Letter from the Building Inspector, Peter Hoey, to John Richart, June 24, 1919, City Council Collection, Illinois State Archives, Northeastern Ill. University, Chicago, Ill.

transcription/ facsimile letter

         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