As required under the City of Chicago Department of Buildings municipal code, owners of occupied buildings and vacant buildings alike are required to file a Critical Façade Evaluation at mandated intervals ranging from two to four years depending on the type and category of building in which the examination is to be performed. The ordinance allows for owners of occupied spaces/buildings to file an Ongoing Critical Façade Inspection and Repair Report provided that the property/building has filed and met all regulatory requirements.
The professional shall prepare a report in writing on the critical examination, describing the condition of the exterior walls and enclosures on the building and including a record of the components and cladding including, without limitation, any broken glass and loose or missing glazing components; loose masonry, concrete, EIFS, metal, stone or terra cotta; and all significant deterioration and displacement observed. Additionally, the report shall indicate any imminently dangerous conditions. If any remedial work is recommended, the report shall indicate the nature and urgency of such work. Chicago’s Exterior Wall Maintenance Requirements
Structural Technologies works with owners of commercial and institutional buildings and condominium associations to comply with their respective facade ordinances. We have longstanding relationships with the most respected engineering and architectural firms in Illinois and work in conjunction with them to ensure appropriate facade compliance.

Structural Technologies Critical Facade Inspection Services Include:

On-site inspection and analysis of existing exterior facade conditions, cast-in-place reinforced concrete, brick and stone masonry, window frame and lintel conditions and reporting of any noted deficiencies. Access to the building and exterior wall will be determined based on the size and approximate height of the building or structure. A visual and hands-on inspection of all façade elements including the examination of structural steel shelf angles, lintels and supports and apparent structural steel support elements will be performed.
Echo impact testing of the cast concrete panels, concrete spandrel and column surfaces to identify areas of hollow plane delamination, corrosion of embedded steel within the concrete, evident cracking and moisture infiltration into the concrete.

Location of areas of deterioration, resonance sounding and flat steel probe through joints and/or cracks, etc. to determine structural integrity, inspection of any / all waterproof membrane, inspection of existing caulking sealants and general analysis as required to determine structural integrity of masonry, concrete, load bearing and waterproofing components of the structure.
Photographic documentation of existing conditions and deficiencies. Areas of corrosion, delamination/deterioration and structural failure will be photographed and submitted in conjunction with the written Façade Condition Report.
The report will include repair and/or reconstruction recommendations for restoration of the structure. Optional methods of repair to extend the useful life of the exterior wall(s) will be presented to the owner.

Buildings that are 80 feet or more in height above grade are required to comply with the Following:

It shall be the owner/agent’s duty to maintain the building’s exterior walls and enclosures in a safe condition and to provide periodic reports to the commissioner of buildings. In furtherance of that requirement:

The owner/agent shall: 1) arrange for periodic critical examinations at four-year intervals or at longer intervals otherwise designated in rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner of buildings pursuant to 13-196-038.5 and 2) establish an ongoing inspection and repair program at two-year intervals for each of the intervening years.

The owner/agent of buildings constructed substantially of brick, shall: (1) arrange for periodic critical examinations at four year intervals, or at longer intervals otherwise established by the commissioner, of the ornamental pieces and the parapet wall; (2) arrange for critical examinations at four year intervals or at longer intervals otherwise established by the commissioner, of the lentils, which may be satisfied by scaffolding utilizing one drop per elevation; and (3) establish an ongoing inspection and repair program at two year intervals for the remainder of the exterior walls and enclosures of the building during the intervening years.

When the report indicates that repair or remedial work is necessary, the report shall include a proposed schedule for completion of such work.

Ongoing Critical Facade Inspection

  • The ongoing inspection and repair program shall provide inspection, reporting and preventive maintenance of the exterior walls and enclosures and parts thereof.
  • No later than November 1 of every other calendar year, the professional employed by the owner/agent shall prepare a report in writing on the ongoing inspection and repair program, describing the condition of the exterior walls and enclosures and parts thereof on the building and on any inspections, surveys or repair work performed or to be performed on the exterior walls and enclosures.
  • Every exterior wall and enclosure and parts thereof found to be in an unsafe condition shall be subject to notice by the commissioner of buildings to the owner/agent to take appropriate precautionary measures and effect such repairs or reinforcements in a timely manner as will bring the building exterior walls and enclosures and parts thereof into a safe condition. The owner/agent of any building which constitutes an imminent danger and hazard to the public shall take immediate action to have a critical examination performed upon such building and provide the ensuing report to the department of buildings. Additionally, the owner/agent shall promptly begin and complete the removal, reinforcement and/or permanent repairs necessary to make the premises conform to the building provisions of this code, and provide structurally safe conditions. Any costs incurred by any department of the city in taking emergency actions due to the dangerous and hazardous condition of an unsafe exterior wall, including, but not limited to: closure of vehicular traffic in a public street, rerouting of pedestrian traffic on a public sidewalk; erection or installation of partitions, canopies, sidewalk sheds, barricades, scaffolding or netting, shall be a debt due and owing to the city and recoverable from the owner/agent of such building.

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