Design Professional Requirements: Mechanical

Applicability of Code and Zoning

Mechanical work must comply with the NYC Mechanical Code, which is part of the NYC Construction Codes, but compliance with the Building, Plumbing, Fuel Gas and the NYC Energy Conservation Code is also required. Per the 2014 Administrative Code, section 28-101.4.3, additions, alterations, renovations or repairs to existing system shall conform to the current 2014 Code. You may also need to comply with other city agencies requirements, for example: Fire Department (FDNY), Environmental Protection (DEP), Transportation (DOT), Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC), among others.

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 does not cover all applicable regulations.

Applicable Codes

Mechanical work may require compliance with the following sections of Building Code, Mechanical Code, Fire Code, or Energy Conservation Code:


Project Element

Applicable Code and Regulations

Current Code

Prior Codes




Ventilation and Exhaust

2014 MC Chapters 4 and 5, and BC Chapters 10 and 12

Piping Layouts, Ductwork, and Equipment Locations

MC 106 and
BC 107.14

2014 MC 106

2014 MC 106

Gas Fired Unit Heaters

2014 MC Chapter 3 and 2014 FGC Chapter 4

Equipment and Maintenance Clearances

2014 MC Chapter 3

Intake and Exhaust  Openings

2014 MC 401.5 and MC 501.2

Ducts, Transfer Openings and Dampers

2014 MC 513.10 and MC 607

Smoke Detection and Control

MC 513.12

Noise Control

MC Chapter 9

Location of Gas Fired Appliances

2014 MC Chapter 3

Building height (stories) impacted by cumulative area of rooftop equipment footprints.

BC 504.3

§27-305 and §27-306

Article 5

Encroachments into the Public Right-of-Way

BC Chapter 32

AC §27-313

BC §C26-216 to

Certificate of Compliance (may be required prior to sign-off depending on equipment capacity)

2014 BC 110.6

Fire Rating (between floors, walls and shaft)

2014 MC Chapter 4 and ECC C403.2.4.3

Fire Separation and Divisions

BC Chapter7

Title 27/Subchapter 5

Article 11

Seismic Restraint, Vibration Isolators and others

MC 928 and
BC 1613

2014 MC 928,
AC 27-569 and AC 27 RS-9-6

2014 MC 928

Special and Progress Inspections

2014 BC Chapter 17

FDNY Requirements – Rooftop Access

2014 FC 504.4

Special Flood Hazard Area

2014 BC Appendix G and ASCE 24-05

Tenant Protection

2014 AC 28-104.8.4

Energy Code Analysis – Tabular Analysis with supporting

2016 ECC 103 and 1 RCNY 5000-01

Commissioning – required when permitted heating capacity > 600kBTU/h and/or cooling capacity > 480 kBTU/h

2016 ECC C408 and Commissioning Rule (TBD)

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


  • Mechanical work in a new location may require compliance with applicable screening on roofs, or bulk provisions in the Zoning Resolution.
  • Mechanical units are not permitted obstruction in residential or community facility rear yard: ZR 23-44 and ZR 24-33
  • Mechanical units are not permitted obstruction in residential court: ZR 23-87
  • Permitted obstruction to sky exposure plane or building height: ZR 23-62, ZR 24-51, ZR 33-42 and ZR 43-42
  • Permitted obstruction in front yard (R1-R5 only): ZR 23-44(a)
  • Screening on all sides for all rooftop mechanical equipment: ZR 23-62(g)(2), ZR 33-42(f)(2) and ZR 43-42(e)(2)
  • Mechanical equipment is permitted in required commercial rear yard: ZR 33-23(b)(3)
  • Mixed use building, rear yard facing residential floors mechanical equipment is not permitted obstruction on the low roof: ZR 35-53 and ZR 23-44
  • In Certain Special districts, mechanical equipment is not a permitted obstruction to sky exposure plane or building height, eg. MiD (ZR 81-252): ZR Special District Articles VI thru XIII
  • Installation of new HVAC condenser/compressor unit in the residential rear yard may be restricted per Zoning Resolution 23-44.

Guidelines for Submission of Mechanical System Project Plans

A pre-design review should cover all existing mechanical systems and components affected by the proposed scope of work to verify Code compliant repair work, or modifications to the mechanical systems within the building. Based upon the complexity and scale of the project, the information provided on the mechanical drawings shall show a clear description of the work required for the project. (Refer to the NYC Mechanical Code section MC 106.

These Project Guidelines will provide a consistent approach to the preparation of construction documents that will facilitate the plan review process. Often a project may involve the documentation of existing mechanical systems; such projects shall clearly identify new versus existing systems.

Projects may be Professionally Certified, per AC 28-104.2.1

Complete Submission of Mechanical Systems Work Drawings

The construction documents represent work that is closely coordinated with many other disciplines such as architectural, structural, electrical, and plumbing. In order to ensure coordination with other disciplines, details essential for a complete submission of drawings can be found in the NYC Mechanical Code section MC 106 for information on submittal of and required construction documents:

Construction Documents.  Drawings necessary to convey essential information such as schedules, riser diagrams, floor layout, mounting details, and control diagrams.  The title page should clearly define the project location and vicinity by graphical means.  The applicable Building Codes and notes should be stated on the drawings.  A drawing index is recommended to clearly identify all the unique systems that may be involved.

