Chicago Building Code Violations Resolution

If you are a real estate property owner in Chicago, doesn’t matter if it’s a residential, industrial, or commercial establishment, there’s a chance that you got busted and received a building code violation notice from the Chicago building department.

Chicago Building Code Violations? – Not sure if you can handle it?

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A word about the Chicago Building Code History

Chicago Building Code Violations Resolution by EDMAR Corporation Masonry

Chicago Building Code Violations Resolution by EDMAR Corporation Masonry

In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed about 3.3 square miles of the city. Subsequently, there was a lot of rebuilding that needed to take place. Possibly in response to the amount of construction going on was the implementation of a building code in Chicago 4 years later in 1875.

Building codes have always been – and continue to be – about safety and responsibility, but recent code amendments have shown an inclusion of sustainability and conservation in the list of priorities.

Today, Chicago remains the only city in America to use a building code written completely by its own administration rather than installing a generalized model code like virtually all other cities in the country. Some property owners may believe the code is too harsh on their buildings, but unless the long-planned changes to the Chicago building code are finally implemented, we’ll have to deal with what we have.

If you don’t already know that, dealing with Chicago Building Code Violations is usually very expensive. Minor issues might be just cosmetic and easy to correct, for larger scale, often serious safety concerns, you may end up paying even tens of thousands of $$$. The best way to minimize cost is to resolve building code related issues as soon as possible.

How can we Help to Resolve Chicago Building Code Violations

At EDMAR Corporation, we’ve been helping residential, commercial and industrial property owners with resolving Chicago building code violations for over 30 years. We specialize in correcting problems associated primarily with masonry structures, wooden porch systems, and concrete sidewalks / stairs. If the building violation ticket you received states that you need to replace windows and / or doors, we can do that as well (we don’t repair them, just install new ones).

The entire process of resolving Chicago building code violations ends with final inspection performed by the Chicago building inspector, and removal of the violation from the building record. We are not done until this final step has been completed.

What can you expect from us after signing the Chicago Building Code Violations Resolution Contract?

  • We will assist you (the owner) with an entire violation resolution process for the violations specifically addressed in our contract. These include projects such as: tuckpointing, repointing, parapet wall rebuilding, lintel replacement, brick wall rebuilding, chimney repair and rebuilding, replacement of glass block, and vinyl windows, wooden porch and deck replacement / rebuilding, replacement of concrete sidewalks and stairs.

You may have a variety of violations that go beyond our scoop of work, for example, violations concerning electrical or plumbing systems, or paint work – those would have to be corrected by other professionals.

  • IF REQUIRED – Edmar will obtain the required permits at the City of Chicago Department of Buildings, and prepare necessary architectural drawings.

Our line of work (masonry, porch rebuilding, concrete replacement) requires building permits in most cases. This is often stated within the violation description, however, some of the Chicago building inspectors omit that building permit requirement information because it’s mandatory. Architectural drawings approved by the City of Chicago Building Department may be also required in some circumstances, such as porch rebuilding, replacement of steel lintels longer than 6’, rebuilding of masonry wall that has been structurally compromised etc. Permits and drawings can be obtained by us, or you can apply for them and have an architect of your choice complete preparation.


  • We will meet with City of Chicago Inspectors for any interim inspections required by the city regarding the building code violations.

Some projects require final inspection only, some will require meetings with the inspector during the project. We’ll always make the arrangements and meet with him on the job site whenever it is necessary.

  • If our presence is required, we will assist in any administrative or court hearings regarding the violations. However, we will not provide or pay for any legal representation, you have to use your own attorney to represent you in court.
  • We will assist you until the City of Chicago determines that work performed to correct violations addressed in our contract has been properly performed and approved by the Chicago building inspector.


How can you Check if Any Chicago Building Code Violations Have Been Issued for Your Property

Every year, as part of our business promotional campaigns, we prepare and send by mail letters informing some of the Chicago property owners about building code violation that have been issued for their properties. Many of the recipients are often surprised and even angry at us for sending those letters, simply because they are not even aware of any issues with their properties.

This is because the building violation letter / ticket from the Chicago building department may have been misplaced, sent to different address, or not even mailed at all. In many cases, the only information property owner receives is the court date. At this point you have almost no time to perform repairs and attorney intervention may be the only option.

