Chicago Real Estate Lawyers

Chicago building code violations may result from DIY repairs

A city with old buildings like Chicago must take care to keep its residents safe. Building code violations warn owners to make repairs or improvements that will prevent tragic accidents, such as fires, from taking lives. Such violations often carry fines, and owners not only have to come up with funds to pay the penalty, but finance the repairs, which are often costly. Owners or landlords who undertake the repairs themselves may save money, but they also run the risk of further violations if the work is improperly done.

Some common repairs that result in building code violations are electrical in nature. For example, failing to use a junction box to split wires not only places an owner at risk of a violation, but it also raises the chances of an electrical fire. The same can be said of omitting ground fault circuit breakers, which cut power off when moisture or other factors charge the current.

Fires, a terrifying possibility in any structure, can be particularly tragic in apartment buildings. Improperly installing smoke alarms may defeat the purpose of the early warning system that is proven to save lives. Escaping such a fire may include using stairways, and do-it-yourself repairers often forget to place returns on the ends of the railings. This design prevents people from catching their clothing on an exposed rail end, which may cause them to stumble or fall.

Of course, not having permits for construction or repairs means an inspector will not examine the work to ensure it meets Chicago codes. Work completed without the proper permissions may result in building code violations and substantial fines. Those who face violations and fines from the city may be able to fight them for dismissal or at least extended time for repairs. Having an attorney to assist with this process may improve one’s chances of success.

Source:, “9 Surprising DIY Building Code Violations”, Suzy Kerr, Accessed on July 22, 2017