This article contains information about various building safety requirements and Chicago municipal codes. These are common building items and issues that board members should be aware of to remain in full compliance with all city requirements. In practice it is unlikely that your association would be penalized by the city for failing to adhere to some of these requirements. Nonetheless these items are important to maintaining a safe building for your owners and other occupants. You can access the complete Chicago Municipal Code online: http://www.amlegal.com/library/il/chicago.shtml
I encourage you to review these items and check to see how your building stacks up. Please note that when appropriate I have added the section of the Chicago Municipal Code where the rule was found.
All buildings of residential or mixed occupancy except those complying with the terms of Chapter 13-76 of this Code having any residential units, shall be equipped with approved smoke detectors in the manner prescribed in this section.
Not less than one approved smoke detector shall be installed in every single-family residential unit and multiple dwelling units as defined in Chapter 13-56 , Sections 13-56-020 , 13-56-030 and 13-56-040 . The detector shall be installed on the ceiling and at least four inches from any wall or on a wall located from four to 12 inches from the ceiling, and within 15 feet of all rooms used for sleeping purposes, with not less than one detector per level, containing a habitable room or unenclosed heating plant.
In buildings of Types II, III or IV construction, multiple dwellings as defined in Section 13-56-040 and buildings of mixed occupancy having any residential units, shall contain not less than one approved smoke detector at the uppermost ceiling of all interior stairwells. All approved smoke detectors herein required shall be installed on the ceiling, at least four inches from the wall or on a wall located from four to 12 inches from the ceiling.
All approved smoke detectors herein required shall be either the ionization chamber or the photoelectric type and shall comply with Chapters 14-8, 14-16 through 14-36 and 14-44 through 14-72* of the municipal code of Chicago. Detectors shall bear the label of a nationally recognized standards testing laboratory that indicates that the smoke detectors have been tested and listed as a single or single and multiple station smoke detectors. All approved smoke detectors installed in buildings hereafter erected shall be permanently wired to the electrical service of each dwelling unit in accordance with the provisions of Chapters 14-8, 14-16 through 14-36 and 14-44 through 14-72* of the municipal code of Chicago.
It shall be unlawful for any person to remove batteries or in any way make inoperable smoke detectors as provided for in this chapter, except that this provision shall not apply to any building owner or manager or his agent in the normal procedure of replacing batteries.
Any person found in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $300.00 nor more than $1,000.00 and/or confinement for a period of not more than six months.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a odorless, colorless gas produced by burning fossel fuels (Fossil fuels shall include natural gas, coal, kerosene, oil, propane and wood etc.) Exposure to lower levels of CO over several hours can be just as dangerous as exposure to higher levels for a few minutes.
Who is at risk?
Those most at risk are:
Signs and symptoms of CO poisoning include:
What to do if your CO detector goes off.
Every building of residential or mixed occupancy and having one or more residential units shall be equipped with approved carbon monoxide detectors in accordance with this chapter.
For purposes of this chapter “residential unit” includes Class A-1 single-family dwellings as defined in Section 13-56-030 of this Code and Class A-2 multiple dwellings as defined in Section 13-56-040 of this Code.
Not less than one approved carbon monoxide detector shall be installed in each residential unit. The detector shall be installed within 15 feet of all rooms used for sleeping purposes.
It shall be unlawful for any person to remove batteries from a carbon monoxide detector required under this chapter, or in any way to make inoperable a carbon monoxide detector required under this chapter, except that this provision shall not apply to any building owner or manager or his agent in the normal procedure of replacing batteries.
Any person who violates this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $300.00 nor more than $1,000.00 and/or confinement for a period of not more than six months.
The owner of a structure shall supply and install required carbon monoxide detectors. The owner shall test and maintain carbon monoxide detectors located other than in a dwelling unit. The owner shall provide written information regarding carbon monoxide testing and maintenance to at least one adult tenant in each dwelling unit. The tenant shall test, provide general maintenance, and replace required batteries for carbon monoxide detectors located in the tenant's dwelling unit.
