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FAQs - M to Z

 M 

Q - What is the procedure regarding a "Motion to Dismiss" by mail?

A - You need to write to the Deputy Director of the Administrative Enforcement Unit (AEU) requesting that a violation be dismissed. You will need to attach all the necessary documentation.

Q - I’m about to purchase a building. Can I make a structural modification or change the occupancy?

A - You must hire a New York State Registered Architect or Professional Engineer to assess the site and advise you of zoning and construction requirements. You may also need to obtain a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy.

Q - How can I get a permit to do construction in a public/wholesale market or on the waterfront?

A - A permit application package can be mailed or picked up from the Waterfront Unit. Please note that if the work is for non-maritime work on the waterfront, you must file the application at the appropriate Department of Buildings borough office.

Q – I have a question about a bill I received for an annual marquee permit, annual illuminated sign permit, place of assembly inspection fee, boiler inspection fee, or elevator inspection fee. Who do I contact?

A - Contact the Department’s Central Filing and Billing unit.

Q – I received a missed appointment/unprepared notice. Where do I pay the $200 penalty and request a re-inspection?

A – In order to schedule a new appointment, the $200 penalty must be paid at 280 Broadway, Elevator Division

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 O 

Q - How can I legally change the occupancy type of my building?

A - You will need to consult with a New York State Registered Architect or Professional Engineer who can advise you regarding zoning and construction requirements. An application must be approved by the Department and a permit obtained prior to any change being made. Upon completion of the work, and a satisfactory final inspection, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued.

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 P 

Q- I have questions about the padlock law. Where can I find more information?

A – Visit the Padlock section and the Padlock FAQ page. 

Q - How can I make payments for Environmental Control Board (ECB) penalties?

A - Please contact the Environmental Control Board in your borough. ECB staff will explain their procedures, payment schedules and accepted methods of payment. Call 311 to locate the Environmental Control Board within your borough.

Q - Do I need a permit to change or replace windows without changing the size of the opening?

A - No permit is needed.

Q - How can I make sure that a neighbor doing work has a proper permit?

A - A building permit must be displayed on the premises while work is being done. In addition, you can check for a permit online by accessing the Buildings Information System and entering the address where the work is taking place.

Q - How much must I pay for a permit?

A - The permit fee depends on the scope of the work and Building Code requirements. The fee is determined by the fee estimator at the appropriate Department of Buildings borough office.

Q - What do I need to file a permit renewal?

A – For alteration jobs, you need a work permit application (PW2), current insurance, workers compensation and disability insurance. New buildings require the same items, plus liability insurance. If construction equipment is involved, a "street obstruction" bond issued by an insurance company is required.

Q- Where can I find more information about permit renewal ?

A – Visit the Permit Renewal FAQ page.

Q - If the permit expired over 1 year ago, can I renew it?

A – Yes, but it is possible that you will also need to "reinstate" the job, which would require the payment of an additional fee. Please check with the appropriate borough office for specific requirements for job reinstatement.

Q - Do I need to pay $100 for each work type on a permit renewal?

A - Yes. Each work type requires its own fee payment.

Q - How do I find out if a particular establishment has a valid Place of Assembly (PA) Certificate of Operation?

A - Use the Buildings Information System to see if an application was filed for a Place of Assembly at the location in question. Check the job status of the PA application to see if a PA Certificate of Operation was issued. The valid PA Certificate of Operation should be posted at the establishment, but if it is not posted, call 311 or contact the Construction Division of the appropriate Department of Buildings borough office.

Q - I haven’t received my Place of Assembly annual inspection of Fire Department Place of Assembly Permit renewal yet. Who should I contact?

A - Contact the New York City Fire Department. Call 311 to obtain the correct telephone number. 

Q - Do I need an elevator permit to install an elevator or boiler?

A – Yes. An elevator application (ELV1 and ELV15) and a boiler application (PW1) must be filed at 280 Broadway, 4th floor, through your elevator company or contractor/boiler installer.

Q - Do I need a permit to renovate, remodel or remove an elevator?

A - Yes. For information on how to get a permit, contact the Department’s Elevator Division.

Q - How can I get a permit application package for work on the waterfront or in a NYC wholesale market?

