Let An Expert Chicago Permit Expediter Walk You Through the Process

Need to submit a Chicago building permit for a commercial project? The permit submittal process for any jurisdiction is often confusing and fraught with conflicting information, changing requirements, and other headaches that can put your project on hold.

As Chicago-based permit expediters, Scout Services can walk you through the process from planning, to submitting, to approval. Take a look at our Chicago building permit application guide for contractors and architects working on commercial construction projects below.


  • Type of submittal method: Online via the Hansen application system and ProjectDox review system
    • Digital or wet stamps: Digital (no special third-party verified stamps needed)
    • Naming convention: Drawings must be separated individually and named by Sheet Number, Name and Permit Number; Example: A200 – Floor Plan 100874802
  • Timing for standard plan review: 8–12 weeks
  • Options for expedited review: Self-Certification is available for interior-only scopes. This requires a Self-Certified Architect and allows permits to be processed in 2-3 weeks
  • Contractor license requirement: Contractors must be licensed with the City of Chicago
    • Is it okay to submit TBD while out to bid?: You can submit TBD for a Standard Plan Review but if the expedited Self-Certification process is used, then contractors are needed upfront
  • Additional filings required: A separate filing to the Department of Revenue is needed for a City of Chicago Department of Finance Debt Check


Chicago’s online permit application system is called E-Plan. The entire process of permitting is online through this system, including initial submittals, receiving feedback and submitting corrections, and final plan approval and downloading. Here is a summary of the online commercial project permitting process.

  1. Fill out your permit application on the E-Plan portal
  2. Upload drawings using ProjectDox
  3. Initial administrative review in ProjectDox ensuring correct and completed submittal
  4. Substantive review in ProjectDox and feedback from area experts
  5. Submit plan corrections and another round of review if deemed necessary
  6. Final review in ProjectDox by project manager, who will mark plans as approved
  7. In-person (at City Hall) or online permit fee payment
  8. Receive (if paying in-person) or download building permit certificate from E-Plan portal
  9. Download approved drawings from ProjectDox
  10. Post building permit certificate at job site prior to work starting, and have a paper copy of approved drawing on-site at all times during work and inspections

Scout Services Simplifies the Chicago Building Permit Process

The review stages of a permit submission are notorious for setting a project back — with multiple potential corrections from different departments and several rounds of review standing in the way of your target start date. Scout Services is a trusted Chicago-licensed commercial construction permit expediter with extensive experience securing quick permits for our clients in the Chicago area and across the U.S.

Our national database of requirements paired with our permit specialists’ expertise means your permit application and materials will be submitted correctly the first time, putting your project in the fast lane for approval. Cutting down on rounds of review cuts down on the number of headaches and holdups acting as obstacles for your project, greatly improving your overall permitting experience.

We pair you one-on-one with an expert who manages your permitting from start to finish, keeping you up to date on permit status and resolving any potential issues rapidly. And if you have a multi-site program to roll out, our vast permitting knowledge base and experience in jurisdictions across the country make us the best partner for the job.

Contact Scout Services for permit expediting that advances your projects forward faster.