Design Professional Requirements: Façades

Applicability of Code and Zoning

An existing building façade renovation project could be filed under either the  2014 NYC Construction Codes (Building, Plumbing, Fuel Gas and Mechanical Codes) or under Prior Codes such as the 1968 Code, 1938 Code or earlier codes, depending on the age of the existing building; reference Administrative Code (AC) section AC 28-101.2.

However, there are exceptions regarding the use of Prior Codes, per AC 28-101.4.3. For example, the 2014 Code must be used for some accessibility requirements, certain renovation work of mechanical, plumbing, sprinkler, fire protection and/or fuel gas systems, specific building elements such as security grilles, handrails, guards, roofs, etc., and certain kinds of structural work.  Renovation work must also comply with the current NYC Energy Conservation Code and other applicable local laws.

Article AC 28-302 outlines maintenance of exterior walls, including inspections, submission of reports, and repairs for existing buildings greater than six stories.

When required by the project scope of work, the facade renovation project must also comply with the rules, regulations, laws and Codes of other City agencies, such as the NYC Fire Department (FDNY), NYC Environmental Protection (DEP), NYC Transportation (DOT), NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYC Landmarks Commission, and others.


Project Element

Applicable Code and Regulations

Current Code*

Prior Codes





2014 AC 28-101.4.5 and BC Chapter 1, Administrative Code

2014 AC 28-101.4.3 - Optional Use of 1968 Code and AC 28-101.4.5

2014 AC 28-101.4.3, AC 28-101.4.5 and 1968 AC 27-114


2014 BC Chapter 11, and Appendix E, Appendix N and Appendix P

Building Heights

BC Chapter 5

AC 27-293 through AC 27-315

1938 BC Article 5

Construction Classifications or Types

BC Chapter 6

AC 27-269 through AC 27-287

1938 BC Article 4


BC Chapter 19

AC Subchapter 10, Article 5

1938 BC Article 9, and 1938 BC Article 19

Fire Protection

BC Chapter 9 and Appendix Q

2014 AC 28-315.2, 2014 BC Chapter 9 and Appendix Q

Fire Resistance Ratings and Finishes

BC Chapter 7

AC 27-318 through AC 27-353.3

1938 BC Article 11

Exterior Walls

BC Chapter 14

AC 27 Subchapter 5, Article 4, AC 27 Subchapter 7, Article 11

1938 BC Article 5, 1938 BC Article 9, and 1938 BC Article 11

Flood Resistant Construction

2014 BC Appendix G


BC Chapter 24

AC 27 Subchapter 10, Article 12

1938 BC Article 9


BC Chapter 21

AC 27 Subchapter 10, Article 4

1938 BC Article 8 and 1938 BC Article 9

Roof Assemblies and Rooftop Structures

BC Chapter 15

Subject to applicable provisions of the 2014 BC, and 1968 AC 27-338

Subject to applicable provisions of the 2014 BC, and 1938 BC Article 11

Site Safety - Safeguards During Construction

2014 BC Chapter 33

Public Right-of-Way Encroachments

See Public Right-of-Way Encroachments Project Guideline


See Signs Project Guideline


See Storefront Project Guideline

*NOTE: New applications for buildings erected under the 2008 Code must comply with the 2014 Code, as required by AC §28-101.4 & 102.4.3


Facade renovation may require compliance with the following Zoning Resolution sections:

Other Regulation(s) for Reference

NYC Energy Code - Residential Buildings:

  • NYCECC - Chapter R2 - Residential buildings in group R-2, R-3, R-4 having not more than three stories above grade plane including 3 or more attached townhouses will need to refer to Chapter NYCECC R5 for repairs.

  • Residential buildings installing a new storefront, altering the face of the facade and/or creating new openings (windows) will need to refer to NYCECC Chapter R4.

NYC Energy Code - Commercial Buildings:

  • NYCECC-R202 - Commercial buildings include all buildings that are not included in the definition of residential building. Repairs will need to refer to Chapter C5.

  • Commercial buildings installing a new storefront, altering the face of the facade or/and creating new openings (windows) will need to refer to NYCECC Chapter C4

Buildings Bulletins

  • BB 2017-006 – Clarifies conditions under which an addition, alteration, renovation or repair of building envelope would not need to comply with 2016 NYCECC Chapter R5 and Chapter C5.

  • BB 2015-001 – Establishes acceptance criteria for sandwich panels used for the construction of exterior walls as an alternative material in the NYC Construction Codes.

  • BB 2015-017 – Clarifies lot line windows in buildings.

  • BB 2015-027 – Clarifies the use of adhesive anchoring systems.

