He made the announcement at a restaurant under construction on the Northwest Side.
Under the administration's plan, businesses and homeowners will be able to get a permit in 35 days on average, instead of 45.
This will be helped along by requiring architects to submit plans electronically.
Emanuel says he learned how slow a process getting building permits can be when he remodeled his home.
"I had my own experience - it took four-and-a-half months for permitting and six months for construction," said Emanuel. "The permitting process was almost as much as the building process. That's wrong."
Under the new policy, people or businesses applying for a building permit would pay half the fee up front.
That would prevent taxpayers from having to pay for the cost of the city reviewing projects that do not get financing.