Rough framed apartment unit with exposed studs, PVC plumbing, conduit, insulation, and wood studs.

Chicago Department of Buildings Announces Extension of Alternative Plumbing Materials Pilot Program

“On January 7, 2019 the Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) announced that a modified version of its Alternative Plumbing Materials Pilot Program has been extended for an additional year through December 31, 2019.” Under the revised program, DOB will continue to accept applications for alternative drainage and vent pipe and pipe fittings that meet certain requirements.

The program applies to the following properties:

  • New construction residential buildings not more than four stories in height; or
  • Existing building (constructed prior to 2010) of any occupancy but not more than four stories in height. Additions to such buildings also qualify.

Applicants may request permission to use any material allowed by the Illinois Plumbing Code for drain and vent pipe. Requests for alternative water distribution pipe and pipe fittings, such as CPVC, will no longer be accepted.

Visit the City of Chicago Alternative Code Approval web page for more information and application forms.

The Department launched the pilot program in October 2017 to gather information about the cost and performance of alternative plumbing materials. More than 330 have participated and it has already saved nearly $9 million for building owners and small developers working on projects throughout Chicago.

City of Chicago

How to Apply for the use of Alternative Plumbing Materials ?

The plumbing materials pilot program will accept requests through December 31, 2019. Requests must be submitted on official pilot program request forms, which are available on the Department’s web site at or through the resource links below.

Before submitting a request, the applicant must pay a $150.00 approval review fee. A copy of the receipt must be attached to the request as proof of payment. Requests and proof of payment must be submitted by e-mail to [email protected] Requests to approve plumbing work which was previously installed without a permit or contrary to a permit will be denied.

Each request will be evaluated by the Department to determine if permitting the alternative material will either alleviate a
practical difficulty, provide a result equivalent to the requirements of 18-29, or both.

Applicants should allow 10 business days for review. Decisions are e-mailed to the applicant. The applicant must then obtain a permit for the plumbing work and attach a copy of the approved request form to the
permit application or permit application drawings. If the work has already been permitted (but not yet performed), the applicant must obtain a revision to the existing permit at the easy permit counter on the 9th floor at City Hall. Revisions to change plumbing materials as approved through this pilot program are subject to a $75.00 fee.

Questions about the program may be directed to [email protected]

Chicago DOB Alternative Plumbing Material Resources