A - A permit application package can be mailed to you or picked up from the Waterfront Unit.

Q - Why do I need a permit for work on the waterfront?

A - It is required by the New York City Charter and other City regulations. To obtain a copy of the applicable rules and regulations contact the Waterfront Unit.

Q - How do I get a curb cut permit?

A - You need to file several documents, including an application (PW1), a recent survey, a drawing of the planned work, and a filing fee with the Department of Buildings borough office where the work will be performed. After the application is approved, a permit can be obtained. Curb cuts do not require the professional services of a Registered Architect (RA) or Professional Engineer (PE). See also our Forms section.

Q - How can I professionally certify my job with objections?

A - You can professionally certify if you are a New York State licensed Registered Architect or Professional Engineer. You must indicate this at the time of pre-filing and proceed in accordance with Operational Policy & Procedure Notice # 2/95.

Q - What type of work requires a licensed plumber?

A - Any plumbing work beyond the direct replacement of a same-type plumbing fixture or a simple repair requires a licensed plumber.

Q - How can I find out if the plumber I have contracted is licensed?

A - Check online through the Buildings Information System. Use the Skilled Trades Licensees Search to find a licensee's business address, insurance status and licenses status.

Q - Who can inspect plumbing, standpipe and sprinkler fire suppression systems?

A - DOB plumbing inspectors and licensed Master Plumbers who pull the permit are authorized. In addition, Registered Architect and Professional Engineers may also certify inspections as authorized representatives of the licensed Master Plumber or licensed Master Fire Suppression Piping Contractor. Fire extinguishing systems in range hoods or other inspections are performed by the NYC Fire Department.

Q - What kind of electrical work requires a permit?

A - Most electrical work requires an application to be filed by the licensee. A permit will be issued, an inspection must take place, and a certificate should be issued. Minor work, which is limited in scope, requires filing (with a lower filing fee) and a permit, but no inspection is required and no certificate is issued. Maintenance work must also be filed, but there is no fee, permit or inspection. For questions about electrical applications and permits, contact the Electrical Unit.

Q - What are the Photoluminescent requirements?

A - See New York City Building Code Reference Standard RS 6-1 and RS 6-1A, and Photoluminescent Installations FAQ for more information.

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 R 

Q - Is it legal for a landlord to remove or relocate a radiator?

A - Yes. There is no code requirement for heating systems other than a boiler. However, if extension piping relocation is involved, the landlord must retain a licensed Master Plumber to do the work.

Q - I need someone to fix/repair my elevator.

A – The Department of Buildings does not repair elevators; it only inspects them. To register a complaint about an elevator that is not working properly, call 311.

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 S 

Q - What is a sidewalk shed? What is its purpose?

A - A sidewalk shed is a structure constructed to protect pedestrians from objects falling from a building or construction site.

Q - When is a sidewalk shed required?

A - When construction work is over 40 feet high, or 25 feet high for a demolition, and whenever there is a dangerous condition, irrespective of the height.

Q - What is a pipe scaffold?

A - A pipe scaffold is a structure designed to support workers who are doing construction or alteration work. It is built with pipes and work platforms and erected from the ground up next to the exterior wall of a building. It is stationary (it does not move).

Q - Who has jurisdiction over pipe scaffolds and sidewalk sheds?

A - The Construction Division of each Department of Buildings’ borough office

Q - What is a suspension or hanging scaffold?

A - A suspension scaffold is a work platform supported by cables or rope from the roof or setback of a building. It is designed to support workers who are doing work on the outside of a building. It is moved horizontally and vertically as the work progresses.

Q - Is a permit required for suspension scaffold work?

A - If staging or outrigger beams are used either on the roof or setback to support the scaffold, then a staging and outrigger notice must be filed and approved by the Cranes & Derricks Division.

Q - Who has jurisdiction over suspension scaffolds?

A - The Department of Buildings’ Cranes & Derricks Division

Q - Who do I contact about non-commercial signs and awning permits or sign-offs on newly installed signs of any type?

A - Contact the Construction Inspection Division of the appropriate borough office. 

Q - Who do I contact about elevator signs?