Standard fire extinguishers shall be provided on every floor, basement and subbasement of all buildings and structures as specified in the aforementioned NFPA ten with the following exceptions:
(1) Single-Family and Two-Family Dwellings. Fire extinguishers shall not be required in single-family and two-family dwellings.
(2) Multiple Dwellings. Fire extinguishers shall not be required in multiple dwellings not exceeding three stories in height and having a floor area not exceeding 3,000 square feet.
** This means that extinguishers are required for buildings exceeding three stories in height and/or buildings with a floor area exceeding 3,000 square feet.
Every required or nonrequired fire extinguisher, when installed, shall be fully charged and ready for immediate use. Where an extinguisher is likely to be obscured by piles of stock, lumber or otherwise, a sign shall be installed and maintained which will mark the location of such extinguisher in a manner legible at a distance of at least 50 feet.
Fire extinguishers shall be inspected regularly and kept in good condition, ready for immediate use at all times. All extinguishers shall be maintained annually as specified in National Fire Protection Association's Pamphlet 10A entitled “Recommended Good Practice For The Maintenance And Use Of Portable Fire Extinguishers”, 1973 Edition. Hydrostatic testing shall be performed at the prescribed intervals as given in the aforementioned pamphlet. Whenever a liquefied gas extinguisher or gas cylinder used for inert gas storage is hydrostatically tested, the test shall he conducted in accordance with Pamphlet C-1, fourth edition, entitled “Methods for Hydrostatic Testing of Compressed Gas Cylinders” published by the Compressed Gas Association.
Every standard fire extinguisher shall have attached thereto a tag which clearly indicates the dates of charging, filling, maintenance, recharging or refilling, as applicable, with the signature of the person performing the work, and the license number of the serviceman. The color and form of the tag shall be determined by the division marshal in charge of fire prevention; provided, however, that the color used for any one year shall be different from the color used for the previous year. The tag shall have clearly imprinted thereon in numerals no less than one-half inch in height the year for which it is issued.
Exit, stairway, fire escape and directional signs shall be installed to mark all ways of egress in the following buildings or parts of buildings in the case of multiple occupancies:
(a) Multiple dwellings of the corridor type two stories or more in height
Every such sign shall consist of a flat sided glass globe, a rectangular 20 U.S. gauge sheet metal box provided with channels to hold a glass sign or a plastic edge glow type of sign, bearing the lettering hereinafter required.
Every such sign shall be internally illuminated by a ten watt or larger incandescent electric lamp.
Exit signs shall be located over or immediately adjoining every opening to a horizontal means of egress or ramp leading out of a building; also over every opening leading from a public assembly room to a mezzanine floor, corridor or hallway.
Stairway or exit signs shall be located at every stairway on every floor in existing buildings. In buildings hereafter erected stairway signs only shall be located at every stairway on every floor.
Fire escape signs shall be located over or immediately adjoining every doorway or opening to a fire escape. All such signs shall be clearly visible from all means of approach to such ways of egress.
All exit areas shall be adequately lighted by electricity. Except in single-family and two-family dwellings, such lighting shall be continuous during the time that conditions of occupancy require that the exit ways be open or available and the intensity of lighting required in Section 13-160-670 is not provided by means of natural light. Emergency exit lighting shall be provided in intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled – 15 or less.
Normal intensity of lighting shall be not less than one footcandle per square foot on the floor surfaces of vertical exits and not less than one-half footcandle per square foot on the floors of other exits.
Required exits in a building or structure shall provide continuous and uninterrupted means of egress from one story to another and to an outside exit.
There shall be no obstruction in any exitway that may hamper travel and evacuation. This section does not prohibit the locking of a gate in a fence that secures a residential building, so long as the locked gate does not prevent egress from the building.
