How To Get A Home Renovation Permit In New York City

How To Get A Home Renovation Permit In New York City
  • Opening Intro -

    Have you decided to give your home a new look (and a new feel)?

    Congratulations! It's always great to update your space and create something new, a place where you'll prosper.

    However, you should bear in mind that some technicalities can make or break your project.


Renovating a home can be challenging because it often entails various intricacies and lengthy, expensive works that may not necessarily have a set completion date, especially when you need to get a home renovation permit in New York City.

But don’t fret! You can stay organized during your renovation if you choose the right contractor and establish a strategy to guarantee everything runs well.

When you are doing a renovation project in NYC, the many approvals and time required before a project can start are two of the most common roadblocks that catch owners off guard. The first stage is to have your remodeling proposal assessed and authorized by the building owners association.

How do you get a home renovation permit in New York City?

When you decide to modify your NYC place, you should be aware that most construction work will require a permit from the Department of Buildings. You will need to hire a New York State licensed Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA).

They file proposals and get authorization before construction can begin. The most common permits are New Building (NB) and Alterations Type-1, 2, and 3.

After a PE or RA submits plans, a department plan examiner reviews them to check for any legal or zoning issues. Once all issues are resolved, the Department will approve the application.

  • How much does it cost to get a permit?

    As we have mentioned, you’ll need to hire a New York State Registered Architect (R.A.) or Professional Engineer (P.E.) to develop drawings of the current conditions and planned renovation. The designs and supporting papers must then be submitted to the DOB by an expediter (also known as a Filing Representative).

    The Department will charge you a fee based on a percentage of the construction cost. Even for the simplest modifications, plan to pay around $5,000 for a permit.

  • How long will this process take?

    Depending on the nature of your project, an RA or PE may take from one week to several months to develop the blueprints. The RA or PE can then self-certify the drawings, speeding up the approval process, or have a plan examiner at the DOB review them.

    Many home renovation permits require inspections, so the project may need to be halted until the inspection’s completion as well. The inspectors could be preoccupied or fail to show up when they are supposed to. For example, approvals for electrical permits typically take 1-3 months after a request for final inspection is submitted.

  • What are the consequences of not having a renovation permit?

    If you’re in doubt whether you need a permit, double-check everything and get a second opinion. If you don’t obtain a home renovation permit in New York City, you could be subjected to severe fines and legal action.

    The municipality can decide to halt or demolish your project. Unauthorized repairs may also result in the cancellation of your insurance policy, and your home’s value could drop.

understanding building permitsbuilding codes illustrated

      some basic understanding to consider      

Types of work that require a home renovation permit in New York City

Repairs and major upgrades, such as structural work, electrical, heating, and plumbing, will almost always demand a permit. Most of these are an Alteration Type 2 (ALT2: Multiple types of work, not affecting use, egress, or occupancy).

You should get all information about regulations and check if your building has a special set of rules.

Here are some instances of apartment repair projects in New York City that require permits:

  • Erecting or deconstructing a wall
  • Adding a room or changing the layout of your apartment
  • Remodeling a bathroom/kitchen (larger scale)
  • Combining apartments
  • Electrical and gas pipes projects
  • Replacement of the plumbing system

The core stages are the same everywhere, but the rules differ from state to state (even from building to building), so you need to acquaint yourself with them before starting work. This procedure can be hard and exhausting, especially if you have never done anything like it before.

  • Adding a room or changing the layout

    If you want to maximize space in your small NYC apartment, you might need to change the layout of your apartment. RA normally files an Alteration Type 2 if you’re adding a room, growing the number of rooms in an apartment, or rearranging the rooms by knocking down or erecting walls.

  • Combining apartments

    Combining apartments is very popular in NYC. TPPN 3/97 covers the requirements for joining two or more units without getting a new certificate of occupancy. The units must be next to each other or on two floors vertically, among other regulations. You won’t be able to change the exit path, and you’ll have to make do with only one kitchen.


Projects that don’t require a home renovation permit

Thankfully, not every home renovation work in New York City requires obtaining a permit. Cosmetic and minor renovation jobs can be done without any additional paperwork. This includes:

  • Painting
  • Wallpapering
  • Plastering
  • Replacement of carpentry
  • Laying tiles
  • Placing cabinets
  • Resurfacing floors
  • Installing lighting fixtures

What to do during the works?

In the end, after you have determined that you need a permit, and completed the lengthy process of obtaining it, the works will finally begin. This, too, can be lengthy and tiring, noisy and frustrating. Therefore, you need to plan your life around the renovation project and find the time to enjoy yourself. Luckily, NYC has a lot to offer.

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So, while workers are taking care of your home, you can enjoy spring leisure activities to get away from the stress. It could be a perfect opportunity to get to know your city better and visit all the landmarks that, as a resident, you always felt like there will be time to see.

Even if it seems that remodeling a bathroom or kitchen renovation could pass as minor works, note that these projects will most probably require a home renovation permit in New York City. Many buildings have laws barring this type of work, so double-check to see if yours does before you start planning.

Happy remodeling!

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