transcription/ facsimile letter
CITY OF CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF CHARLES BOSTROM BUILDINGS ROOM 702 CITY HALL COMMISSIONER ROBERT PETER C. HOEY KNIGHT DEPUTY COMMISSIONER THOMAS F. PEEL CHIEF INSPECTOR June 24, 1919 Hon. John A. Richert, Chairman, Committee on Finance. Dear Sir: The business coming to this Department has reached the normal state: i.e., the proportion that existed prior to the entry of the United States into the World War. It is, therefore, physically impossible with the sent force of employees to take care of the present volume of business. Inspections cannot be made as pre-provided for in the Ordinances owing to a shortage of inspectors. There is only two to three inspectors assigned to each division of the City. There are five such divisions. This means that buildings in course of execution that should be inspected once a week or at least once in every ten days, cannot be inspected oftener than once in three weeks. Building operations started to improve about March 15 of this present year. April and May were both good normal months, comparing favorably with the same months for the 1915 and 1916. The first 21 days of this month furnishes the best record of any like period going back a distance of five years. Below follows a comparative table covering the first 21 days of July from 1919 to 1915 inclusive. Year Permits Cost 1919 666 $8,055,100 1918 185 3,286,300 1917 282 3,168,900 1916 704 7,880,300 1915 625 5,499,550 Aside from the permits issued for new buildings, there has also been issued since January 1st of this year and to the present over 5,000 permits for alterations to existing building for the erection of auto sheds, etc. The greater proportion of these permits have been issued within the last three months. The Department, in so far as the force of employees is concerned, has been operating on what is known as a war basis up to the present. The number of engineers, inspectors and clerical help is entirely inadequate to care for the duties imposed upon the Department in an efficient manner.