City of Chicago Updates Electrical Code, Aligns with 2017 National Electrical Code

On September 6th, Chicago’s City Council voted to adopt a major update to the Chicago Electrical Code, not only aligning with the 2017 National Code, but also becoming one of the first major cities to do so.

What Is The Electrical Code?

Electrical code standards provide safety regulations, sustainability and monetary savings; this vote is expected to bring even more energy efficiency to the city’s building industry as well as lower costs for businesses and residents. The proposed code continues to include multiple existing requirements that have provided enhanced electrical safety for Chicago, specifically strict requirements for using metal conduits and longstanding requirements on emergency lighting and emergency generators. The Chicago Electrical Commission, composed of members representing the Building Department, Fire Department, as well as electrical contractors, utilities and journeyman electricians, worked with city officials throughout 2017 to review how the current electrical code best aligns with the 2017 National Electrical Code.

What Does This Mean For Real Estate?

The code update moves Chicago closer to national standards in several significant areas, including:
  • Reduced renovation construction costs through expanded use of flexible metal conduit for both residential and non-residential rehabilitation and other updates.
  • New lighting calculation methods and technologies that allow up to an 83% reduction in lighting design loads, which significantly lowers the cost of electrical installations in multi-family residential and commercial buildings as well as reduces electricity usage.
  • Latest national standards for sustainable technology including solar power and other renewable energy installations and storage.
  • Updated requirements for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in new construction buildings.
  • Provisions for health care facilities with to allow for enhanced technology and safety.
Please note the ordinance allows permits applications to proceed under the current or the 2017 Electrical Code until March 1, 2018, the ordinance effective date.  Consult with your clients on how this affects their renovation, selling or purchase plans in their residences and their investments.