Don't Forget About Your Building's Exposed Metal! City of Chicago Exposed Metal Inspection Requirements

The City of Chicago requires owners of buildings with structures and equipment of metal construction permanently mounted or installed on the exterior of the building, or a freestanding metal sign structure exceeding 25 feet in height, to obtain and submit written condition assessment reports regarding the exposed metal features (14A-6-603.3 Mandatory Reporting).

An exposed metal structure must be closely examined by a registered design professional within 2 years after its installation and at least once every 5 years. The Chicago Building Code defines a registered design professional as an individual who is licensed to practice architecture or structural engineering by the State of Illinois. 

The registered design professional must prepare a signed and sealed written report on the external structural condition and integrity of the exposed metal structure and provide it to the owner. Even though roof anchorages, such as those used for fall arrest and as part of the exterior maintenance systems, are required to be reviewed annually according to OSHA requirements, City of Chicago Exposed Metal ordinance also requires them to be reviewed and documented on the City’s Architectural and Structural Iron Inspection Report form every 5 years along with other exposed metal on buildings. Balcony metal railings are considered permanently mounted or installed on the exterior of a building. As such they are also included in the exposed metal ordinance. The intent of the ordinance is to ensure that metal construction is safe, secure, and functions as it was originally designed. Therefore, balcony connections should be reviewed concurrently with balcony metal railings. 

It is the responsibility of the registered design professional to determine how to conduct the inspection in order to complete the report for all required exposed metal structures. The intent of the report is not only to assess the condition of the structure but also to provide repair recommendations with a general scope of work to be completed.  If you are responsible for maintaining buildings in Chicago with exposed structures or equipment comprised of metal construction, contact an Illinois Licensed Architect or Structural Engineer to schedule an exposed metal inspection.  Feel free to contact Building Technology Consultants, Inc. (BTC) at (847) 454-8800 for additional information, or visit our website at