(a) All outside exits at grade floor level shall lead to a public way directly or by way of a yard, court or fire-resistive passageway enclosed with walls, floors and ceiling providing fire-resistance of not less than two hours. The width of such yards, courts or passageways shall be not less than the width of any exit leading thereto. When a yard, court or passageway serves more than one exit, the width shall be increased cumulatively in the direction of exit travel.
(b) Where the grade floor is not more than six feet above the ground level outside the building access from an outside exit to a public way, yard or court may be by way of an outside platform having a dimension in the direction of travel of not less than four feet and connecting to grade level with outside steps having treads, risers and railings, required in Section 13-160-290 . In determining requirements for outside exits, terraces extending not less than 20 feet from a building wall may be considered as constituting grade.
All doors required as a means of exit shall comply with the provisions of Sections 13-160-250 to 13-160-270 , inclusive.
All doors required as exit doors shall swing in the direction of exit travel with the following exceptions:
(a) In residential units, doors serving one dwelling unit, including horizontal sliding doors that can be readily opened without the use of a key from the side from which egress is made.
(b) In residential, business and mercantile units, outside exit doors serving not more than 50 persons;
(a) All doors used in connection with exits shall be so arranged as to be readily opened without the use of a key from the side from which egress is made.
In residential buildings exceeding four stories in height, all apartment doors opening upon public corridors shall be equipped with approved self-closing devices. In all new and existing single-room occupancy buildings, irrespective of height, all dwelling unit doors opening to public corridors shall be equipped with approved self-closing devices.
Within every building which exceeds three stories in height there shall be posted and maintained, within every interior stairwell enclosure at every floor, adjacent to the stairwell door, alphabetical or directional letter identification for the stairwell and the number of the floor to which the door opens. Lettering shall be permanent, a minimum of six inches in height and comply with A.D.A.A.G. (Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines) 4.30.1 General, 4.30.4 Raised and Braille Characters and Pictorial Symbol Signs, 4.30.5 Finish and Contrast, and 4.30.6 Mounting Location and Height.
Adjacent to every stairwell door there shall be posted, on the occupancy side, information showing which floors have re-entry locations. Lettering shall be permanent and comply with A.D.A.A.G. 4.30.1 General, 4.30.4 Raised and Braille Characters and Pictorial Symbol Signs, 4.30.5 Finish and Contrast, and 4.30.6 Mounting Location and Height.
Every public hall and stairway in every dwelling having more than one family unit shall be adequately lighted at all times, except that in a two-family dwelling an adequate lighting system which may be turned on when needed by conveniently located light switches shall be permitted instead of a full-time lighting system.
Screens shall be supplied to the following extent:
(a) Every basement or cellar window which is openable shall be supplied with a heavy wire screen or hardware cloth of not less than four mesh per inch which fits tightly and is securely fastened to the frame, or with any other material affording equivalent protection against the entry of rodents.
(b) From April 15th to November 15th of each year, every door opening directly from any family unit to the outdoors and every window, or other outside openings used for ventilation purposes, shall be supplied with a screen of not less than 16 mesh per inch and every screen door shall have a self-closing device in good working condition. Except for existing screens, which shall not be removed without the written consent of the person entitled to possession of the unit, no screens shall be required for a family unit on a floor above the fourth floor, unless required by the department of buildings and fire department when unusual circumstances of insect prevalence exists.
The owner of any building having residential units designed or used for two or more family units or designed or used for sleeping accommodations, other than family units, for more than ten persons shall post, or cause to be posted, in a prominent place in a common area of the building accessible from the public way, or affixed to the building so as to be visible from the public way, the name, address, and telephone number of the owner, his agent for the purpose of managing, controlling or collecting rents and any other person managing or controlling such building.
This information is provided for educational purposes only. This article is in no way offering legal advice and is not guaranteed to be accurate or current. Readers should verify all local rules and codes before taking any actions or making decisions.
Hello and welcome to our blog. I hope that the information being shared makes the lives of my fellow board members in Chicago a bit easier. Feel free to email me with any questions that you may have. It would be my pleasure to help!