Gold Circle Awards Profile: 2018 Building Engineer of the Year Sean Casey

Sean Casey, Chief Engineer with JLL at 71 South Wacker, was named BOMA/Chicago’s 2018 Building Engineer of the Year.

Sean Casey pic 3.33
How did you get your start in the commercial real estate industry?
I started out as an Apprentice Engineer in 1992 at 309 W. Washington for Equity Office and worked in the hotel industry for ten years as a Chief Engineer. Ten years ago I returned to a BOMA/Chicago building as a Chief Engineer.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
The best advice I was given was to never say “no” when approached with a new idea or opportunity. You can never go back and change your answer because more than likely that opportunity has passed.

What is your “pet peeve” in the work place?
I would say not embracing new technologies and not being open to change. These new technologies need to be proven before implementation but you must be open to it.

What tenant issues take up most of your time and how do you handle them?
We have been going through quite a bit of tenant construction at 71 South Wacker the last few years along with building “ready now” suites, both of which have taken up a large portion of my day.

What are some trends you’re seeing in the commercial real estate industry that interest/impact you the most?
Amenity floors are now a part of all the buildings. New and old buildings are all utilizing obscure spaces to attract tenants. What once was a dead space has been transformed into a gym, lounge, or game room.

You have led major energy efficiency initiatives generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. What were some of the lessons learned with these projects and do you have advice to share for others looking for ways to reduce energy costs?
Despite the implementation of a number of successful energy efficiency projects, 71 South Wacker was opened in 2004/2005, and it still has some areas where we can reduce energy usage. We’re fortunate because our owner will implement a measure that can have a ten-year payback, which gives us opportunities.

I would suggest always looking at what engineers and property management teams are doing in other buildings. Don’t hesitate to borrow an idea from another building if it makes sense in your own, and learn from others’ challenges or mistakes.

Your building has won not just one, but two international TOBY awards. What advice would you give to other chief engineers/engineers involved in a TOBY application now or in the future?
I would say that working together with the management team long before the initial TOBY application is due makes things a lot easier. We have policies in place that make tracking an easy process. Partnering with trusted BOMA/Chicago vendors that have a stake in the building is also necessary.

You’re an active participant in Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Building Initiative and the City of Chicago Green Office Challenge. How have you benefited from these programs?
Retrofit Chicago and the Green Office Challenge provide opportunities for Chief Engineers to get together and share ideas on what has worked, what hasn’t, and to tour their facilities. Not every measure has the payback that was calculated, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

You’re a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. How did you connect with Habitat and why is it important to you?
I was introduced to Habitat for Humanity at the JLL Engineer’s conference. It was a great opportunity to work with JLL employees from around the world to provide a home for a family. The family was there with us and to see how happy they were was special. Each year at the conference, we assist with different charities and it is very fulfilling.

What are some of your other interests and hobbies outside of work?
I coach my two son’s hockey teams, play on a men’s league team, and enjoy the outdoors with my family.

2019 Gold Circle Award nominations are open September 17 through October 26, 2018. Click here for more information.


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The 411 with the Man from 911: CFD Chief Schroeder Talks about Building Preparedness

BOMA/Chicago Preparedness Committee Chair Erin Parks with Sterling Bay recently interviewed Chicago Fire Department Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder, who is celebrating his 30th year anniversary with the Chicago Fire Department.

cdf-chief-walter-schroeder-e1536612561192.jpgWhat is your role at the CFD?

Chief Schroeder: I conduct education for the public, which includes all residents from preschool to senior citizens, in addition to property management teams and tenants in commercial buildings. Some of the areas I oversee include safety director training, evacuation drills, fire safety seminars, and community outreach.

What documents should each building have at the ready for first responders?

Chief Schroeder: I can’t emphasize enough the importance of keeping the First Responder Book updated.

There are some specific areas that should be updated regularly and treated as living documents. The first is a list by floor and tenant space of individuals who have an inability to ambulate, or other mobility disability, including those with temporary injuries. Property management teams should ensure tenants are aware of the importance of keeping this information up-to-do date, encouraging regular, two-way communication.

Another document that should be updated regularly is the emergency contact list for the property management team. Don’t wait until the emergency happens to discover you are unable to reach a key team member. These are the people who know your building the best and should be on the scene.

The property management team should review the entire First Responder Book at least once a year to make any necessary changes.

How can buildings be better prepared for a CFD response?