  • Site Plan.  Clearly show the size and location of the lot, show all existing structures and all proposed and existing mechanical equipment 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.

  • Floor/Roof Plans. Drawings on architectural background shall indicate layout of equipment, ductwork and piping with sizes and scale provided, thermostats, perimeter units, equipment room layout, etc. Clearly show roof and setback roof plans, including FDNY accessibility

  • Detail Drawings. Such drawings shall show enlargements of equipment, piping and duct in machine rooms; piping and duct hangers and support taking into consideration seismic design and vibration isolation; Elevation drawings showing vertical paths of ductwork and piping emanating from cooling and heating equipment, pumps, and fans; insulation.

  • Project Notes.  Project notes on drawings should reference the correct zoning and code sections, building code occupancy classification, structural systems, zoning use group, all applicable Special/Progress Inspections.

  • Equipment Schedules.  These drawings show, as required by the project scope of work, equipment air and water flow quantities, heating and cooling capacities, manufacturers and equipment model numbers, UL or other listings of all equipment, energy efficiency ratings of equipment, air outlet airflows, etc.

  • Energy Analysis.  An energy analysis is required on the plans.  Commissioning is required when the total permitted equipment is greater than or equal to a total heating input capacity of 600,000 BTU/h and/or a total cooling capacity of 480,000 BTU/h.

Some key elements required on plans for all projects include:

  • Validation that existing equipment and distribution services have met the sizing requirements per ECC C403.2.
  • Indicate appliance/equipment/device capacity, model number, rated efficiency, and controls (e.g. demand controlled ventilation, economizers, energy recovery) requirements per ECC C403.
  • Shutoff damper controls for outdoor air intakes and exhausts, per ECC C403.2.4.3.
  • Penetrations through the thermal envelope - locations and sealing details, per ECC C402.5.1.1.
  • Duct insulation location, R-value, and duct sealing details indicating joints and seams are sealed, per ECC C403.2.9.
  • Piping insulation location and thickness, per ECC C403.2.10.
  • Where applicable, clearly indicate provisions for commissioning and completion requirements per ECC C408.

Submission of Construction Documents

1. Drawings. The mechanical drawings should reflect clear scope of work and include all affected systems. Examples of this are as follows:

Designator -
Sheet Number:
Sheet Description:
M-001.00 Mechanical Title Sheet - Drawing Index, Mechanical General Notes stating compliance with the 2014 BC, PC and FGC, legend, site plan
M-100.00 (series)  Floor Plans – Existing Mechanical Conditions and Demolition
M-200.00 Floor Plans – Mechanical Fixture and Duct/Piping Layout Plan
M-300.00 Partial Floor plans and Details
M-400.00 Piping and Duct Riser Elevation
M-500.00 Mechanical and Equipment Schedules
EN-001.00 Energy Analysis

Mechanical Legend to include: Symbols, abbreviations, notes and definition, and list all applicable Building Code section numbers.

Recommended Drawing Designators
M: Mechanical: Mandatory designation if Mechanical work is filed separately from other work.

2. Required Documents/Submissions. Based on the scope of the project the following submissions may have to accompany the drawings at intake:

  • FDNY – Verify rooftop access is complaint with Fire Code
  • DEP – Asbestos Abatement
  • OER authorization – Little ‘E’ as required by ZR
  • Tenant/Occupant Protection Plan (TPP1) (only if applicable)
  • SRO MD Anti-Harassment checklist
  • Landmarks Preservation Commission
  • MTA – Transit Authority
  • Public Design Commission – NYC-owned properties
  • Department of Transportation (Revocable Consent), if applicable

3. Plan Review or Audits for Approval or Acceptance.  Following submission of a complete set of construction documents, the application is assigned to a DOB Plan Examiner for review. If professionally certified, the application is subject to audit.  Plan review or audit of the submission by Plan Examiner or Auditor may result in either approval/disapproval or in acceptance/fail, respectively. Following plan review disapproval or audit fail, a notice of objections is sent to the Applicant of Record and Owner. Objections must be resolved through appointments with the DOB Plan Examination or Audit staff. After successful resolution of objections, the application is approved or accepted.

4. Post Approval Amendments.  .  Any changes to approved scope of work that are significant and substantive will require submission of revised plans for Post Approval Amendment (PAA).  Approval for an amendment must be obtained before the work or equipment 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 (§28.104.3).  Substantive changes that meet the following criteria should be submitted for review as a PAA to amend the approved plans:

  • Any increase in the physical size, weight of the equipment located within the building, or roof mounted/ground mounted on dunnage, concrete pads, or similar where there is a change in structural support or an impact to the building structure.
  • Any change in a mechanical equipment unit’s capacity, or the addition of a unit, that mandates a need for a certificate of compliance
  • Any change that requires additional special or progress inspections
  • Any relocated mechanical equipment, exterior wall/roof intake/exhaust louvers or added to new area(s) of building.  Any change which adversely impacts the fire resistance rating of rooms, corridors, shafts, etc., or which adversely impacts the operation of the building or area’s fire protection system, and/or which adversely impacts egress.

