CHICAGO AND ITS NEW BUILDING LAWS.
As has already been announced in these columns, the city councilof Chicago, Ill,. has remodeled its building laws—on the whole, very much for the better. The new ordinance, after reducing the height of buildings from a possible present height of 155 feet to an allowable future height of 130 only, gives the commissioner of buildings power to condemn such as he shall deem unsafe, and to order either their removal or such alterations as shall strengthen them and reader them safe. If his verdict is disputed, disinterested experts shall be called in to arbitrate the dispute. The allowance for wind pressure in buildings whose height shall be more than one and one-half times their least horizontal dimensions, shall not be less than thirty pounds for each square foot of exposed surface. The requirements for the foundation of new buildings and sustaining walls are severe and must be strictly acted up to,according to the weight they are expected to support. All buildings over ninety feet high must be fireproof and a covering of brick, terra cotta, or fire clay must protect all iron and steel work from the effects of fire. Where 100 persons are employed in any one building, two stairways are of obligation; for 300 occupants, three; for 800, five. In theatres, all crowding of aisles and the foyer with stools, etc., is strictly forbiddtn.and the outer curtain must be of asbestos. If these regulations are to be retroactive and are to be lived up to, not only must many old buildings be torn down and rebuilt, but their owners must put in fire escapes, as in new buildings. The otdinance classifies buildings as follows: (1) Those used for storage, salesrooms, manufacturing, and stables, whose area exceeds 500 square feet; (2, dwellings, in which are three families or more, hotels, boarding and lodging houses, used by more than twenty-five persons, and office buildings; (3) residences for one or two families or less than twenty-five, whose area is less than 500 square feet; (4) assembly halls for large gatherings of any description.