Chief Schroeder: Make sure the key property management team members – including the property manager, security director and chief engineer – are at the building fire panel for the first arriving CFD officer. It’s imperative that the property management team is on-hand and prepared to share basic facts with the fire department such as:

  • reason for call
  • location of incident
  • situation details
  • best and safest route to get to the location
  • location access requirements (is a key or pass card necessary?)

Additional information you may need to share with the fire department could include:

  • location and access to fire pump
  • condition of fire pump (are there water pressure problems? any operational issues?)
  • water shutdowns, if applicable
  • construction areas in the building
  • location of trapped elevator (what floor? is it a blind shaft?)
  • elevator company and arrival status

It’s crucial that building engineers and other team members should never personally investigate the area after a fire alarm has gone off. This thought process can be deadly. Not only does it delay contact to the fire department, it could allow the fire to spread or even trap the person in the fire. One of the many benefits of the Chicago Fire Department’s Fire Safety Director Training is its focus on raising awareness about this issue. If the fire panel goes into fire mode, the building engineer and all others should trust there is in fact a fire and immediately contact the fire department. Let the fire fighters who have all the necessary training, equipment and capabilities address the situation. It is imperative that the building engineer – who knows the building the best – be on-hand when first responders arrive.

I would also suggest that buildings schedule a preparedness tabletop exercise once a year with property manager team and invite the CFD and other first responders to participate. This provides another opportunity for the CFD to get to know you, your building, and your tenants.

What is your biggest pet peeve that buildings do in emergencies or fire drills?

Chief Schroeder: One of my biggest pet peeves is when the building team isn’t prepared for the drill, such as not knowing the drop plan – the floors where tenants are relocating.

Another pet peeve is not checking the fire panel to confirm it’s operational. The Chicago Fire Department checks the panel once a year and the building is responsible for checking regularly throughout the year, optimally on a weekly basis, along with the fire pump.

Tell us more about the Chicago Fire Department’s 2020 “All Hazards” Conference

Chief Schroeder: The Chicago Fire Department will host an “All Hazards” conference on July 20-25, 2020 (tentative dates). We’re incredibly excited about this conference, as it will be the first of its kind that teams together the public and private sectors. Conference sessions will address all kinds of emergency situations and ways to mitigate them, with the ultimate goal of keeping our citizens safe. We already have commitments from leaders all over the world that will bring different experiences for the benefit of learning.

Between now and then we want to make the conference as collaborative as possible and encourage feedback from property management teams, including security directors and building engineers, about what content would be most useful to include. Some specific questions we have for your members are: what hazard skills does your property management team need? What topics would be most helpful to review? What types of hands-on demonstrations would you like to see? Please send your feedback to me at

What is the best thing about being part of the CFD?

Chief Schroeder: I have been blessed to live my dream of being a part of the greatest fire department in world. The camaraderie on the job as well as the feeling of helping others is just incredible.



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Gold Circle Awards Profile: 2018 Affiliate Member of the Year Jim Wissinger

Jim Wissinger with Harvard Maintenance, was named BOMA/Chicago’s 2018 Affiliate Member of the Year.

jim wissinger picAfter drying out from the BOMA PAC dunk tank at our recent Golf Classic, Jim Wissinger – twenty-year plus BOMA/Chicago veteran and 2018 Affiliate Member of the Year – takes time to share his thoughts on emerging trends, professional development and networking.

Jim serves as Midwest Director of Business Development at Harvard Maintenance, which provides contract cleaning and janitorial services for a wide range of sectors. Recalling his first job in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania shoveling snow and cutting grass, Jim jokes that he’s still shoveling snow to this day.

Jim started out in the commercial real estate industry when he moved to Chicago in the ‘80s. He benefited from working in a wide variety of companies, including elevator service, energy and cleaning, and talks about the importance of expanding horizons. “I would urge others not to get stuck in one industry,” Jim says. “You’re not a technical expert when you’re in sales, so look at ways to diversify industries and learn from each of them.”

When reflecting on the advice he would share with others in the industry, Jim doesn’t hesitate in his response: nothing happens overnight, everything takes time. He emphasizes the importance of building lasting relationships, and always being willing to share advice and knowledge – even with competitors. “Affiliate members should strive to provide value to property management teams through innovation, resources and introductions even when it’s not directly related to their company,” Jim says. “I always ask, what else can I help you with in addition to cleaning?”