  • BB 2015-029 – Action plan for extreme weather.

  • BB 2016-005 – Establishes acceptance criteria for post-installed anchors in masonry.

Guidelines for Submission of Sign Project Plans

Prior to preparing the design drawings and construction documents, the Registered Design Professional must perform a pre-design review that analyzes all of the existing building elements, systems and other components affected by the proposed scope of work to verify code compliance.  Based on the complexity and scale of the project, the information provided on the drawings must clearly describe all of the work required for the code compliant execution and completion of the project per Article AC 28-104 or 2014 BC 107.2.

The Department’s guidelines outlined in section IV, item C, provides an organized approach for the preparation of construction documents; this will facilitate the plan review process.  Drawings shall clearly indicate existing conditions, proposed conditions and any areas affected by the scope of work.

Complete Submission of Construction Documents

Construction drawings should represent complete work, including multiple disciplines such as architectural, structural, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and others. There must be close coordination between all disciplines for the proposed scope of work to ensure Code-compliance, reference AC 28-104.7 and BC 107.2, and Plan Examination Guidelines – Minimum Requirement for Review of Design Drawings, Revised 4-30-2014.  A complete submission of drawings should include:

Construction Documents.  It is necessary for drawings to convey essential information such as plans, elevations, schedules and details.  The applicable Building Codes and notes should be stated on the drawings as required to demonstrate Code and zoning compliance.  It is essential to include the scale to clarify overall layouts and details on all drawings.

  • Title Sheet.  Should clearly describe the project location, including the adjacent streets, properties, zoning district location, all adjacent zoning districts (or a detail of the current and relevant Zoning District map), and include an accompanying a graphical scale.  Drawing notes should include building occupancy classification, zoning use group, flood zone statement, construction classification, the project’s scope, the building’s primary structural system, legend, etc.
  • Drawing Index.  Clearly identify all the information that may be involved by providing a list of drawings.
  • Site/Plot Plan.  Clearly show the size and location of the lot, show all existing structures on the zoning lot, and include all dimensions and other relevant information such as streets, adjacent buildings, curb cuts, north arrow, etc.  The area of proposed work shall be clearly identified.
  • Façade Elevations.  Each façade elevation must include accurate information of work involved with facade renovation including quantity, location, material, etc. Each facade elevation must correlate with a key plan and legend provided on the same sheet.
  • Detail Drawings.  These drawings contain significant information required to clearly communicate the scope of work, in a magnified form.
    • Facade and parapet walls with details
    • Lot Line window replacement or new openings in accordance with Code requirements, interior elevations and details
  • Energy Analysis.  An energy analysis is required for various facade projects. As dictated by the scope of work, energy analysis shall be in the form of a tabular analysis; RESCHECK or COMCHECK as required by the NYCECC and, if applicable, include the following:
    • Fenestration
    • U factors
    • R-value
    • Air sealing

If applicable, additional elements required:

  • Accessibility for persons with physical disabilities to comply with BC Chapter 11
  • Tenant/Occupant Protection Plan

Submission of Construction Documents

  1. Drawings. The renovation project drawings should clearly reflect the scope of work.  Examples of this are as follows:

  2. Designator -
    Sheet Number:
    Sheet Description:
    T-001.00 Title Sheet, Site/Plot Plan, Drawing Index, General Notes, required Special/Progress Inspections list, Legends and FEMA notes
    A-100.00 to A-10X.00 Existing and Proposed Façade Elevations
    A-200.00 to A-20X.00 Details
    A-300.00 to A-30X.00 Additional Information (if applicable)
    S-100.00 to S-10X.00 Structural Plans and Details
    EN-100.00 Energy Code Analysis (if applicable)

    Drawing Legend to include: Symbols, abbreviations, with definitions, notes andlist all applicable Building Code section numbers.

    Recommended Drawing Designators
    A: Architectural: Mandatory designation for drawings showing architectural work
    S: Structural: Mandatory designation for drawings showing structural work
    EN: Energy Analysis: Mandatory designation if an Energy Analysis is required

