Chicago's Façade Ordinance, which became law in 1996, is defined in Sections 14A-6-603.2 through 14A-6-603.4 of the Chicago Building Code. Together with the rules and regulations, the code outlines the city's Exterior Wall Program for written condition assessment reports.
The city also requires examination of exposed metals every five years, as described in Section 14A-6-603.3. These programs are summarized below.
Ongoing Inspection Report ("Short Form")
- An ongoing inspection is a visual, at-a-distance examination of the exterior façades of a building. It can be supplemented by drones or binoculars.
- Occupied buildings with a filed ongoing/critical examination report that classified the building as “safe” or “safe with repair and maintenance” can participate in the “Short Form” program (Rule 2.1) upon written request.
- This report is due to the Department of Buildings by November 1.
Critical Façade Examination
- A critical examination is a close-up visual examination of the exterior façades of the building for a minimum of one representative drop per elevation. Drops shall span no less than 24 feet.
- Frequency depends on the category.
- Category I buildings are those constructed with exterior walls and enclosures that are primarily reinforced with, or are in direct contact with, noncorrodible metal. (12 years)
- Category II buildings are those constructed with exterior walls and enclosures that are primarily reinforced with, or are in direct contact with, corrosion-resistant metal or corrodible metal that is protected by flashing and corrosion-resistant metal anchors. (eight years)
- Category III buildings are those constructed with exterior walls and enclosures that are primarily reinforced with, or are in direct contact with, corrodible metal. (four years)
- Category IV buildings are those constructed with exterior walls and enclosures that are primarily secured to the substrate by adhesive bond or with masonry headers. (eight years)
- Each category of examination report must be provided to the Department of Buildings by December 1 of the year in which it is due.
How We Can Help
Thornton Tomasetti’s Renewal practice provides property owners and managers with solutions to a wide range of structural and façade needs for properties of every use, age and construction type. We have tremendous expertise in performing structural and façade assessments in cities throughout the U.S., including decades of experience with the Chicago Façade Ordinance.
Our local team of engineering and architectural experts is ready to help with all your needs related to Chicago's Exterior Wall Program and any required follow-on measures – including preparing and filing repair documents, assisting with contractor bidding and performing construction-phase services.
ASK ABOUT FAÇADE INSPECTIONS TODAY
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