Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.

Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.

The provisions of the Chicago Construction Codes are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by the Chicago Construction Codes, provided that such alternative is approved in accordance with Sections 14A-10-1002, 14A-10-1003, or 14A-10-1004. Decisions of the building official regarding a permit application or permit are also subject to review by the Building Board of Appeals under Section 14A-10-1005. Any decision or approval under Sections 14A-10-1003, 14A-10-1004, or 14A-10-1005 is limited to the specific address and scope for which it is granted.
New building materials, equipment, appliances, systems, or methods of construction not provided for in the Chicago Construction Codes, and any material of questioned suitability proposed for use in the construction of a building or structure is subject to the procedures prescribed in this chapter to evaluate character, quality, and limitations of use and must be approved before use. The building official may require the design strengths and permissible stresses of structural materials that are not specifically provided for in the Chicago Construction Codes be established by tests as provided for in Section 1707 of the Chicago Building Code.

Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.

The building official may adopt formal written interpretations of the Chicago Construction Codes, not inconsistent with the provisions of the Chicago Construction Codes, and which, upon adoption, will have the same legal effect as the provisions of the Chicago Construction Codes. Each interpretation must be dated, sequentially numbered, posted on a public website, and kept on file in the office of the building official. Interpretations issued by the building official under earlier provisions of the Municipal Code will remain in effect until amended or revoked by the building official. The building official may amend or revoke a formal written interpretation at any time.

Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.

Upon application of an owner or registered design professional, the building official is authorized to approve alternative methods for complying with any provision of the Chicago Construction Codes for individual cases under any of the following conditions:

  1. Approval of an alternative method of compliance is specifically authorized or required by a provision of the Chicago Construction Codes.
  2. There are practical difficulties in carrying out the strict requirements of the Chicago Construction Codes and all of the following are established:

    1. 2.1. Specific individual reasons, other than solely cost, make the strict application of the applicable provisions of the Chicago Construction Codes impractical.
    2. 2.2. The alternative to be approved will comply with the intent and purpose of the Chicago Construction Codes.
    3. 2.3. The alternative to be approved will provide equivalent or greater health protection, accessibility, life and fire safety, and structural performance.
  3. A material, design, or method of construction not specifically allowed or prohibited by the Chicago Construction Codes complies with the intent of the Chicago Construction Codes and will, in the specific application, result in a structure providing equal or greater quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability, and safety as one meeting the strict requirements of the Chicago Construction Codes.

Where the Chicago Construction Codes provide that a condition must be approved by the fire code official, the building official must refer the request to the fire code official, provided that the building official is responsible for receiving and maintaining records related to all applications under Section 14A-10-1003.

The building official may require that requests under Section 14A-10-1003 be prepared and signed by a registered design professional or by an individual registered or licensed under the Municipal Code.
The applicant must pay a nonrefundable review fee in accordance with Section 14A-12-1210 before submitting a request under Section 14A-10-1003.
An approval under Section 14A-10-1003 for work requiring a permit is only valid if a permit to complete the work is applied for within 12 months of the date of approval, the permit is issued, and work under the permit is diligently pursued to completion. An approval under Section 14A-10-1003 is not a permit, nor may it waive any procedural requirement or fee to obtain a permit.
The building official must record and retain details of action granting or denying a request for approval under Section 14A-10-1003.
The building official, at the building official's sole discretion, may require any request for alternative code approval to be considered by the Committee on Standards and Tests pursuant to Section 14A-10-1004 or the Building Board of Appeals pursuant to Section 14A-10-1005. In such case, a fee paid under Section 14A-10-1003.3 will be credited toward the fee due under Section 14A-10-1004.3.1 or 14A-10-1005.4.1, as applicable.
An approval granted by the building official pursuant to Section 14A-10-1003 is wholly discretionary and project-specific. It does not have any precedential effect, nor does it require the building official to approve any similar request in the future.

Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.

Amended Coun. J. 7-24-19, p. 3647.

The Committee on Standards and Tests is created to assist the building official with protecting public health, safety, and welfare by ascertaining the suitability of construction materials, construction methods, systems of construction, or arrangements of materials that are not allowed or recognized by, or vary from, the requirements established by the Chicago Construction Codes and that are claimed to be equally as good as or superior to those allowed by the Chicago Construction Codes.
The Committee will have three ex-officio members and seven members appointed by the Mayor.
The building official, fire code official, and Chairman of the City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards are ex-officio voting members of the Committee.
The appointed members must include three architects, two structural engineers, and two mechanical engineers, except when a vacancy exists. Each of the appointed members must be licensed by the State of Illinois and have been a resident of the City for a period of one year or maintained his or her principal professional office in the City for a period of five years preceding the date of appointment.
The building official is chair of the Committee.
A member may not participate in consideration of an application in which that member has a personal, professional, or financial interest.
Any person desiring to use any construction material, construction method, system of construction, or arrangement of materials that is not allowed or recognized by, or varies from, the requirements established by the Chicago Construction Codes may submit a written application to the building official, supported by evidence to establish that the request will result in construction that is equivalent or superior to that allowed by the Chicago Construction Codes.
Each application must be accompanied by payment of a nonrefundable review fee in accordance with Section 14A-12-1210.
The building official will conduct a preliminary review of each application and recommend to the Committee whether the construction material, construction method, system of construction, or arrangement of materials should be permitted under the conditions outlined in the application or under further conditions identified by the building official.
If, in the judgment of the building official, further evidence is necessary regarding the suitability or safety of such construction material, construction method, system of construction, or arrangement of materials, the building official may require further tests to be made or additional data to be submitted by the applicant.
The Committee must consider each recommendation of the building official at a public hearing, at which an Illinois-licensed architect, structural engineer, or professional engineer must present the request on behalf of the applicant. If, following the applicant's presentation, the Committee determines that further evidence is necessary regarding the suitability or safety of the request, the Committee may require an additional hearing or condition its approval on submission of suitable evidence to the building official. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Committee must vote on whether to accept, with or without additional conditions, the preliminary recommendation of the building official.
The building official must maintain a public record of the Committee's actions.
Decisions by the Committee pursuant to Section 14A-10-1004 are project-specific. A decision does not have any precedential effect, nor does it require the Committee to approve or deny a similar request in the future. The building official, however, may consider actions of the Committee in evaluating requests for alternative code approval under Section 14A-10-1003.

Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.

In order to ensure that the spirit of the Chicago Construction Codes pertaining to the issuance of permits is observed, public safety secured, and substantial justice done, the Building Board of Appeals is created to hear appeals from decisions and determinations of the building official relating to the issuance of a permit or work done under a permit.
The Building Board of Appeals has authority to affirm, reverse, or modify any decision or determination of the building official that it has authority to review.
Decisions of the Building Board of Appeals will apply only to the individual case being reviewed and are not a precedent for similar work or a change in the Chicago Construction Codes. The Building Board of Appeals does not have jurisdiction over matters within the authority of the Committee on Standards and Tests or Zoning Board of Appeals. Further, the Building Board of Appeals does not have jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the Chicago Electrical Code.
The building official is directed to support the administrative functions of the Building Board of Appeals.
The Building Board of Appeals will have nine voting members appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the city council.
One of the members must be an architect registered with the State of Illinois; one member must be an engineer licensed by or registered with the State of Illinois; one member must be a building contractor; one member must be a labor representative representing the Chicago building trades unions; three members must be residents of Chicago who will represent the public interest; one member must be an architect or engineer registered with the State of Illinois who has architectural experience in accessibility design; and one member must be an individual who is a member of, or who is authorized to represent, a group or organization that represents the interests of people with disabilities. All members will be appointed for a term of two years and will hold office until a successor has been appointed. Any vacancy in the membership on the Building Board of Appeals must be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired term.
The voting members of the Building Board of Appeals may not be employees of the City. A voting member may not participate in consideration of an application in which that member has a personal, professional, or financial interest.
The building official, fire code official, and Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities must each designate one representative of their respective departments to serve as non-voting advisors to the Building Board of Appeals. Designated advisors must attend meetings of the Building Board of Appeals.
Any person who is desiring review of a decision or determination of the building official pertaining to a permit or permit application must file a written appeal petition, on a form to be provided, with the chair of the Building Board of Appeals, within 21 days after the decision or determination to be reviewed has been issued by the building official. The appeal petition must be accompanied by all supporting information the petitioner wishes to be considered by the Building Board of Appeals. The petitioner must also deliver a copy of the appeal petition and supporting information to the building official and, if the petitioner is not the permit applicant, to the permit applicant. Petitions must be delivered in person or by U.S. mail with delivery confirmation.
The appeal petition must be accompanied by proof that the required filing fee has been paid to the City in accordance with Section 14A-12-1210.
The building official may allow an untimely appeal petition to be considered by the Building Board of Appeals. In such case, the Building Board of Appeals will have full jurisdiction to hear and decide the matter.
The building official may, within 14 days of receiving an appeal petition, submit to the chair a written response in support of the decision or determination. The building official must mail a copy of any response to the petitioner and the permit applicant.
Upon the filing of an appeal petition, any and all work or operations which will or may be directly or indirectly affected by any such decision or determination must cease and the affected work or operations may not commence or resume until and after a decision has been rendered by the Board.
All meetings of the Building Board of Appeals will be held at the call of the chair and at such times as the chair may determine. Hearings on appeal petitions must be held no later than 30 days after the last day for the building official to respond to an appeal petition. All hearings conducted by Building Board of Appeals must be open to the public. Any person may appear and testify at a hearing either in person or by duly authorized agent or attorney. The chair, or in the chair's absence, the acting chair, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses.
All orders, decisions, or determinations of the Building Board of Appeals which reverse or modify the decision of the building official must contain a statement to the effect that in the opinion of the Building Board of Appeals the work proposed will not endanger the life, health, or safety of the building occupants or area residents. A copy of all orders, decisions, or determinations of the Building Board of Appeals must be mailed to the petitioner, the permit applicant, and the building official.
The Building Board of Appeals must keep minutes of its proceedings showing the vote of each member upon each question, or if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and must also keep records of its hearings and other official actions. The record of hearings will not be transcribed by the court reporter unless requested by the Building Board of Appeals or any party interested in the hearing. The cost of the transcription must be borne by the person requesting it and in cases filed pursuant to the Administrative Review Act, the plaintiff must pay for the cost of preparing and certifying the record of proceedings, including the cost of the transcript. A copy of every rule or regulation, order, requirement, decision, or determination of the Building Board of Appeals must be filed immediately with the building official and must be a public record.
All decisions and findings of the Building Board of Appeals, on appeal or upon application for a variation after a hearing, will, in all instances, be the final administrative determination and will be subject to review by a court as by law, may be provided.
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