the owner of the building should have insurance no less than $1,000,000 per occurrence.

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Self-Certification Permit Program

The City of Chicago is working to make it easy to handle the permitting process. That includes what is known as the self-certification permit program or “Self-cert.” An Illinois certified structural engineer or architect who has received additional training will self-certify work on an eligible project.


The process for “Self-certification” includes having the eligible professional submit the required drawings through the E-plan portal. Those who are qualified under the self-certification program must undergo renewal training every six years.

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Sewer Permits

If there is any construction, renovation, or build-out work involving any area involved with the collection of rainwater or wastewater, a sewer permit will be required in the City Chicago. Sewer permits are issued by the Department of Water. A sewer permit will be required whether the construction project takes place on public or private property.

The fees for a sewer permit will range by a number of factors, including the types of connections and extensions used, the diameter of the sewer piping, and other factors.

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Sign Permits

A sign permit in the City of Chicago is required for any on-premises or off-premises sign. To apply for a sign permit, you can submit an online application form with the City of Chicago and pay the appropriate application fee.


So, what is included in the application for a sign permit? In the application form, one will have to include drawings of the sign as well as architectural and engineering specifications for the sign itself.


Exceptions for sign permits include official signs, public notice signs as well as warning signs.

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Special Event Permits

In the city of Chicago, special events permits are required for a number of events and situations. Some of the most common reasons to apply for a special event permit include expanded outdoor dining and outdoor events. Special events permits are required if the event will close city streets, involve serving food and alcohol, have merchandise, have a tent that is larger than 400 square feet, or a stage larger than 2 feet in height.


Fees for special event permits start at $100 if the permit application is submitted more than 60 days before the day of the event. Applications are not accepted less than 14 days from the day of the event.

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Standard Plan Review Permit Program

If you are looking to get a permit for any construction project in the City of Chicago, then you will want to know about the city’s Standard Plan Review Permit Program. This program looks at various projects, including new construction no higher than 80 feet, non-residential projects of up to 150,000 square feet, residential projects with less than 50 dwellings, school projects up to 60,000 square feet, and more.

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Stop Working Order Removal

A stop-work order can be issued if a construction or renovation project has taken place without the proper permits and authorization by the appropriate departments in the City of Chicago.

When an owner has been issued a stop-work order, they will need to get the proper permit in order to resume work on the property. The owner of the property will need to get the proper plans in place in order to apply and get the stop working order removed.

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Tent, Stage, and Temporary Structure Permits

Are you looking to set up a tent, stage, or temporary structure in the city of Chicago? Then you will need to get a permit at least 14 days before the event. If the tent is less than 600 square feet, then you will be able to apply for a permit through the Easy Permit Process. Any tent over the 600 square feet limit must be applied for by the Standard Plan Review Process.


You are looking to build a stage over 24 inches in height, then you will need to get a permit through the Stanard Permit Review Program. Stages smaller than 24 inches do not need a permit. However, all stages have to be built up to Chicago Construction Codes.

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Wireless Communication Installation Permits

Are you looking to install wireless communication equipment in the city of Chicago? Then you will need to get a wireless communication installation permit. This permit is also required to install, swap or decommission cellular towers and other associated communication equipment.

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Zoning Administrative Adjustment

During a construction or renovation project, it may be necessary to seek approval for new zoning adjustments. The City of Chicago provides a streamlined approval process for several zoning administrative adjustments.

These zoning administrative adjustments are designed to give building owners some flexibility when it comes to rehabilitating or promoting the most effective use of the space in and around their home or building.


Zoning adjustments can include lot area, setbacks, building heights, spacing between townhomes, rear yard open spaces, driveway & vehicle access standards, and more.

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Zoning Certificates, Analysis, and Reports

If you are selling a residential dwelling with five or fewer units, you will have to get a Certificate of Zoning Compliance. However, this certificate is not required if the sale in question involves a condo or a co-op building. The purpose of the Certificate of Zoning Compliance is to certify the number of dwellings in the building.


How long does the application process take? Once the Department of Planning and Development receives the application, you should expect a decision in about five business days.