Chicago Condo Inspection Manual | Condo Safety Issues & More

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Purchasing a new condo in Chicago without a professional inspection carries significant risks, and naturally many buyers are taking their chances. Some are on a tight budget / trying to save a few extra dollars on a condo transaction, others are not even aware or pay attention to a home / condo inspection disclosure.

There’s also a group of condo buyers assuming that what’s new should be created with safety and locally accepted building code in mind – they simply trust developers and city building inspectors.

Unfortunately, this last assumption has many holes and not much to do with reality, at least in the city of Chicago. Recent years of wild real estate market created a situation where many safety issues and even life threatening hazards flow below the radar of the Chicago building inspectors … or maybe the radar has been temporarily turned off.

So for any buyer who decides to purchase without using a professional home inspector, for homeowners who didn’t have a condo inspection and experience some problems, or for those who just prefer to double check and be on the safe side – follow this “Chicago Condo Inspection Manual”.

  • This condo inspection manual is not intended to be a replacement for your brand new, gut-rehabbed or conversion condo evaluation performed by an Illinois licensed home inspector. Also this Chicago condo inspection manual is not a legal advice – I’m not a lawyer.Always check code issues directly with your local code enforcement division to make sure that the developer followed requirements from the date your condo blueprints were approved.

  • It only covers things that can be easily checked, without any special tools (I’m not considering a flashlight, measuring tape or the mirror a special tool), experience, and/or construction trade knowledge.
  • I didn’t make many “cosmetic” comments except for the things that appear cosmetic today, but may become an issue in the near future.

However, many of those things are serious safety hazards and very common issues in a majority of the new and gut-rehabbed properties that I inspect in Chicago.

I’m also pretty sure that most of those guidelines will apply to any construction project, not only in Chicago area.

Start investigating and remember that all of those rules apply to the brand new / completely gut-rehabbed condos, and in many cases they might roll back to 2002 or even more.


Because building codes change and parts of this condo inspection manual might not apply to a property purchased long time ago – let me know the details of your problem and I’ll try to help you. If unable to resolve something questionable with your developer, contact the City of Chicago Department of Buildings for more information.

Also, if there is a safety issue in your condo, don’t hesitate with correcting the problem as soon as possible. Waiting for the developer to correct some critical conditions might take months and compromising your safety for such a long time is not the best way to go.

However, before you correct the problem, take a few pictures of it, and then get a written estimate / problem description / performed work report from the professional.

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This article was written by Dariusz Rudnicki

I'm a retired Illinois home inspector, founder and editor of checkthishouse.com, a blog which attracts around 2 thousand readers daily and is dedicated to answering the many questions of home owners and home buyers. Connect with me on Google+ Find me on Google+ Local

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