5. As Built Submission.  All changes must be submitted in ‘as built’ drawings at the end of the project.  Any changes affecting the energy analysis will require an update to the energy analysis.

Special Inspections

Mechanical system work may require, per Building Code Chapter 17, certain Special and Progress Inspections, and other construction requirements to be performed during, and at the end of construction, as per the table below.  The Registered Design Professional is responsible for indicating which Special Inspections are required at application intake.  The Owner must engage a Special Inspection Agency, as required by AC Section 28-115, for such Special and Progress Inspections.

Final Inspection

There shall be a final inspection of all permitted work. Final inspections shall comply with AC 28-116.2.4.

Mechanical Systems

Mechanical systems requiring a certificate of compliance in accordance with AC 28-116.4.1 of the Administrative Code shall be inspected for conformance with the approved construction documents as per BC 1704.16.

Smoke Control Systems

Smoke control systems shall be tested by a special inspector in accordance with Sections BC 1704.15.1 and 909.

Structural Steel (welding, high strength bolting and details)

Provide special inspections with respect to any equipment that is mounted or hung from steel that is integral to the building, and/or mounted to rooftop dunnage, as per BC 1704.3.

Concrete – Cast-in-Place

Provide special inspection only if concrete is integral to mounting of equipment and is also relevant to the building’s structural system, as per BC 1704.4. Concrete Design Mix and Concrete Sampling and Testing may not be required if requirements in BC 1704.4.2 are satisfied.

Structural Stability – Existing Buildings

Mechanical work that may affect existing structural system, such as beams, bearing walls, floor system, roof system, etc. shall be inspected in accordance with BC 1704.20.6 to 1704.20.10.

Post-installed Anchors

The installation of post-installed mechanical anchors, adhesive anchors, and screw anchors shall comply with Table BC 1704.32. The special inspection shall include the verification of compliance with approved construction documents and standards established by the commissioner pursuant to Section 28-113.2.2 of the Administrative Code and BB 2014-018, BB 2014-019.

Seismic Isolation System

There shall be periodic special inspection during the fabrication and installation of isolator units and energy dissipation devices, if used as part of the seismic isolation system as per BC 1707.8.

Fire Resistance Rated Construction

As per BC 110.3.4, Fire-resistance-rated construction shall be inspected to determine compliance with the approved construction documents, including inspection of the following work:
1. Fire-resistance-rated partitions, floors, ceilings, shafts; and
2. Fire shutters

Sprayed Fire-resistant Materials

Special Inspections for sprayed fire-resistant materials applied to floor, roof and wall assemblies and structural members shall be in accordance with Sections BC 1704.11.1 through BC 1704.11.7.  For example, this may be required if hangers are attached to steel components, which could adversely impact steel’s spray-on fire proofing.

Fire-resistant Penetration and Joists

Special Inspections for penetration of fire-resistant elements and assemblies; and related firestops in accordance with Sections BC 1704.27.1 and BC 1704.27.2

Mastic and intumescent fire-resistant coatings.

Special inspections for mastic and intumescent fire-resistant coatings applied to structural elements and decks shall be in accordance with AWCI 12-B. Special inspections shall be based on the fire-resistance design as designated in the approved construction documents as per BC 1704.12.

Flood Zone Compliance

Special inspection for flood zone compliance shall be as required by BC Appendix G105.3.

NYC Energy Code: Progress Inspections, as required by BC 109.3.5 and NYCECC

  • Air sealing and insulation:  penetrations through the thermal envelope must be sealed to minimize air leakage as per NYCECC R402.4.1 and C402.5.1.1.
  • Shutoff dampers: outdoor air dampers that penetrate the thermal envelope must close when system is off
  • HVAC & Service Water heating equipment:  as per C406.2, exceeds by 10 percent the minimum sizing and efficiency requirements as per NYCECC Tables C403.2.3(1) through C403.2.3(7), C403.2.3(11), and C403.2.3(12)  and Table C404.2.
  • HVAC & Service Water heating system controls: applicable part-load, reset, temperature controls as per NYCECC C403.2.4 and C404.6
  • HVAC insulation and sealing: minimum R-6 insulation for ducts in unconditioned spaces and R-8 for insulation outside the building, per C403.2.9. Minimum thickness of 1” to 4.5”, required on piping carrying fluids >105F as per NYCECC Table C403.2.10 and C404.4.
  • Maintenance Information: shall be furnished for installation of new equipment as per NYCECC R303.3 and C303.3.
  • Permanent Certificate (1 or 2 Family homes only): shall list type and efficiency of heating, cooling, and/or service water heating systems as per NYCECC R401.3.

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