On the topic of emerging trends in the industry, Jim points to health and wellness in buildings. “Wellness is complimentary to sustainability and is gaining traction as building owners and managers are learning that a healthy environment is essential to attracting and retaining tenants,” Jim explains. In fact, Harvard created the Cleaning for Wellness program as a significant way that buildings can improve health and productivity by focusing on health and safety, sustainability, productivity, and asset preservation.

In addition to emphasizing wide-ranging experience and relationship building, Jim is a firm believer in the value of education for Affiliate Members to better understand customers’ businesses and offer effective solutions. “Education gives you the knowledge to talk about a lot of different things to people in the commercial real estate industry,” Jim says. BOMA/Chicago provides numerous educational opportunities, including free monthly lunch and learns and the upcoming Foundations of Real Estate offered this September.

Networking events are also an important way to get involved and connect with clients. Jim’s favorite BOMA/Chicago event is the TOBY Gold Circle Awards Gala because it represents the best of the best. “It’s like the Academy Awards of our business,” he adds. Jim was recognized as Affiliate Member of the Year not once, but twice – first in 2008 and also this past year at the 2018 Gala. Additionally, Harvard Maintenance proudly served six of this year’s local and regional TOBY winners, including international TOBY winner 100 North Riverside.

Jim also organized BOMA/Chicago’s very first Golf Classic (which celebrated its twentieth-year anniversary this August) and served on the planning committee for a number of years. The event sold out both golf courses in its first year and continues to be more and more successful each year.

In addition to being a rookie volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Jim connected Harvard with Revive Center, a Chicago-based organization that works to end homelessness and provide affordable housing to its residents. Harvard is partnering with Revive Center to provide job opportunities and training to their clients, and the company has already hired four people and has plans to expand the program. Jim speaks fondly about a grandmother with an amazingly positive attitude whom he worked with directly. Recently hired in a permanent, full-time position, she now has a livable wage, pension and health insurance.

In his spare time, Jim loves to cook, and when he starts talking passionately about sous vide and the innovative kitchen appliances he recently acquired, it’s apparent he may have missed his calling as a TV pitchman. Jim also enjoys using his smoker and pizza oven and is especially intrigued with the idea of blending technology with cooking so he can spend less time in the kitchen and make more time to socialize with family and friends – many of which we can only assume will be members of the commercial real estate industry.

2019 Gold Circle Award nominations are open September 17 through October 26, 2018. Click here for more information.

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Gold Circle Awards Profile: 2018 Security Director of the Year Steven Castans

Steven Castans, Director of Security with JLL at NBC Tower, was named BOMA/Chicago’s 2018 Security Director of the Year.

Steven Castans JLL NBC Tower.png

Everyone has their own unique story about how they ended up in the commercial real estate industry. What’s yours?

Upon retiring from the Police Department, I partnered with Larry Doria to run SMI (Security Management and Investigations). My focus at SMI was primarily on BOMA/Chicago member buildings, so I quickly became a member of BOMA/Chicago, where I met and become friends with leaders in the industry including Steve Zsigray, Susan Hammer, Mark Anderson, Myrna Coronado, Bob Quast and T.J. Brookover. I also joined CREN and ASIS. In 2010, we sold SMI to Securitas Security USA, where I stayed on as a Branch Manager in the suburbs, and later moved to the Mobile Unit as their Branch Manager. Right when I was ready to retire, I was asked to become the Director of Security for NBC Tower, which I accepted. I have been here for almost 3 years.

Before working at NBC Tower, you served as Chief of Police for the Cook County Forest Preserve. Did you grow up wanting to be a police officer?

My father was a Chicago Police Officer for 42 years, retiring as a Lieutenant. I was exposed to the law enforcement world my whole life, and I always wanted to be a police officer. I originally took the test to be a Chicago Police Officer. When a federal lawsuit stopped the testing process, I became a police officer with Cook County. Several years later, I was contacted by the Chicago Police Department and was invited to become an officer, but I opted to stay with the county as I was already a Sergeant.

What are some of the major security challenges facing security directors/property management teams today in commercial office buildings and which tools are most effective in addressing them?

Finding qualified security officers is a major challenge and will continue to be in the future. With fast food chains and other corporations offering $15 an hour, the security hiring pool is drastically shrinking. Going forward, I believe remote monitoring and a reduction of officers in buildings will be the new trend. We will need to place more emphasis on technology and training to monitor buildings rather than individual officers.

How do you think this increased focus on technology will change security in commercial office buildings?

