Design Professional Requirements:
New Greenhouse Installation (Grade Level and Rooftop)

Applicability of Code and Zoning

Based on the scope of work, installation of a greenhouse may be a New Building, Alteration or a Renovation project.

New Building. A detached greenhouse shall be submitted as a new building and is issued a new C of O at completion. New building projects must be filed under the 2014 NYC Construction Codes (Administrative, Building, Plumbing, Fuel Gas and Mechanical Codes).

Renovation or Alteration Project. A greenhouse installed as an attached structure may be submitted as a Renovation or an Alteration Project, based on the scope of work and existing building conditions. These projects are filed under either the current codes, the 2014 NYC Construction Codes (Administrative, Building, Plumbing, Fuel Gas and Mechanical Codes), or under the 1968 Code, depending on the age of the existing building; reference AC 28-101.2.

However, there are exceptions if prior codes are used, per AC 28-101.4.3. For example, the 2014 Code must be used for accessibility requirements, certain renovation work of fire safety, plumbing or mechanical work, certain kinds of structural work and site safety.

Certification for Rooftop Greenhouses. Rooftop greenhouse installation for non-residential buildings seeking exclusion from floor area and exceeding building height must obtain a certification by the Chairperson of the City Planning Commission.

When required by the project’s scope of work the greenhouse installation 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), Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), Department of City Planning (DCP), NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and others.

Greenhouse installation must comply also with the current NYC Energy Conservation Code and applicable Local Laws, Rules and regulations.

NOTE: While the following is a list of key zoning, Code and other regulations that may be relevant in the design of the project, it is not comprehensive.


Project Element

Applicable Code and Regulations

Current Code*

Prior Code





2014 AC 28-101.4.5 and BC Chapter 1–Administration

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, AC 27-120

Use and Occupancy Classification

Chapter 3

27-234 through 27-242 and 27-263 through 27-266

C26 Article 4 and 13


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

Building Heights and Areas

Chapter 5 BC 504

27-293 through 27-315

Construction Types

Chapter 6

27-269 through 27-287


BC Chapter 10, BC Appendix S

27-354 through 27-396.6

Article 7

Interior Environment

BC Chapter 12, BC Appendix R, and MC Chapters 4 through 6

27-725 through 27-770

Fire Resistance Ratings and Finishes

Chapter 7, Chapter 8

27-318 through 27-353.3

Fire Protection

2014 BC Appendix G

Flood Resistant Construction

2014 BC Appendix G

Soils and Foundations

2014 BC Chapter 18


2014 BC Chapter 19, 2014 BC Chapter 20, 2014 BC Chapter 21, 2014 BC Chapter 22, 2014 BC Chapter 23, 2014 BC Chapter 26


The NYC Energy Compliance Code considers Greenhouses as Low-energy buildings, which are exempt from the building thermal envelope provisions, per NYCECC C402.1.1.


See Mechanical Building Systems Guideline


See Plumbing Building Systems Guideline


See Sprinkler Building Systems Guideline


See Standpipe Building Systems Guideline

Manufacturing, Mixed Use, and Commercial District Greenhouses

Should be treated as new buildings, or enlargements to existing buildings. See Construction Equipment, Shoring/Underpinning, Manufacturing, Commercial and Demolition Guidelines as required.

*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 )

Zoning Regulations

Greenhouse installation in Residential Districts and Community Facilities may require compliance with the following Zoning Resolution sections:

*NOTE: When the proposed greenhouse exceeds 25% of required yards or the proposed rooftop greenhouse exceeds one third of the roof area, the proposed greenhouse is considered as zoning floor area and not a permitted obstruction (Floor Area: ZR 23-10, ZR 24-10, and ZR 33-10.

Other Regulation(s) for Reference

  • 1 RCNY 23-01 – Noncommercial Greenhouses.
  • LL 49/2011 – Greenhouses as rooftop structures.
  • FC 504 - Fire Code.
  • TPPN 14/88 – Documentation in Support of Existing Use
  • BB 2015-031 – Structural Peer Review for Rooftop Installations.
  • BB 2015-017 – Clarifies code requirements for lot line openings.
  • BB 2017-006 – Greenhouse conditioned, or unconditioned spaces and compliance with the NYCECC.
  • BB 2009-031 – Asbestos certification requirements.

