Chicago is an old city boasting some world renowned architecture.
But with that age and beauty comes a lot of costly
maintenance. Our Chicago clients are often tasked with
making tough capital expenditure decisions with respect to their
facades. Case in point, we recently performed a façade
overhaul for one of our clients in the West Loop who was in the
process of repositioning an older timber loft style manufacturing
property into an office use. Our façade work included
new aluminum windows, lintel replacement and general masonry
grinding and repointing.
If you are a building owner or property manager, here are some
things to consider prior to undertaking any façade related project
- What's your
timeline? - Most products you might use on your façade
(joint sealant, masonry sealer, mortar, etc) require at least 24
hours with a temperature not to drop below 35 - 45 degrees
Fahrenheit. As a general rule of thumb for Chicago, plan to
be done with your project no later than November 15th to
avoid issues with cold weather.
- What's included in
your contractor's schedule? - Have they specified calendar
or business days? Have they accounted for holidays?
Have they accounted for potential inclement weather days or will
those be added to the schedule as they occur?
- How much work needs
to be done? - The City needs to know how much work will be
done to your façade, including details like lineal footage of
lintels to be replaced and square footage of bricks to be
repointed. They will use these estimates when calculating
- Do you qualify for
the Façade Rebate Program or Small Business Improvement
Fund? - The City of Chicago provides money to property
owners in certain locations who meet certain critera (
Facade Rebate Program and SBIF). While funds
for the Façade Rebate Program in 2010 have already run out, it's
not too early to familiarize yourself with the program and mark
your calendars for next year's application period.
- How will this work
affect my tenant(s)? - While the majority of facade work
will, obviously, be done on the exterior of the building, there are
a number of items that might require interior access and work that
will surely disrupt your tenant. Plan accordingly and
coordinate with your tenants early.
- Does my contractor
plan to hire an experienced (and insured) pedestrian canopy
contractor? - Falling debris is not to be taken lightly (link and
You want to make sure you have appropriate protection for
pedestrians and that your contractor follows OSHA safety guidelines
If you are wondering whether your building complies with all of
Chicago's façade requirements or need to be pointed in the right
direction,this is a
useful website to reference.
Did You Know- Tuckpointing, as it is generally meant in the
field today, is not an accurate definition of the word (tuckpointing
description). More specifically, when contractors refer
to tuckpointing they generally mean to say grinding and repointing