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  • Charlene Stark

What is a Certificate of Occupancy and why do I need one in Chicago

Updated: Aug 7, 2023




Certificate of Occupancy

If you are planning to buy, sell, or renovate a property in Chicago, you may have come across the term "Certificate of Occupancy" and wondered what it is and why it is important. In this post, we will explain what a Certificate of Occupancy is, why it is required in Chicago, and how to obtain one. We will also discuss the role of a Permit Expediter in the process of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy and the importance of obtaining Chicago Building Permits before starting any construction or renovation work.


In the city of Chicago, a Certificate of Occupancy signifies that your building complies with all the required construction codes, regulations, and standards, ensuring it is suitable for occupancy. At Permit Studio, we understand that the process of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy can be intricate and demanding. Our experienced Permit Expediter team aids in streamlining this process, making it efficient and less burdensome for business owners. With our deep understanding of Chicago Building Permits, we assure that your project's compliance is effectively communicated to the city's officials, aiding in the swift issuance of your Certificate of Occupancy.


Our Permit Expediting Services provide comprehensive support to ease your journey through the various stages of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy. From coordinating with the necessary inspections to assuring adherence to the city's requirements, our experts are committed to efficiently managing the process on your behalf. With the assistance of a Chicago Permit Expediter, we can prevent common pitfalls that may lead to delays or rejection of your application. Furthermore, our Permit Management system enables you to monitor your application's progress with ease. By entrusting Permit Studio with the task of obtaining your Certificate of Occupancy, you can focus more on developing your business in Chicago.

What is a Certificate of Occupancy?

A Certificate of Occupancy, also known as a "CO," is a document issued by a local government agency that certifies that a building or structure is safe and habitable for its intended use. In Chicago, the Department of Buildings is responsible for issuing Certificates of Occupancy.

Why do I need a Certificate of Occupancy in Chicago?

In Chicago, a Certificate of Occupancy is required for any new construction, addition, or alteration to a building or structure. It is also required when a property changes use, such as when a commercial property is converted to a residential property.

A Certificate of Occupancy is an important document because it ensures that a property meets the minimum safety and zoning standards set by the city. It is also a legal requirement for the transfer of ownership of a property and is often required by lenders and insurance companies.

How do I obtain a Certificate of Occupancy in Chicago? The process of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy in Chicago involves several steps, including obtaining the necessary Chicago Building Permits and completing required inspections. Here is a general overview of the process:

  1. Obtain the necessary Chicago Building Permits: Before starting any construction or renovation work, you must obtain the necessary Chicago Building Permits. This includes a construction permit, which allows you to begin the work, and an occupancy permit, which allows you to occupy the finished space.


  1. Complete the required inspections: As you complete different stages of the construction or renovation work, you will be required to have inspections performed by the Department of Buildings. These inspections ensure that the work meets the minimum safety and zoning standards set by the city.



  1. Submit a Certificate of Occupancy application: Once the construction or renovation work is complete and all required inspections have been performed, you can submit a Certificate of Occupancy application to the Department of Buildings. This application must include all necessary documents, such as building plans and inspection reports.


  1. Wait for the Certificate of Occupancy to be issued: The Department of Buildings will review your application and, if all requirements are met, will issue a Certificate of Occupancy. This process can take several weeks, depending on the complexity of the project.

Why is a Certificate of Occupancy important in Chicago real estate transactions? In Chicago, a Certificate of Occupancy is required for any new construction, addition, or alteration to a building or structure. It is also required when a property changes use, such as when a commercial property is converted to a residential property.

A Certificate of Occupancy is an important document in real estate transactions because it ensures that a property meets the minimum safety and zoning standards set by the city. It is also a legal requirement for the transfer of ownership of a property and is often required by lenders and insurance companies.

If you are buying a property in Chicago, it is important to make sure that the property has a valid Certificate of Occupancy. A property without a Certificate of Occupancy may not be safe to occupy or may not be zoned for its intended use. This could cause problems for you as the buyer, such as being unable to obtain financing or insurance for the property.

If you are selling a property in Chicago, it is also important to make sure that the property has a valid Certificate of Occupancy. A property without a Certificate of Occupancy may not be able to be sold, or may not be able to be sold at full market value. It is also important to make sure that any construction or renovation work that has been done on the property has been done with the necessary Chicago Building Permits and has received a Certificate of Occupancy.

What is a Permit Expediter and how can they help with the Certificate of Occupancy process?

A Permit Expediter is a professional who helps navigate the process of obtaining the necessary permits and approvals for construction and renovation projects. They work with government agencies and other stakeholders to ensure that the permit process goes smoothly and efficiently.

If you are planning a construction or renovation project in Chicago, you may find it helpful to work with a Permit Expediter. They can help you obtain the necessary Chicago Building Permits and ensure that you have all the necessary documents and inspections completed in a timely manner. This can save you time and hassle, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your project.

In summary, a Certificate of Occupancy is a critical document that is required in Chicago for any new construction, addition, or alteration to a building or structure. It ensures that a property meets the minimum safety and zoning standards set by the city and is often required for the transfer of ownership or by lenders and insurance companies. The process of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy involves obtaining the necessary Chicago Building Permits, completing required inspections, and submitting a Certificate of Occupancy application to the Department of Buildings. A Permit Expediter can be a valuable resource in helping to navigate this process and ensure that it goes smoothly.

If you are planning a construction or renovation project in Chicago, it is important to make sure that you have all the necessary permits and approvals in place before starting work. This will help ensure that your project is completed safely and in compliance with city regulations, and will make it easier to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy when the time comes. So, it is always better to be proactive and seek the help of a Permit Expediter to avoid any delays or complications.

Contact Permit Studio:

Looking for help with your Chicago Building Permits? Let Permit Studio take the stress out of the permitting process with our professional Permit Expediting Services. Our team of experts can assist with all your permit needs, from obtaining the necessary approvals to navigating the city's complex regulations. Contact us today to learn more and get started on your project!


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