Electrical Code Improvements



The City of Chicago is seeking support for a new ordinance that improves the electrical code. Below you will find highlights of the improvements, as well as a sample letter of support. We encourage individual owners and representatives of owners’ groups to submit letters of support. CIC and The Preservation Compact worked closely with the Department of Buildings on these and other code improvements. Keep your eyes open for more exciting code relief in the upcoming weeks!

The proposed ordinance can be found here.

Some specific improvements to the electric code that will affect existing multifamily buildings include:

  • Allowing electrical load centers in one central and accessible location,
  • Allowing flexible conduit (including in mixed use buildings) under some circumstances,
  • Omitting Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter protection (AFCI protection) in some cases,
  • Stating specific thresholds for when lights over sinks and in closets are required, and
  • Better aligning the electrical code to the energy conservation code.


Sample Support Letter:

Commissioner Judy Frydland
City of Chicago Department of Buildings
121 North LaSalle, Room 900
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Dear Commissioner Frydland,

Xyz company owns and rehabs rental buildings in abc neighborhoods. We are writing to express our support for your newly introduced electrical code improvements.

We especially appreciate that the changes to the code continue to prioritize safety, while also updating sections that will help owners do more rehab at lower costs. This includes allowing owners to keep electrical load centers in one central and accessible location, allowing flexible conduit in some buildings under some circumstances, and better aligning the electrical code to the energy conservation code.

(The following is in the CIC support letter, but feel free to tailor these sections)

These building code improvements promote rehab in individual buildings, which in turn encourages the spread of investment and community development across entire blocks. The City’s existing multifamily rental stock, which is the backbone of so many of our neighborhoods, will benefit from your thoughtful approach.

We are grateful for your leadership and support for improving Chicago’s Building Code to help ensure strong, safe, and well-maintained buildings and communities for years to come.


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