Guidelines for Submission of Curb Cut Installation Project Plans

Prior to preparing the design documents and construction drawings, 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 the project will be code and zoning compliant. Based upon the complexity and scale of the project, the information provided on the drawings must clearly demonstrate all of the work required for completion of the project per 2014 AC 28-104 or 2014 BC 107.2.

Pursuant to AC 28-101.2, the intent of the Construction Codes is to provide reasonable minimum requirements and standards, based upon current scientific and engineering knowledge, experience and techniques, and the utilization of modern machinery, equipment, materials, and forms and methods of construction, for the regulation of building construction in the city of New York in the interest of public safety, health, welfare and the environment, and with due regard for building construction and maintenance costs.

The Department’s Guidelines outlined in the followings provide 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 area affected by the scope of work.

Complete Submission of Curb Cut Drawings/Construction Documents

Construction documents should represent the complete scope of work, including multiple disciplines such as architectural, structural, electrical, etc. There must be close coordination between all disciplines to ensure code compliance; reference AC 28-104.7, BC 107.2, and Plan Examination Guidelines – Minimum Requirement for Review of Design Drawings, Revised 3-10-2014 for information on submittal of and required construction documents.

A complete submission of drawings should include:

Construction Documents. Drawings necessary to convey essential information such as floor layouts, elevations, schedules and details. The entire scope of work must be clearly outlined on the drawings submitted. The applicable Zoning Resolution (ZR) and Building Code (BC) sections, text or notes should be stated on the drawings as required to demonstrate compliance. A scale should be included on the drawings; a graphic scale is recommended.

  • 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. A written statement describing the entire project scope should be included. Notes on building occupancy classification, zoning analysis, structural system and/or separate structural support system, and zoning use group must be provided.

  • Drawing Index. Identify discipline (A, M, P, S…) and drawing number (100.00, 101.00…) for all included plans, sections, elevations, details, schedules, etc.

  • Site/Plot Plan.  A plan indicating the block and lot, zoning lot, existing and proposed yards, exact location and size of the proposed greenhouse structure, as well as the location, size and surface area, of all other structures on the zoning lot.

  • Elevations. Required if the project involves the renovation or modification of the building’s exterior and in some cases also required for modifications to egress that may impact the façade.

  • Sections. Might be required for documenting some types of renovation projects. These could include building cross sections.

  • Detail Drawings. These drawings contain significant information required to clearly communicate the scope of work, in a magnified form.

  • NYC Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC). If the project scope includes one of the following, then demonstrate NYCECC compliance on the plans:

  • Penetration of building’s thermal envelope and/or effect on building’s insulation

  • Lighting controls and/or lighting power (Res-check & NYCECC).

If applicable, additional elements required on drawings include:

  • Facade and exterior walls with details, if the greenhouse is attached to such structural elements.

  • Light and air calculations attached greenhouse, if the building’s required windows are impacted by a proposed greenhouse installation.

*Refer to Construction Project Guidelines for building system installation and modification projects.*

Submission of Construction Documents

  1. Drawings. The greenhouse project drawings should reflect a clear scope of work and include all affected project elements.. Examples of this are as follows:
  2. Designator - Sheet Number: Sheet Description:
    T-001.00 Title Sheet, Site/Plot Plan, Drawing Index, Required Notes, required Special/ Progress Inspections list, and Legends
    A-100.00 Architectural Plans, elevations and Details
    PL-101.00 Plumbing details for water piping and drainage
    M-101.00 Ventilation and Mechanical Details (if applicable)
    E-101.00 Electrical Plans and Details (if applicable)
    FO-101.00 Proposed Foundation Plans and Details (if applicable)
    S-101.00 Structural Plans and Details (if applicable)
    EN-101.00 Energy Code Analysis and Notes (if applicable)