With facial recognition, RFID, and advances in access control, who knows where technology can take security of a building. Right now, you can use your phone to scan into a building and activate a card reader. Facial recognition can open elevator doors. RFID woven into a carpet can tell a property manager what was vacuumed and what was not. Technology will change security in a building.

What are some other security trends you’ve seen over the years in the commercial real estate industry?

Management companies used to hire security for individual buildings, and now many of these same companies hire security for an entire portfolio of buildings, which I think is the right approach. It provides for consistency in standards, procedures and expectations for the entire portfolio, while also reducing costs.

What is one of the biggest security risks in which commercial office buildings need to be prepared?

With easy access to guns, the violent intruder could be the most serious risk to a building. I personally believe that building access should be closed and controlled rather than allowing open access and uncontrolled movement. I like turnstiles to control entry to a building and requiring tenants and visitors to use access cards to enter the premises.  With the sharp rise in domestic violence, an attack on an individual or group causes me great concern.

You recently revised emergency procedures at the NBC Tower, creating a color-coded manual of policies and procedures. Can you share some best practices for other security directors thinking about creating or updating their own emergency procedure manual?

I have found that most Fire Life Safety Manuals are bulky and hard to use. I wanted to make NBC’s manual user-friendly so I color-coded each section to represent an event, such as weather, fire, medical emergency. This makes it easier for officers or tenants to respond to an emergency event and comply.

When developing emergency procedures, I recommend that Security Directors talk with their tenants and property management teams to get their input. Having participation from these key stakeholders makes it easier for everyone to understand why we do what we do and how we want them to respond.

Do you have a “pet peeve” in the workplace?

An officer’s appearance. I’m a stickler on wearing the uniform properly and proudly.

As a former police chief and an industry leader known for your strong relationships with the Chicago Police Department and U.S. State Department, can you provide some guidance to our members about ways to strengthen their existing relationships with our local first responders?

It is imperative that the building Security Directors and Property Management know their Police Business Liaison and Police District Commander. In the Downtown Business District, a building is either in the 1st District, 12th District or the 18th District.  

If you have any foreign government entities in your building, a simple call to the U.S. State Department will give you a name of an agent who would be your point person if you would need any questions answered or assistance. Also, it is very important to work with the Chicago Fire Department, which most buildings do when they have fire drills and Fire Life safety training for their building.

I strongly encourage every property manager to invite the police into the building for table tops or training. Use the meetings to share an understanding of the building’s floor plan, common spaces, and critical areas before there is an emergency so when or if there is an emergency, they can better respond.

You were recently awarded Mentor of the Year by the Illinois Security Professionals Association. Did you have a notable mentor in your life? How would you suggest others find mentors?

I became Chief at 29 years old, and most officers in my department had holsters that were older than me [Editor’s note: Steve was the youngest police chief in the US for five years – for departments with 100 or more officers]. Between some old-time Police Chiefs, a State Police Lt. Colonel, and my father, I had the opportunity to learn from several mentors who took time to help me succeed.  Since then, I have always recognized the need to mentor anyone who was interested. Today there are several organizations that can assist an individual in succeeding in both Property Management and Security. BOMA/Chicago has the Emerging Leaders Network and offers a number of educational classes to assist new property managers.  

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I like to paint and draw. I work with oils and watercolor paintings and I am now trying other media.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Italy. Because I’m a painter and artist, I would love to see the museum at the Vatican. 

2019 Gold Circle Award nominations are open September 17 through October 26, 2018. Click here for more information.

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Being a Part of the Bigger Solution: Highlights of BOMA/Chicago’s Energy and Sustainability Committee

By Rachael Bruketta, Vice Chair of BOMA/Chicago Energy and Sustainability Committee

BOMA/Chicago’s Energy and Sustainability Committee works to make member commercial buildings more energy efficient through ongoing educational programming and providing a basis for BOMA/Chicago’s energy advocacy efforts. Under the leadership of the newly appointed committee chair Eric Duchon with LaSalle Investment Management and vice chair Rachael Bruketta with Sterling Bay, the committee has continued to recruit members from diverse fields and backgrounds, including service providers and property managers, leading to a more expansive set of perspectives and insights.

Over the last two years, the committee has improved its educational offerings, making them more accessible to BOMA/Chicago members to actively learn about what’s happening in the industry from an environmental point of view. Topics covered have included available incentives for utility upgrades, reasons for fluctuating utility pricing, and how grid modifications are affecting consumers.

For example, last year, the committee put together a handful of case studies for our members about energy-efficient upgrades with step-by-step details on how they were achieved. Each case study creates an example for others about what is possible for a property to reduce its overall environmental impact.

