One impediment to developing affordable housing in Chicago has been the City’s antiquated building code, portions of which haven’t kept pace with improvements in building techniques and materials. As a result, it is more expensive to renovate housing in Chicago than in many communities.
BPI worked in partnership with the Preservation Compact and Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance (NBOA) to identify high-impact changes to the code that would enable developers to build more affordable housing by reducing expenses without jeopardizing safety, and to provide recommendations to City officials for code relief.
Last week, that work paid off when the City Department of Buildings announced new code relief—based on our recommendations—that provides flexibility on certain code requirements for residential renovations, including the electrical and energy codes as well as natural light and ventilation requirements for basements. The code clarifications are expected to reduce the cost of, and remove technical barriers to, the rehabilitation of residential buildings throughout Chicago.
We’re grateful to our partners and to City Building Commissioner Judy Frydland for their work to enact these changes, which will help to increase the supply of affordable housing and reduce the number of vacant, dilapidated buildings that blight our neighborhoods
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