    Drawing Legend to include: Symbols, abbreviations, notes and definitions

    Recommended Drawing Designators
    T: Title/Coversheet: Recommended designation for drawing cover page.
    A: Architectural: Mandatory designation for drawings showing architectural work.
    PL: Plumbing: Mandatory designation for drawings showing plumbing work.
    M: Mechanical: Mandatory designation for drawings showing mechanical work.
    E: Electrical: Mandatory designation for drawings showing electrical work.
    FO: Foundation: Mandatory designation for drawings whenever foundation work is filed.
    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 building location and designation, and the project scope of work, the following submissions may have to accompany the drawings at intake:
    • Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) authorization – Coordination with ZR(E) designation requirements
    • NYC Fire Department (FDNY) – Rooftop access coordination, reference FC 504
    • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRMS)
    • NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), or OER authorization, HCP and SCP forms if storm water connections to street
    • Tenant/Occupant Protection Plan
    • NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) – only if applicable
    • Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) approval
    • Where non-conforming use is claimed, documentation to support legal establishment and continuous use
    • Public Design Commission (PDC) approval
    • City Planning Commission (CPC) approval for rooftop greenhouse in non-residential buildings
    • DCP approval for special districts areas, including Natural Areas etc.
  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 as a post-approval amendment (PAA).  Approval of an amendment must be obtained before the work is completed. Changes that are not substantive do not require a PAA; however these changes must be shown on plans and included in the ‘as-built’ submission at the end of the project (AC 28-104.3).
    • Increase or decrease the greenhouse floor area/size
    • Changes to the location of the greenhouse.
    • Changes to the scope of work that require additional Special or Progress Inspection(s).
    • Changes to scope of work that require additional Special or Progress Inspection(s)
    • Changes in egress
  2. Substantive changes that meet the following criteria should be submitted for review as a PAA to amend the approved plans:

    Any alteration of gas systems

  1. As-Built Submission.  All changes must be submitted in an ‘as-built’ drawing at the end of the project. Any changes affecting the energy analysis will require an update to the energy analysis.
  2. Reference Note: Organizations like the AIA, CSI and National Institute of Building Sciences work jointly to create national standards for consistent documentation and data organization, to assist in communication and coordination across the design and construction industry. (See for more information.)

Special Inspections

As per BC Chapter 17, greenhouse projects 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 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. Inspection discrepancies and hazardous conditions shall be reported to the superintendent of construction, as well as to the site safety coordinator or site safety manager, for correction, per BB 2016-006 and 1 RCNY 101-06.

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

Structural Steel

May include Steel Welding, 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).

Concrete - Precast

Are subject to Special Inspections in accordance with BC 1704.4.


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

Subgrade Inspection

Existing subsurface conditions such as soil, compaction, borings, test pits, etc. in order to better evaluate the supporting structure’s footing and foundation needs as per BC 1704.7.

Subsurface investigations, borings and test pits

Are subject to Special Inspections  in accordance with Section 1704.7.4

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS)

All EIFS applications installed more than 15 feet above adjacent finished grades and alterations to existing EIFS installations more than 15 feet above adjacent finished grades shall be in accordance with Section 1704.13.

Mechanical Systems

Are subject to Special Inspections in accordance with Section 1704.16

Structural Stability – Existing Buildings

Any modification of existing structural systems or elements, such as columns, girders, beams, bearing walls, etc... where the stability or integrity of the structural system is impacted, in accordance with Sections 1704.20.6 through 1704.20.10 

Excavations – Sheeting, Shoring and Bracing & underpinning

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

Soil Percolation Test – Private On-Site Storm Water Drainage Disposal Systems

Soil percolation tests shall be performed in accordance with BC 1704.21.1.2

Private On-Site Storm Water Drainage Disposal System Installation

Soil percolation tests shall be performed in accordance with BC 1704.21.2

Fire-resistant Penetration and Joists

Special Inspections for penetrations of fire-resistant elements and assemblies, and related firestops in accordance with BC 1704.27.1 and 1704.27.2. Progress inspection for fire resistance rated construction per BC 110.3.4.

Flood Zone Compliance

Special Inspection for flood zone compliance shall be as required by BC Appendix G and BC 1704.29, also BC 1704.5 if raising or moving a building for flood zone compliance and BC 110.3 to record lowest floor elevation

Footings and Foundation

An inspection after excavations for footings is complete and any required reinforcing steel and required forms are in place per BC 110.3.1.

Fire-Resistance Rated Construction

Fire-resistance-rated partitions, walls, floors, ceilings, shafts, and shutters as per BC 110.3.4.

Energy Code Compliance Inspections

  • Penetrations through thermal envelope: must be sealed to minimize air leakage, and prevent thermal bridging, as per NYCECC R402.4 and C402.5.
  • Electrical Energy [metering] Consumption: The presence and operation of individual meters or other means of monitoring individual tenant spaces and apartments shall be verified by visual inspection per 1 RCNY 5000-01(h)1 & 2 – IC1, IIC1 and NYCECC C405.6.

Design Professional Links

Helpful Links