Additionally, the committee has started to hold open meetings to provide information and resources to non-committee members, while adding more energy related events to BOMA/Chicago’s educational and networking calendar. The committee has hosted open meetings about ComEd and Peoples Gas energy incentives, Energy Star Certification changes happening in August 2018, and Chicago’s Energy Rating System, which will be rolled out by the city in 2019.

Last summer, the Energy and Sustainability Committee conducted a panel on Monitoring Based Commission (MBCx) and over the past year has hosted two BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) full-day seminars with six courses focused on developing energy efficiency programs at buildings. Each seminar included input from committee members who are experts in their field, as well as guest speakers to provide information to attendees to achieve great efficiency. Next week, join the Committee for a panel on Health & Wellness – a trending topic in real estate.

Not only does the committee help BOMA/Chicago members stay informed with the latest news and resources, members also help advocate for green initiatives with an understanding that reliable energy at a lower cost is critical for a robust and competitive business climate in the City of Chicago. One of the current advocacy initiatives includes participating in working group discussions for the Next Grid initiative, which is being led by the Illinois Commerce Commission and has the potential to shape the state’s energy policy for decades. With commercial office buildings using up to a quarter of their operating budgets on utilities, maintaining a strong voice on energy policy is imperative.

The dedication of the Energy and Sustainability Committee to awareness, education and advocacy is what makes the commercial office building industry thrive, and has an impact on the entire city as Chicago leads the nation in sustainability efforts. Through teaching classes on energy-efficient practices, sponsoring events on sustainability, and advocating for lower utility costs and a competitive energy market, the committee keeps the conversation going and searches for solutions to the challenges every building is facing. After all, we’re all in this together.

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How to Implement a Dog-Friendly Building Policy

bug for dog friendly blog fb.jpgBy Courtney Hamm, VP/General Manager with MB Real Estate at 1 N. LaSalle

We’ve all been there. You find out you have to stay late at the office. Or even worse, you have to come in over the weekend. It’s becoming more common nowadays to spend an ever-growing amount of time at work.

But it doesn’t have to be all bad news. There are ways to make this reality more appealing and reduce stress for employees.

One option is a dog-friendly building policy.

Building owners should consider this policy when attempting to make their spaces more than just four walls in which to conduct business. A dog-friendly policy can lead to improved morale and a more positive work environment for tenants. For business owners who office at your building, it’s an office perk that can help with recruiting and retaining employees.

Before doing so, however, there are several important areas for property managers to keep in mind.

Keep the Rules on a Tight Leash

You must have a well-vetted policy in place before allowing dogs into the building.

The first step is to develop a buttoned-up plan that accounts for all scenarios and covers a variety of topics, including:

  • Leash requirements – Lay out rules designating space in the building where dogs will be allowed to roam and where leashes will be required.
  • Transportation to and from the offices – Consider having dogs use the freight elevator to ensure all tenants – including non-pet owners – feel comfortable and safe as they make their way to work.
  • Weight restrictions – Limit the weight of dogs to approximately 50 pounds or less. While your Saint Bernard might be the friendliest dog in the world, its size may not be compatible with a professional work setting.
  • Behavioral and health rules – Make sure that the dogs are well-behaved, and have rules in place to handle violations. Additionally, ensure that dogs are healthy by requiring vaccination records.

The policy should be drafted in conjunction with your building’s legal team and provide ample lead time for tenants to learn about it. Be meticulous in rolling out the policy to avoid unexpected complications, misunderstandings or even aversion from tenants.

Getting Everyone Up to Speed

After the policy is created, ensure that all building staff are fully on board and understand it.

You can hold meetings to go through all facets of the plan and allow them to ask any questions. In these gatherings, you should include everyone from security and engineering to the day porters. Often times, seeing dogs in the building every day is an enjoyable experience for staff.

Likewise, educate tenants about the policy and encourage them to sign up by hosting events, such as happy hours, where dogs are welcome to join.

Enable a Plan to Handle “Accidents”

As any dog owner knows, accidents can happen unexpectedly. In my experiences, these have been rare in dog-friendly buildings, but you should have a plan in place for clean up.

Remember, they can happen anywhere. This is another reason why it’s recommended to require dogs to take the freight elevator only to avoid accidents happening in close proximity to other tenants.

If all of these steps are taken, dog-friendly building policies will undoubtedly be welcomed with open arms. This is especially true among younger tenants. Surprisingly, I’ve also seen more traditional tenants embrace these policies, too.

