In accordance with the City of Chicago’s Exterior Wall Program, all buildings in Chicago that are 80 feet or more in height must be inspected regularly by a licensed architect or structural engineer to identify defects and safety issues in the building’s facade.

Building Consultants, Ltd. has performed hundreds of Critical Examinations and Ongoing Inspections at buildings with facades of all types, including masonry, stone, terra cotta, concrete, metal panels, and curtain wall systems. Please contact us if you would like to schedule an Ongoing Inspection or Critical Examination.

After completing the required inspection, BCL can also develop a repair program for your building’s facade and assist you throughout the repair process. BCL has extensive experience in design, bidding, and construction monitoring for repair projects of all sizes.

If you own or manage a building in Chicago and do not know what type of inspection might be required, please let us help.

In general, Critical Examinations, which are required every 4, 8, or 12 years depending on the type of construction of the building, require a hands-on inspection at each elevation of the building. For masonry, stone, or terra cotta buildings 50 years or older, inspection openings at each elevation are also required.

Between Critical Examinations, Ongoing Inspections are required at the halfway point of the Critical Examination cycle. Ongoing Inspections can be performed visually from the ground, typically using binoculars. Building owners may also choose to perform Ongoing Inspections every two years and not perform Critical Examinations at the required frequencies if the building meets certain requirements, though we still recommend periodic up-close inspection.

Further, specific, information can be found at the City of Chicago’s Department of Buildings website.
Required Reporting for Exterior Walls of High Rise Buildings
2020 Ongoing Inspection Form
Exterior Wall Ordinance
Rules Regarding the Maintenance of High-Rise Exterior Walls and Enclosures

This information is not intended to be exhaustive, and is based on our current interpretation of the requirements. We would be happy to discuss your building’s specific requirements with you.