Frequently Asked Questions

I just received a violation for working without a permit. What do I do now?

Yikes! Working without a permit is a serious violation. You'll need to stop work immediately and file a job with the DOB right away. Once a permit has been issued, you may have to schedule an appointment with the DOB's Construction Division to remove a stop work order. If no stop work order was issued, and you have a permit, you can continue with construction. Keep in mind your ECB court date and make sure you attend the hearing with supporting documentation proving that the violating conditions were corrected. Some additional paperwork will be required to resolve the violation in the DOB's system once your ECB hearing has occurred and you've paid any fines due.

I just opened a store and would like to hang a sign/banner out front. Do I need a permit for this?

Yes. You'll need to submit drawings to the city - pretty much the same process as filing for a renovation job. If the sign is illuminated then you'll need to have it inspected in the shop and once it is installed. The sign manufacturer's electrician takes care of this. Contact us for more details about the sign permitting process.

How do I get a permit to repair/replace the sidewalk in front of my property?

You'll need to hire a contractor registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT issues all permits related to the sidewalk and roadway. Contact us for recommendations if you don't have a contractor already selected.

How do I get permission to work in a building deemed a landmark?

Before the DOB will give you permission to work in a building with landmark status, you've got to get permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The LPC will want to see signed/sealed drawings and the proper form(s). They may have objections which will be given after an initial review which can take ~4 weeks for exterior work and work below the third floor. Interior work above the second floor can request an expedited review which takes about a week to get reviewed.

What is a Letter of No Objection and how do I get one?

A Letter of No Objection (LNO) is issued by the Department of Buildings as a substitute for a Certificate of Occupancy. You must apply for an LNO at the appropriate borough office and there is no guarantee that you will be issued an LNO for what you are requesting. The application procedure is different in each borough so please contact us regarding this process.

Do I need a permit to do simple plumbing work like replacing fixtures in a bathroom?

Yes. If the amount of work is small enough, your plumber may be able to pull a Limited Alteration Application (LAA). LAAs are nice because they can be obtained online in a few minutes and most LAAs don't require plans to be submitted. No plans = a lot of money saved.

How do I alter the Certificate of Occupancy for my property?

You must file an Alteration Type-1 job filing with the Department of Buildings (DOB). Keep in mind that you can obtain a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) from the DOB, but a final CO can't be obtained until all open violations are resolved and any open jobs closed out.

What permits do I need to combine two apartments?

You'll need to file an Alteration Type-2 job with the Department of Buildings (DOB). Keep in mind that the Certificate of Occupancy for the building won't change. But once you sign off the job with the DOB and obtain a Letter of Completion, this should be all the documentation you need to transfer ownership of the two combined units as a single unit.

I’m looking to renovate my property. What’s the process to get the proper permits? Where do I start?

The first step is for us to connect you with one of the architects/engineers that we will hire for you. Plans will have to be drawn up for any interior/exterior renovation that disturbs the existing building material or involves installing something like a new partition. The architect will have to visit your property to take measurements and assess the areas being worked on.

Next, you'll want to discuss with us arranging an asbestos inspection for your property. Any property built after 1986 requires an asbestos inspection before the work permits can be issued. We've got volume deals worked out with inspectors so it is best to contact us about this required inspection.

While this is all going on you'll want to get some bids from contractors. We'll need the estimated job costs for your project to complete the paperwork required for a job filing with the Department of Buildings (DOB).

Finally, an expediter (preferably GC Expediting!) will complete all the required forms based on the architect's drawings. We'll send out the forms to be signed by all relevant shareholders. If you live in a co-op/condo board-run building, an officer of the board will have to sign at least one of the forms so keep that in mind. The completed forms, signed/sealed drawings, and the asbestos report are all filed at the same time with the DOB and then you have to wait for a plan examiner to review your project.

How do I resolve old violations on my property? Even ones from before I owned the property?

Old violations can be a pain in the you know what. We've seen violations dating back to a time when horses and buggies were on the streets. The old violations can usually be dismissed by hiring an expediter to submit the proper paperwork to the DOB. Sometimes a new job will have to be filed to correct an old violation. Once in awhile there will be old fines that must be paid before the violations can be dismissed.

Unfortunately there is no way to dismiss a violation just because you weren't the owner of the property at the time of issuance. When you purchase a property, the DOB assumes you purchased the property "as is." Therefore the current owner is responsible for any outstanding violations.
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