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on file with the Department of Buildings and must include the most recent report categorizing the building as “safe” or “safe with repair and maintenance program” and that repairs have been performed in compliance with the Critical Examination report. Under this program an ongoing Short Form report is filed every two years.


New construction may enter the Short Form Only program if no dangerous conditions are present. The report must be filed two years after the date of the first Certificate of Occupancy. If a new building opts not to enroll in the Short Form Only program, a Critical Examination report must be filed four years after the first date of the Certificate of Occupancy.


Potential fines or non-compliance are $1,000/day minimum to $2,500/day maximum. The due date for Critical Examination reports is December 1; Short Form reports are due on November 1. Additional information on the façade ordinance may be found at http://www. cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bldgs/provdrs/inspect/svcs/ exterior_wall_program.html


LIFE SAFETY ORDINANCE


The Chicago High Rise Sprinkler and Life Safety Ordinance applies to all buildings built prior to 1975. The Sprinkler Ordinance requires that all commercial buildings over 80 feet high install a sprinkler system prior to Jan. 1, 2017. However, the Life Safety Ordinance provides residential building owners an option to avoid installing a sprinkler system by passing a Life Safety Evaluation. This evaluation involved reviewing each by building based on parameters set forth in the Ordinance.


In order to be exempt from installing a sprinkler system, many building owners have elected to perform certain life safety upgrades as established by the Life Safety Ordinance. The scope of the upgrades varies individually by building. Most common improvements included, but are not limited to, installing emergency communication systems, installing fire-rated doors, ensuring fire-rated doors are in proper working condition, and ensuring emergency lighting and illuminated directional signage are in proper working order.


Buildings that have elected not to install fire sprinkler systems were required to comply with the Life Safety Ordinance and complete any required upgrades prior to Jan. 1, 2015. Recent reports identified that over 60 percent of all buildings that were required to file a life safety compliance plan did not pass recent building inspections.


Fines for non-compliance can range from $1,000 to $2,500 per day. The city of Chicago recommends that building owners review the city’s Website to determine if owners have open violations against their buildings and consult a licensed architect to assist with planning and correcting the violations. Building owners and tenants can check on the status of building inspection results at


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