Besides fixing your property, we can recommend something that will fix this “lack of information”. Whatever the reason is behind missing violation letters, you can simply go to this website (yes, your building violations records are public knowledge), checkmark: “I accept the terms of this license”, click “Submit”, and on the next page, enter the building address of the property you’d like to research history of building violations for.

There might be some delay between the building inspection that was performed on your property and information availability on the City of Chicago Official Website. Therefore, make it a habit, make a reminder in your phone calendar, and just click that link every couple of months, your findings may be well worth that 30 seconds of your time.

Now, let’s take a look at:

The Most Common Chicago Building Code Violations, Related to Wooden Porches, Masonry, and Concrete

1. Chicago Porch and Deck Related Building Code Violations – dimensions, condition, and assembly of the porch members

Several rules apply when constructing a porch (with a roof) or a deck (roofless) made of combustible materials. For example, they must not be higher than three stories and cannot stick out more than ten feet from the building or house. This is perhaps the most strictly enforced building code provision in Chicago due to a number of deadly incidences in the past where porches collapsed.

2. Building Code Violations for Handrails – missing, damaged, improperly installed

Stairways require handrails on both sides unless the stairs are less than 44 inches wide, in which case a handrail is only required on one side. The height from stair to handrail must fall between 2’10” and 3’2” and the handrail must return to the wall at either end so as not to catch clothing and cause falls.

3. Building Code Violations for Mortar and Grout in Brick Basonry – missing, deteriorating, cracked

There are distinct mortar and grout specifications that must be met when constructing and maintaining brick structures. Our customers can trust that the masonry work we do at Edmar has always been and will continue to be up-to-code so that there is never a worry regarding code violations.

4. Building Code Violations for Lintels in Masonry Structures – rusted / corroded, sagging, deteriorated

Steel lintels on exterior walls of masonry buildings are exposed to the harsh Chicago weather. Over time, they corrode, start expanding, which results in often extensive damage to the masonry walls above them. At this stage, the only solution is to replace them.

5. Building Code Violations for Parapet Walls – loose bricks, leaning, bulging, missing mortar, missing / deteriorated coping

 Wall extensions projecting above the building’s roof (usually low slope / flat) are called parapet walls. They serve important roles in maintaining building’s top-notch performance, when compromised, can caused a lot of problems and cost 10’s of thousands of $$$ to repair.

6. Building Code Violations for Masonry Chimneys – leaning, deteriorated, missing mortar, undersized, oversized

Older masonry chimneys, often missing crowns, liners and caps, tend to deteriorated faster and from the inside out. Process that takes decades might be hidden from the outside until is too late, and chimney’s structure starts leaning and falling apart.

7. Building Code Violations for Concrete Sidewalks and Stairs – cracked, displaced, sagging, improperly sloped

Compromised concrete sidewalk or stairs can often create trip hazard, even a small surface displacement or uneven height of individual steps can result in injury.

How to Avoid Chicago Building Code Violations?

The easiest way to avoid a building code violation in Chicago when undertaking a construction project is to be educated about the Chicago Building Code, and to trust that whoever you have contracted to work for you knows the Code as well. Much of the Code can be written off as common sense, but there are a few provisions that are very specific or can be difficult to comply with. The list above is not exhaustive, but will hopefully help you to avoid some of the more common problems that people run into when building or renovating in Chicago.

Have any of the described above issues been listed on your Chicago building code violation ticket or online record?

Our experience and astounding reputation (check our Yelp reviews & Google reviews) speak volumes about our Chicago masonry services. As fully licensed, bonded, and insured masonry contractor in Chicago, you can rest assured that any Chicago building code violation repairs performed on your property will be completed in a thorough, safe, and efficient manner.

If you own a property that has a record of unresolved Chicago building code violations, related to masonry, wooden porches, and concrete sidewalks / stairs, don’t hesitate and contact our office for a FREE, not obligatory estimate at 1-847-724-5600 or email us to schedule an appointment. An experienced specialist will walk you through the necessary repairs, provide you with a recommendation, and get you on the way to a violation-free building as fast as possible.

EDMAR Corporation is not affiliated with the City of Chicago Building Department or any other of its branches. This is only an advertisement of our services.