Chicago City Council has approved an ordinance introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that streamlines and provides necessary steps for discipline against contractors and trade professionals who repeatedly violate Chicago building code and licensing regulations.
“These reforms are the culmination of a year of work to allow the city to better address code violations by construction contractors to safeguard the health and safety of the people of Chicago,” Mayor Emanuel said in a statement. “While there is nothing we can do to fill the void left by the death of firefighter Daniel Capuano, these reforms will help prevent such unnecessary tragedies from ever happening again.”
The new ordinance empowers the Building Commissioner to suspend the permit privileges of developers, design professionals, expediters, contractors and tradespeople who perform work without a permit, work contrary to a permit, use unlicensed contractors or tradespeople or fail to correct code violations.
It will also give the Building Commissioner the ability to suspend or revoke the licenses of contractors and tradespeople who perform work without a permit, work contrary to a permit, violate stop work orders or fail to correct significant code violations.
Currently, the Building Commissioner has to issue a stop work order for an individual job, vacate an individual building or suspend an individual trade license. The new ordinance would provide broader oversight to stop those who continue to skirt regulations.
“For too long, it was easy for a small number of developers or contractors with open violations at one project to simply move on to the next permit application or project,” said Building Commissioner Judy Frydland. “With these reforms, we can now hold developers and contractors accountable with a streamlined discipline process to correct licensing and code violations or have licenses and permits revoked.”
In 2016, the Department of Buildings issued 46,929 building permits, an increase of 1,500 permits compared to 2015.