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Life Safety & High-rise Ordinance

The City of Chicago's Life Safety and High Rise Sprinkler Ordinances will better protect the lives of building occupants in pre-1975 high-rise buildings by requiring enhanced, more stringent and effective safety measures in both residential and commercial high-rise buildings. In addition to requiring sprinklers in most commercial high-rise buildings, the ordinance also requires residential high-rise building owners to submit thorough Life Safety Evaluations to the City.

Building owners who complete the Life Safety Evaluation and implement the recommended improvements will help Chicago's commercial and residential high-rise buildings become safer than ever before.

The wide variety of the ways Chicago buildings were built, renovated and used during the past 100 years is the reason that every building must be looked at individually and evaluated for its potential to protect its inhabitants in case of an event such as a fire. Our new requirement of a Life Safety Evaluation concerns buildings that (1) were built prior to 1975, (2) are more than 80 feet in height, (3) are without sprinklers throughout, and (4) are occupied for non-transient uses.

Your response and involvement is needed in this process as the Life Safety Evaluation is a technical and vitally important task. Lives are at stake in the buildings that you own and manage, and the City requires your assistance in improving safety overall.

In an effort to assist the work required of you, the City has provided a sample guideline for developing your own Request for Qualifications that can be used to select the Illinois-licensed architects or professional engineers that you may consider for performing the Life Safety Evaluation. You will also find on this Web site "Frequently Asked Questions," draft material specifications for sprinklers and sprinkler contractors, and contact information should you have questions of the project managers in the Department of Buildings.

When the Life Safety Evaluation and its recommended improvements are completed, I assure you that your building will be safer for its occupants. Overall, Chicago will benefit from knowing the Life Safety-protection capabilities of its community of safer buildings.

The following are topics related to the Life Safety & High Rise Ordinance. Any additional information will be posted as it becomes available:

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