NYC Department of Buildings
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Acquiring a building permit in NYC is far from simple. The high building density and long history of revised standards and regulations requires that every applicant go through a lengthy approval process before the first hammer is swung on a new or remodeled building.

Luckily, the number of steps to keep track of is not overwhelming. Follow the process outlined below to learn more about how you can acquire a NYC building permit from the NYC Department of Buildings.

NYC Department of Buildings Permit Process

Step 1: Have Plans That Are Drafted and Submitted by a Professional

NYC only recognizes the authority of two parties when it comes to submitting plans as part of the building permit application process: licensed professional engineers or registered architects. Either position must be licensed or registered within NYC or the boroughs within its jurisdiction.

If you have one of these professionals under contract or within your staff, you can have them submit your building plans on your behalf.

Step 2: Pre-File in the Relevant Borough Office

You will need copies of the following items in triplicate in order to begin the application process:

  • Complete building drawings that include energy calculations
  • Asbestos forms
  • Completed PW1 form

The pre-file auditor double checks these forms for completeness and accuracy. They can then designate the estimated costs and job type. They will also enter in the basic details and information for the job into NYC’s Buildings Information System (BIS) and assign a BIS job number.

After these forms are submitted for pre-filing, they are returned to the applicant who can then pay the cashier and submit them to New York’s DEAR.

Step 3: The Plan Is Approved by DEAR or a Professional Certification Expert

When submitting the plans and forms to the cashier, the applicant can decide if they want DEAR or a professional to review their application. Registered architects or professional engineers can certify the application on the applicant’s behalf, often shortening the review process duration significantly. However, 20 percent of applications submitted through this option will be automatically audited by DEAR.

Whether certified in advance or reviewed by DEAR, the application must comply with:

  • Directive 14 zoning, egress and disability (LL58/87)
  • Directive 2 egress, fire protection, multiple dwelling law and housing maintenance code

During this time, notable “required items” for the project are entered into the BIS.

Disapproved applications will be returned to the applicant along with an objection sheet. The applicant can then attempt to rectify any objections and resubmit after making an appointment by dialing 311.

Step 4: Approved Plans Are Perforated

Any approved plans and application forms are stamped and signed by the plan examiner. These approved plans are returned to the applicant, who must then perforate them at the NYC Record Room.

After the plan is perforated, a microfilm copy is captured and delivered to the Record Room by the applicant. The approved application folder is stamped again and returned to the applicant.

NYC Department of Buildings

Step 5: Permits Are Issued

Upon receiving the stamped application folder from the Record Room official, the applicant can submit the materials to the permit clerk. Submitted along with this folder will be:

  • A PW2 Form
  • A PW3 Form
  • A check for $35 to cover the microfilming costs

The permit clerk will confirm that the applicant has no due balances or violations before issuing the final permit. They will also confirm that the applicant has the proper insurance coverage or a waiver from the Worker’s Compensation Board.

The final permit is then issued, and the issuance date is recorded within the BIS database.

Step 6: The NYC Department of Buildings Grants Final Approval for the Job

Building permits are just one component of the needed legal clearance before a job can begin. Certificates of Occupancy are most likely needed, as are permits for concrete work, crane and derrick operation, electrical system installation and so on.

Note that proper liability and worker’s compensation insurance is a required element for all contractors that wish to obtain a permit.

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