In This Section
- Emergency Preparedness
Codes and standards are designed to help ensure that tenants, employees and visitors to commercial office buildings in Chicago enjoy modern, safe and efficient buildings. Through efforts to educate policy makers about industry trends and best practices, BOMA/Chicago has fostered a deliberative, cost effective regulatory environment surrounding code revision and adoption wherever and whenever possible.
When meeting with officials, whether addressing policy issues on behalf of the entire membership, or individual concerns of a single constituent member, BOMA/Chicago has a tremendous advantage and well respected reputation on which to capitalize. It is not just an advocate on behalf of its members, but is a recognized and valued expert resource for code officials.
Chicago is perhaps the only major metropolitan city that has not adopted the international building code is some fashion. Consequently, existing under a unique Chicago Building Code presents significant challenges for BOMA/Chicago’s members. Against this backdrop, BOMA/Chicago works diligently to review code compliance problems and interpretations; draft and recommend code changes and to work with appropriate City departments on codes issues.
In 2011, Chicago elected its first new mayor in over 22 years. With a new mayor, change came swiftly to City Hall and the departments that administer the codes governing buildings, fire and life safety, and energy conservation. Rapid modernization of zoning, permitting, and inspection processes have all been welcome initiatives, but they also created an immediate need for stakeholders and city administrators to adjust.
In this atmosphere, BOMA/Chicago is well positioned to leverage its reputation, expertise and network of existing relationships to ensure that industry trends, best practices, and operational efficiency were considered when adopting new policies and practices.
Shortly after being appointed by newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Building Commissioner Michael Merchant met with the BOMA/Chicago Codes Committee to discuss the Mayor’s goals and the challenges facing his department. He was quickly able to see how BOMA/Chicago was both willing and able to be a key resource for his department and a since that initial meeting, the Committee and the Department of Buildings have had a productive collaboration and partnership.
Safe, Secure, & Efficient
BOMA/Chicago has been the voice of the office building industry in proceedings before the Chicago City Council, the Illinois General Assembly, and others on important changes designed to enhance the safety and efficiency of Chicago’s office buildings. Advocacy efforts focus on ensuring that new safety and efficiency measures not only reflect the best industry practices but that they are economically viable solutions. At the City’s invitation, BOMA/Chicago is actively participating in the rewrite and modernization of all the Chicago building codes, including important provisions on life safety and accessibility, energy and modernization. BOMA/Chicago’s participation in the codes process ensures that the practical needs and operational concerns of BOMA/Chicago members are heard by policy makers and reflected in the adoption of new standards or the revision of existing codes.
Streamlined Permits and Inspections
BOMA/Chicago continues to press for improvement in Chicago’s building permit and inspection processes, including the recently adopted E-Plan system, with emphasis on cutting the lead times between application and permit issuance and on streamlining a variety of inspectional procedures. BOMA/Chicago was instrumental in the City’s adoption of a third party elevator inspection program that was economical, manageable, and practical for commercial office buildings. In addition, through ongoing dialogue with the Chicago Department of Buildings, BOMA/Chicago has initiated proposals for several key programs, which could dramatically reduce lead times for tenant improvement permits and cut unnecessary or duplicative inspections