As of June 18th, 2018, the City of Chicago Department of Buildings poses the following in their FAQ.
Q: Can owners do their own electrical work?
A: No. Due to the potential for electric shock or fire hazard, only Electrical Contractors licensed by the City of Chicago can perform electrical installations.
The question Can owners do their own electrical work? seems unambiguous, but referring to an installation in the answer muddies the waters for me as that term is not defined on the site, and makes me think there may be a certain threshold of project difficulty that owners can or cannot legally take on.
If that's the case, where's the line? I can't install anything on my own? Not a replacement light fixture? Not a light switch? A thermostat? The website seems rather vague and I've found no other official documentation.
I've reached out to the Department of Buildings several times, and have received no response to my question.
I find it all the more confusing because major companies like Home Depot make it seem like these projects are very simple and gear their online materials towards average home owners, not professionals. They don't mention (in the materials I've read) even considering to consult a professional electrician. Perhaps some could argue that's implied, but I would disagree based on how they phrase things.
Hanging a ceiling fan is a project just about anyone can complete.
Easily replace your light fixture with a new one thanks to this informative video from The Home Depot.
I doubt many people would even consider an electrician when buying/installing something like a Nest thermostat, which has a detailed video explaning how to install the device on your own. Yet, it involves some electrical wiring, and it seems a DIY install could very well be restricted by local law.
In most homes, installing a Nest thermostat is an easy DIY project that takes 20-30 min. Follow the detailed steps in this article or watch the installation video to learn how to install your thermostat.
Even if I have done the research and feel confident that I could do it, I'd rather be safe than sorry. Electricity can certainly be very dangerous, so I can understand if municipalties put restrictions on that sort of work. It's just a bit confusing to figure out what, if any, electrical work I can do.
I realize it's unreasonable to expect an authoritative answer, but was hoping for locals and/or professionals in the industry who might have insight into this and can weigh in