A - Contact the Department’s Elevator Division. 

Q – Who do I contact about a bill I received for an annual marquee permit, annual illuminated sign permit, place of assembly inspection fee, boiler inspection fee, or elevator inspection fee?

A - Contact the Department’s Central Filing and Billing unit. 

Q- Where do I find more information about the "sign law" and registration for Outdoor Advertising Companies?

A – Visit the Sign Enforcement page.

Q - What is a Site Safety building?

A - A Site Safety building is usually a new high-rise building of 15 stories or more, or over 200 feet in height, or with lot coverage of 100,000 feet or more. These buildings receive frequent monitoring by the Department of Buildings and must have a Site Safety Manager on the premises.

Q - Who can inspect plumbing, standpipe and sprinkler fire suppression systems?

A - The Department of Buildings inspectors investigate complaints. The Department’s plumbing inspectors and licensed Master Plumbers who pull the permit are authorized to inspect plumbing, standpipe and fire suppression systems. Registered Architects and Professional Engineers may also certify inspections, as authorized representatives of the licensed Master Plumber or licensed Master Fire Suppression Piping Contractor. Fire extinguishing systems in range hoods or other related inspections are performed by the New York City Fire Department. Call 311 to contact the FDNY.

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 T 

See the Department of Buildings contact information.

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 U 

Q- What is an Unsafe Buildings violation?

A - An Unsafe Buildings ("UB") violation is a violation issued by a Department inspector when the premises is considered unsafe or a hazard to its occupants and/or the public. The premises can be considered unsafe or a hazard when a structure on the property is open, vacant and unguarded or when a structure is compromised in a way that threatens public safety. To learn more about Unsafe Buildings, check out Unsafe Buildings Violation FAQ & Unsafe Buildings Guide.

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 V 

Q- I received an Environmental Control Board violation. What should I do?

A - See the section on Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations, or contact the Administrative Enforcement Unit.

Q - Do I have any violations on my boiler or elevator?

A - You can use the Department’s Buildings Information System to obtain this information. To obtain a copy of a violation or to get specific information regarding a violation, visit the Elevator Division at 280 Broadway, 4th floor. For more information, review "Resolving Department of Buildings Violations (PDF).

A - For information about Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations or contact the Administrative Enforcement Unit.

Q-How do I obtain a copy of an boiler or elevator ECB or DOB violation?

A-Visit the Boiler or Elevator Divisions. The cost will be $8.00 for an the first copy and $5.00 for each duplicate copy. For more information review, " Resolving Department of Buildings Violations (PDF)".

Q-How do I resolve an electrical violation?

A- Visit the Electrical Unit. The cost will be $7.50 per copy. For more information review, " Resolving Department of Buildings Violations (PDF)".

Q- Where can I find more information about violations?

A – Visit the Violations FAQ page.

Q - How can I acquire a copy of a waterfront violation?

A - The Waterfront Unit maintains copies of all served violations. Copies may be obtained at 280 Broadway, 5th floor.

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 W 

Q - Where can I get an application form to install a water meter?

A – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has jurisdiction over water meter installation. Call 311 to request contact information.

Q - Where do I go for a waterfront permit?

A – Contact the Waterfront Unit

Q - How can I get a permit application for work on the waterfront or in a NYC wholesale market?

A - A permit application package can be mailed to you or picked up from the Waterfront Unit. However, please note that if the construction is for non-maritime work on the waterfront, you must file the application at the appropriate Department of Buildings borough office.

Q - If I file with the Waterfront Permitting Unit, do I also have to file with the Department of Buildings borough office for the same work?

A – No. You do not have to file at the borough office of the NYC Department of Buildings if you have filed at the Waterfront Permitting Unit.

Q - Work was done on a job many years ago and it was not completed. How do I proceed?

A - You must hire a Registered Architect or Professional Engineer to supersede the previous applicant’s filing and complete the construction approval and sign-off process.

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FAQ's for letters A - L

Other Related Links

BIS FAQ
Carbon Monoxide Detectors FAQ
eFiling FAQ
Licensing FAQ
Padlock FAQ
Permit Renewal FAQ
Unsafe Buildings FAQ
Violations FAQ
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