People can’t help but smile when they see dogs, especially in unexpected places like an office building.

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Decoding BOMA/Chicago’s Codes Committee

By Bill Vail, CA Ventures and Janice Goldsmith, Zeller Realty Group

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From left to right: Codes Committee Chair and Vice Chair Bill Vail and Janice Goldsmith, Building Commissioner Judith Frydland and Executive Vice President Michael Cornicelli

There are plenty of ways we talk about collaboration. “Playing nicely in the sandbox”, “a team effort”, or “all hands on deck” are a few.

These buzzwords unfortunately oversimplify the fact that collaborating can be challenging. Different points of view, contrary interests or even clashing personalities can often derail it, making it difficult to get things done.

On the flipside is good collaboration. It involves listening, openness and having shared values and goals. Things not only get done, they exceed expectations because everyone is contributing. Fortunately, the BOMA/Chicago Codes Committee sits firmly in the second camp.

Our work is deeply collaborative. When it comes to building codes and overall safety, everyone is on the same page. We’re partners, not adversaries. We all work together, and work toward the same goal: enhancing building safety and operations in Chicago.

Codes Committee members work closely with each other, but we also collaborate with other BOMA/Chicago committees, the Chicago Department of Buildings and a number of additional local municipal entities. We stay attuned to all things codes and facilitate productive ongoing conversations. Keeping vendors and owners involved throughout these discussions ensures our buildings remain safe.

For example, we’re working closely with the BOMA/Chicago Preparedness Committee to ensure fire life safety. We also brought in local departments to help with the initiative, including the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management and Communication.

This collaboration allowed us to influence the redevelopment of the City’s Fire Safety Director program into one that promotes education and safety in a more feasible format for property management teams to implement. As a result of our combined efforts, there are thousands more fire life directors trained and certified since the new format we developed was adopted. In turn, our buildings are safer.

A true testament to our work, membership of the committee has grown throughout the past few years.  The Committee consists of building members as well as affiliates from architectural, engineering and fire safety firms. They’re experts in translating city codes and provide valuable insights into how they impact our buildings.

And we’ve been busy.

Codes affect the success of commercial buildings, and also their bottom line. Our committee has a keen understanding of what existing codes and proposed changes mean for our members, how they should react and stay competitive in the marketplace. This all contributes to our buildings being leaders in the space on a national level.

One of our top priorities right now is the International Building Code (IBC). Chicago attracts architects and engineers throughout the world, yet we’re the only major city that does not use the IBC model.  Architects and engineers want to understand the required codes in every city, including Chicago, and incorporating IBC puts us on a path of clearer interpretation. If we incorporate IBC into Chicago’s codes, Chicago becomes even more of an international city than it already is.

While it’s difficult to quantify the exact cost-savings the IBC will bring, we’re confident BOMA/Chicago members will feel it. For example, when the city adopted a new electric code based on the IBC, there were savings from allowing different elements and materials to be used in the building.

We’re proud to be working hand in hand with the Chicago Department of Buildings to incorporate the IBC. They would like to implement parts of the IBC, keep some of the Chicago code where necessary and blend these where it makes sense. This will help Chicago develop buildings faster while staying on top of what’s happening on an international basis.

The city will roll out the IBC implementation, and we will be directly involved every step of the way. We will review the changes, find clarity and provide feedback and recommendations when necessary. Part of this involves looking at the changes from a practical point-of-view and educating our members on what it means for them. We’ll help make the transition from Chicago code to IBC as seamless as possible. We know it won’t be perfect, but we will be hands-on during the entire process.

We applaud the Chicago buildings commissioner, Judith Frydland, for all her hard work in moving Chicago to the IBC. We will work diligently with her and her staff to provide information in a concise and helpful manner.

To that end, deputy commissioner Grant Ullrich with the Chicago Buildings Department has also been monumental in helping us solve issues and clear up misconceptions first-hand by regularly attending our meetings. This dialogue with members has been received with much enthusiasm, and we’re grateful.

Without collaboration, it would have been difficult to get any of these projects done. Thankfully, the codes committee has been able to get a lot accomplished by working together. The benefits of our collective work can be felt every time you step into an office building in Chicago. We got there by relying on the expertise of our colleagues each and every day – and we will do it again tomorrow, too.

Bill Vail is the Chair of the BOMA/Chicago Codes Committee and Janice Goldsmith serves as the Vice Chair.

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