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The City of Chicago's Department of Buildings is responsible for the enforcement of the Chicago Building Code governing the construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of approximately 450,000 structures located in the City of Chicago.
The Department of Buildings was originally created in response to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. One of the factors that contributed to the Great Fire's rapid spread and devastation, was the lack of a city building code in Chicago, which otherwise would have created professional standards controlling the construction and maintenance of buildings. In fact, after the Great Chicago Fire, no insurance company in the United States was willing to insure any building in Chicago until the City first legislated a comprehensive municipal building code, and then created an enforcement agency-today's Department of Buildings.
The Department's primary function, is to guarantee that all structures located within the City of Chicago, are built correctly to insure the life, health, and safety of its citizens in the built environment. The Department recognizes that proper construction and safety is best promoted by voluntary compliance of building codes and the good faith efforts of responsible property owners. The Department of Buildings is a primary resource that landlords and managers should utilize to ensure that their properties are safely maintained, managed profitably, and promote community health and stability.
In April, 2003, the responsibility for issuing Building Permits was moved to a new city agency, the Department of Construction and Permits (DCAP). However, new construction inspectors from the Department of Buildings still perform inspections to ensure that work conforms to permits that have been issued. Also, DOB inspectors conduct daily and annual inspections of commercial and residential structures boilers, elevators, electrical signs, canopies, and other appurtenances.
There are several divisions responsible for enforcing various ordinances within the building codes, and they are:
*Preserving the housing stock through building inspections
*Strategic Inspections Task Force-Drug/Gang House Ordinance Inspection Team.
*Demolition-Demolishing of vacant/abandoned structures.
*Technical-Inspection of elevators, building construction, plumbing, electrical, etc.
*Licensing-Testing and issuing licensing for tradesman-electricians, masons, etc.
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