We often get asked by clients, “Do I really need a permit to do the work I am proposing?”. Although the answer is not always clear, the answer is most often “yes”.
The following presents, the relevant sections from the 2014 New York City Building Code regarding permits. It also discusses and links to RCNY 101-14, which list specific exemptions for filing
When is a Permit needed:
28-105.1 WHEN PERMITS REQUIRED.
105.1 General It shall be unlawful to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, remove or change the use or occupancy of any building or structure in the city, to change the use or occupancy of an open lot or portion thereof, or to erect, install, alter, repair, or use or operate any sign or service equipment in or in connection therewith, or to erect, install, alter, repair,
remove, convert or replace any gas, mechanical, plumbing, fire suppression, or fire protection
system in or in connection therewith or to cause any such work to be done unless and until a written permit therefore shall have been issued by the commissioner in accordance with the requirements of this code, subject to such exceptions and exemptions as may be provided in section 28-105.4.
When is a Permit not needed
The question is often asked, “when is not necessary to file plans and obtain a permit”. Although it is not a clear topic, the Building Code and RCNY 101-14, address this issue.
In general, “Minor Work and Ordinary Repairs” do not require a Building Permit. The follow is the definition of Minor Alterations and Ordinary Repairs”
28-105.4.2 MINOR ALTERATIONS ORDINARY REPAIRS.
MINOR ALTERATIONS. Minor changes or modifications in a building or any part thereof, excluding additions thereto, that do not in any way affect health or the fire or structural safety of the building or the safe use and operation of the service equipment therein. Minor alterations shall not include any of the work described as “work not constituting minor alterations
or ordinary repairs
ORDINARY REPAIRS. Replacements or renewals of existing work in a building, or of parts of the service equipment therein, with the same or equivalent materials or equipment parts, that are made in the ordinary course of maintenance and that do not in any way affect health or the fire or structural safety of the building or the safe use and operation of the service equipment therein. Ordinary repairs shall include the repair or replacement of any plumbing fixture, piping or faucets from any exposed stop valve to the inlet side of a trap. Ordinary repairs shall not include any of the work described as “work not constituting minor alterations or ordinary repairs.
28-105.4.2 WORK NOT CONSTITUTING MINOR ALTERATIONS OR ORDINARY REPAIRS:
Minor alterations or ordinary repairs shall not include:
1. The cutting away of any load bearing or required fire rated wall, floor, or roof construction, or any portion thereof.
2. The removal, cutting, or modification of any beams or structural supports;
3. The removal, change, or closing of any required exit;
4. The addition, rearrangement, relocation, removal or replacement of any parts of the building affecting loading or exit requirements, or light, heat, ventilation, or elevator requirements or accessibility requirements, or any fire suppression or fire protection system
5. Additions to, alterations of, or rearrangement, relocation, replacement, repair or removal of any portion of a standpipe or sprinkler system, water distribution system, house sewer, private sewer, or drainage system, including leaders, or any soil, waste or vent pipe, or any gas distribution system;
6. Any plumbing work other than the repair or replacement of plumbing fixtures, piping or faucets from the exposed stop valve to the inlet side of a trap;
7. The alteration or repair of a sign for which a permit is required; or
8. Any other work affecting health or the fire or structural safety of the building or the safe use and operation of the service equipment therein
Exemptions from Filing Requirements
The construction of any partition, loadbearing or non load bearing is not exempt from filing and therefore requires a permit.
Work without a permit Violations
Although it is time consuming and costly to file architectural plans with the Building Department. It is costly to get caught building without a permit. If an inspector finds work being done without a permit, a violation and a “stop work order” is issued.
In addition to paying a penalty of up to 14 times the cost of filing a job for a “Work Without a Permit” violations, additional penalties are imposed by the Environmental Control Board (ECB). Legal representation and additional expediting time are required to resolve violations related to “stop work orders” and issuing “certificates of correction”.