The Great Chicago Fire wiped out over 17,000 structures. From the ashes, the city was reborn with architectural marvels unlike the world had ever seen. But it’s been nearly 150 years since that horizon-changing blaze, and many of those once-new buildings could now put you at risk.

A four-mile corridor of the city was reborn with thousands of new buildings made with higher-quality steel, safer elevators and new heights. While the designs may remain timeless, the construction materials do not. Chicago requires building owners to do their part in keeping the city safe through constant vigilance, but it’s not unusual for some structures to fall through the cracks and put you at risk.

Elevating risk

Elevators need an annual inspection by state-licensed companies to ensure safe day-to-day operation. On top of the review, elevators may also need to meet other permitting guidelines within the Chicago Building Code, like the multi-part Firefighters’ Emergency Operation requirements.

Exposing risk

While the interior can see degrading over time, many building exteriors in the city have lived through well over a hundred harsh winters along Lake Michigan. Though made with revolutionary quality when constructed, time is not always kind to the metal structures inherent in most buildings. Inspections must be up to date on components that could fall victim to decay:

  • Canopies
  • Sign supports
  • Flag poles
  • Fire escapes
  • Metal cornices

Deteriorating materials can quickly make for dangerous conditions. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury because of unsafe building conditions, you could have recourse for compensation. Make sure you know when a building owner hasn’t lived up to their responsibility, and you may be on your way to constructing a solid recovery claim.