Residential Fence Codes, Regulations and Permit – Chicago, IL

Chicago, with over 2.7 million residents, is a complex environment for homeowners. Its building codes are lengthy and complex. That’s because the city has so many types of homes and residential developments, scattered among dozens of neighborhoods. It seems almost impossible to find out online exactly what is required for a homeowner to build a fence at a single-family home in the city. The reality, though, is that Chicago’s building codes for most fence projects are deceptively simple. Unlike in most suburban cities, Chicago’s ordinances regarding fences lack many details. However, planning a residential fence in this city can be challenging. Your home’s new fence enclosure can be very simple to design, or very complex.

Frankly, that’s why most homeowners in this city rely on local licensed contractors for all of their fence building needs. They are used to dealing with the Building Department and know their way around the regulations and complexity of the city’s permitting process. However, handy do-it-yourselfers have one advantage here over almost any other city in Illinois. Chicago does not require a building permit for fences 5′ high or less, as long as it is built of typical materials used in residential areas. Since a permit is not needed for such structures, many people simply build their fence without contacting the city at all. In almost all cases, if the project is installed using normal building practices, there should never be a problem. For any other sort of installation, though, hiring a professional is your best bet.

General Requirements for Residential Fences

Specific Rules and Regulations

Installing a Residential Fence in Chicago? Know the City’s Regulations

Since no building permit or inspections are required for simple fences no more than 5′ high, it’s common for homeowners and hired handyman services to build such fences. However, common sense rules should be followed, after looking at other fences in your neighborhood and talking to neighbors. As long as your fence fits into the neighborhood and isn’t over 5′ tall, it should be OK. If you have questions, contacting your alderman’s office can help. However, if you’re planning something else or any project over 5′ high, it’s time to call in a professional. Any fencing contractor will have a thorough understanding of accepted standards in your neighborhood. Your contractor can show you designs and materials suitable for your location, help you navigate the complex permitting process, and make an installation at a competitive cost. You won’t have to worry about unwritten, but required, restrictions and specifications.