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Permits & applications

What work requires a permit? 

All work besides that which is deemed "ordinary repair" requires a permit. "Ordinary repair" is defined as "repairs to assets caused by day-to-day wear and tear that are required to maintain the asset's functionality." 

How long does it take to get a permit? When does it expire?

The amount of time it takes to receive your permit depends on what type of permit you are applying for, and what Borough you are applying in. It can take between 1 day and 4 weeks. 

A permit is valid for 1 year, or expires when the contractor's insurance expires.

When is a work permit valid? How do I get an After Hours Permit?

A work permit is valid Monday - Friday, 7am- 6pm.

To get an after hours permit, you must submit a request four days in advance of the first date of variance.

What is the difference between an application approval and a work permit?

An application approval is when the DOB deems that the content of the work complies with the building codes. The work permit comes after, when the contractor submits their information to the DOB and work can begin. ​

What type of applications are there?

The Alt 1 is when there must be a change to use, egress, or occupancy that causes the Certificate of Occupancy of the building to change.


The most common type of permit is the Alt 2, Directive 14. It is for office or apartment renovations requiring no change to use, egress, or occupancy. 


The Alt 3 is for construction equipment, sidewalk fences, bridges/sheds, and shoots.


A New Building (NB) permit is for work that significantly effects an existing building or for the erection of a new building.


A Public Assembly, aka Place of Assembly (PA), is any place that has an occupancy of 75 or more people in one room (restaurant, theater, conference room, etc) or more than 200 people outside (festival, etc). 


A Temporary PA is for short term places of assembly.

What is required to obtain a permit?

To obtain a permit you must hire a registered architect or professional engineer to draw plans and sign and seal as applicant. You must then retain the services of a third-party Special Inspection Agency and registered general contractor. Based on scope of permit, there may be further requirements. 

What is a Special Inspection Agency (SIA)?

A Special Inspection Agency, or SIA, is an independent third party inspector hired for quality assurance of the work performed. The SIA must be certified by the Department of Buildings (DOB) for the inspections they perform.

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