Simplifying HVAC Work Permits in Chicago: Your Go-To Guide

Navigating the maze of permits for mechanical (HVAC) work in Chicago just got easier with the Express Permit Program. Here’s everything you need to know to streamline your application process.

What is the Express Permit Program?

The Express Permit Program offers a simplified way to obtain permits for common HVAC work, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. This program is designed to speed up the process for specific types of mechanical work, ensuring that you can start your project without unnecessary delays.

Eligibility Summary

Eligible Projects:

  • Replacing Existing Equipment: This includes heating, ventilation, or air conditioning systems, even if changing the energy source.
  • Installing New Systems: Installing a heat pump or air conditioning system for a single residential or non-residential unit, based on proper HVAC load calculations.
  • Rooftop Equipment: With a structural evaluation letter from an Illinois-licensed architect or structural engineer.
  • Refrigeration Equipment: For food cooling or serving multiple units, with specifications from a licensed architect or engineer.

Ineligible Projects:

  • New Types of Equipment: Installing new mechanical equipment not listed as eligible, like new exhaust hoods.
  • Reconfiguring Exhaust Ductwork: For commercial kitchens.
  • Work in Hazardous or Institutional Occupancies: Including Group H and Group I buildings.
  • Educational, Industrial, or Storage Occupancies: For refrigeration equipment.
  • Creating New Openings: In walls or floors separating different units or shared spaces.
  • Work in Enclosed Exit Stairways: Installing equipment in these areas.
  • Non-compliant Equipment: Equipment that doesn’t meet the Chicago Energy Transformation Code.

When is a Building Permit Not Required?

Before starting your application, check if your work requires a permit. Some minor HVAC work might not need a permit, so review the guidelines for exceptions.

Important Considerations

Terms and Conditions:

Review the full terms and conditions for the Express Permit Program to understand all limitations and requirements.

Before You Apply:

Gather all necessary documents and ensure you have selected licensed contractors and professionals. You’ll need their license or registration numbers for the application.

Required Documents

  1. All Applications:
    • Existing condition photograph (at least one).
    • Energy and water efficiency compliance form.
  2. Ductwork or Piping:
    • HVAC drawing or diagram of the requested work scope.
  3. Rooftop Equipment:
    • Drawings or an existing condition evaluation letter from a licensed architect or structural engineer.
  4. New HVAC/Refrigeration Equipment:
    • HVAC load calculation and site plan.
  5. Work on Public Property:
    • Related permit or approval from the relevant department.
  6. Condominium Property:
    • Condominium association approval letter.
  7. Government Projects:
    • Government ownership or funding letter and possibly a permit fee waiver ordinance.
  8. Fire Damage Repairs:
    • Tax and demolition form from the Department of Buildings.
  9. Owner as General Contractor:
    • Owner as contractor form and government-issued ID.

By following these steps and ensuring you have all the necessary documents, you can streamline your HVAC work permit application process and get your project started efficiently. For more detailed information and to access application forms, visit the City of Chicago’s official website.

For any questions or additional support, contact the City of Chicago at

Stay informed and make the most of the Express Permit Program to ensure your HVAC projects in Chicago run smoothly.

See Also

For more information on business licenses related to HVAC work, visit Around the Town HVAC – Business Licenses. This resource provides detailed insights into the licensing requirements and processes for HVAC professionals in Chicago.