  1. Required Documents. Based on the building location, designation, and the project scope of work, the following submissions may have to accompany the drawings at intake:
    • DEP or OER authorization
    • Tenant/Occupant Protection Plan, only if applicable
    • Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) approval
    • NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) approval
    • NYC Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) approval
    • NYC Public Design Commission (PDC) approval for exterior work only on NYC-owned properties
  1. Post Approval Amendments.  Any changes to approved scope of work that are significant and substantive will require submission of revised documents and/or plans for post-approval amendment (PAA).  Any additional/new type of work not in original filing must be included via PAA.  Approval for an amendment must be obtained before the work is completed. Changes in quantity of originally approved work type do not require a PAA;  however these changes must be shown on plans and included in the ‘As Built’ submission (AC §28-104.3).
    • Expand scope of work to include additional area or elements not shown on approved plans. For example, expanding facade repair/renovation from the front of the building to the sides of the building, or addition of new facade elements, such as lintel or parapet wall
    • A modification to the sign mounting height, projection, orientation, and/or location
    • Structural changes
    • Changes to scope of work that require additional Special or Progress Inspection(s).
  2. Substantive changes that meet the following criteria should be submitted for review as a PAA to amend the approved plans:

  1. As-Built Submission.  All changes must be submitted in an ‘as-built’ drawing at the end of the project.

Special Inspections

As per Chapter 17 of the Building Code, renovation work may require certain Special and Progress Inspections to be performed during and at the end of construction as outlined in the table below. Prior to Approval, the Applicant of Record is required to identify all required Special and Progress Inspections (BC 1704.1).  Prior to DOB permit issuance, the Owner must typically engage a registered Special Inspection Agency (SIA) who will take responsibility for the Special and Progress Inspections.  The Applicant of Record may perform these inspections if they are also an SIA. . Per BC 1704.1.2, the contractor cannot hire the special inspector.

Based on the scope of work, a renovation project may be required to comply with the following Special and Progress Inspection requirements:

Structural Steel

May include steel welding, High Strength Bolting and Steel Details (BC 1704.3).

Concrete – Cast-In-Place

Required where the total concrete placement on a given project is more than 50 cubic yards or other conditions (BC 1704.4).

Wood – Installation of Prefabricated I-Joists

Subject to Special Inspections in accordance with BC 1704.2, BC 2303.1.2 and BC 1704.6.3.

Post Installed Anchors

Installation of post-installed mechanical anchors, adhesive anchors, and screw anchors shall comply with BC Table 1704.32. The special inspection shall include the verification of compliance with approved construction documents and standards established by the commissioner pursuant to AC 28-113.2.2.

Wall Panels, Curtain Walls and Veneers

Required for exterior architectural wall panels and the anchoring of veneers designed for installation on buildings above a height of 40 feet. Special Inspection of masonry veneer on such structures shall be in accordance with Section 1704.5 (BC 1704.10).

Sprayed fire-resistant materials

Special Inspections for sprayed fire-resistant materials applied to floor, roof and wall assemblies, and to structural members, shall be in accordance with Sections 1704.11.1 through 1704.11.7.

Structural Stability – Existing Buildings

Alteration of existing structural systems or elements, such as columns, girders, beams, bearing walls, etc. where the stability or integrity of a structural system is to be temporarily diminished, in accordance with Sections 1704.20.6 through 1704.20.10.

Excavations – Sheeting, Shoring and Bracing

Methods employed to protect the sides of excavations shall be subject to Special Inspections in accordance with BC 1704.20.6 through BC 1704.20.10.   

Fire-resistant Penetration and joists

Special Inspections for penetrations of fire-resistant elements and assemblies, and related firestops in accordance with BC Sections 1704.27.1 and 1704.27.2.

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS)

Required for all EIFS applications installed more than 15 feet (4572 mm) above adjacent finished grades and alterations to existing EIFS installations more than 15 feet (4572 mm) above adjacent finished grades.

Flood Zone Compliance

Special Inspection for flood zone compliance shall be as required by BC Appendix G and BC 1704.29.

Aluminum Welding

The special inspections for structural aluminum elements of buildings and structures shall be as required by BC 1704.26.1.

Fire-Resistance Rated Construction

Determine compliance with the approved construction documents, including inspection of the following work:

1. Fire-resistance-rated partitions, floors, ceilings, shafts per BC 110.3.4; and
2. Fire shutters.


Load bearing masonry, glass unit masonry and masonry veneer shall be inspected and verified in accordance with the requirements of BC 1704.5.1 through BC 1704.5.3, depending on the structural occupancy category of the building or structure.


Verify that Chimney and its liner is sealed properly in accordance with BC 1704.26

Final Inspection

A final inspection is required prior to the issuance of a letter of completion, per AC 28- and BC 110.5.

Energy Code Compliance Inspections

  • Fenestrations areas (IA5), (IIA5)
  • Fenestration u-factor and product rating (IA3), (IIA3)
  • Fenestration air leakage (IA4), (IIA4)
  • Insulation placement and R-value (IA2), (IIA2)
  • Air sealing and insulation (visual) (IA6), (IIA6)
  • Air sealing and insulation (testing) (IA7), (IIA7)) or be equipped with a control device.

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