Design Professional Requirements: Mercantile, Business and Place of Assembly

Applicability of Code and Zoning

An existing building renovation project could be filed under either the current Codes, the 2014 NYC Construction Codes (Administrative, 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 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 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.

Flood Plains, BC Appendix G, must be considered when performing renovations.

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

When required by the project scope of work the renovation 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), NYC Landmarks Commission, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and others.

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



Project Element

Applicable Code and Regulations

Current Code*

Prior Codes



1938 Building Code, MDL & HMC


2014 AC 28-101.4.5 and 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 BC 27-114


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

Building Heights and Areas

BC Chapter 5

AC 27-293 through AC 27-315

Article 5

Construction Classification

BC Chapter 6

AC 27-269 through AC 27-287

Article 4


BC Chapter 10 and BC Appendix S

AC 27-354 through AC 27-396.6

Article 7


2014 BC Chapter 30 and BC Appendix K

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

Chapter 7, Chapter 8

§27-318 through §27-353.3

Article 11

Flood Resistant Construction

2014 BC Appendix G

Interior Environment (Mechanical Ventilation, Temperature Control and Lighting)

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

AC 27-725 through AC 27-34, 27-740 through 744, and 27-751 through 767

1938 BC Article 6, 1938 Article 12 and 1938 Article 15


BC Chapters 19 to 26

Subject to applicable provisions of the 2014 BC and 1968 AC 27-600 through AC 27-651

Subject to applicable provisions of the 2014 BC, and 1938 BC Article 8 and Article 19

Roof Assemblies and Rooftop Structures

Chapter 15

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

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

Safeguards During Construction

2014 BC Chapter 33

Structural, Soils and Foundation

BC Chapter 16 and 18

2014 BC 1601.2 and 1968 AC 27-580 through AC 27-724

2014 BC 1601.2 and 1938 BC Article 9

Use and Occupancy Classification

BC Chapter 3

AC 27-234 through AC 27-268

Article 4 and Article 13

Other Guidelines


See Building Systems Boiler Guidelines

Emergency Backup Power Systems

See Emergency Backup Power Systems Guidelines


See Building Systems Mechanical Guidelines


See Building Systems Plumbing Guidelines

Solar Panels

See Building Systems Solar Guidelines


See Building Systems Sprinkler Guidelines


See Building Systems Standpipe Guidelines

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


Mercantile, Business and Place of Assembly occupancies may require compliance with the following Zoning Resolution sections:

Other Regulation(s) for Reference

Buildings Bulletin

  • BB 2016-008 – Clarifies where wheelchair platform lifts may be installed in a prior code building

  • BB 2013-010 – Clarifies use group and associated conditions allowed for Yoga studios

  • BB 2011-015 – Clarifies conditions under which an addition. Alteration and renovation or repair of Building envelope would not need to comply with NYCECC (101.4.3)

  • BB 2009-025 – Clarifies when a mercantile occupancy classification can be changed to a business, or the opposite conversion, without requiring a new Certificate of Occupancy

  • BB 2015-017 – Clarifies Lot line Windows of Buildings

  • BB 2010-012 – Clarifies the term this code


  • TPPN 1/06 – Clarifies when showers are not allowed in certain mercantile and business occupancies

Local Laws

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

Guidelines for Submission of Renovation 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 a code compliant renovation of the building. Based upon 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 AC Article 104 or 2014 BC 107.2.

The Department’s guidelines, outlined in the following 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 condition, proposed condition and any area 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.

A complete submission of drawings should include:

Construction Documents. Drawings necessary to convey essential information such as floor layouts, elevations, schedules and details. The applicable Building Codes and notes should be stated on the drawings as required to demonstrate Code and zoning compliance. Where essential to clarify overall layouts and details, 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, etc. and a graphical scale. Drawing notes should include building occupancy classification, zoning use group, construction classification, the project’s scope, and the building’s primary structural system.

  • Drawing Index. Recommended to clearly identify all the information that may be involved.

  • 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.

  • Floor Plans. Show existing and proposed conditions; clearly identify rooms’ names and use them consistently between the different discipline drawings. Coordinate between all trades/disciplines to ensure the proposed scope of work is complete and shown on all submitted discipline drawings. Where required, drawings must indicate fire rating for partitions, ceiling, walls; location of penetrations through fire rated assemblies; and schedules for doors, windows and finishes materials; an emergency lighting layout.

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

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

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

  • Energy Analysis. Energy Analysis shall be provided on drawings in the form of Tabular Analysis, ComCheck, or energy model. Energy Analysis references supporting documentation location and the corresponding values match the proposed construction on drawings. For projects claiming exceptions, details shall be clearly shown in the analysis supporting the reason for the exception. Some key elements required on plans for all projects include:
    • Provide the correct Code reference citations to either NYCECC or ASHRAE 90.1
    • Energy Code Progress Inspections shall be listed on the drawings, based on the scope of work.
    • Energy Analysis shall be provided on drawings in the form of Tabular Analysis, COMCheck/RESCheck, or energy model. Energy Analysis references supporting documentation location and the corresponding values match the proposed construction on drawings. For projects claiming exceptions, details shall be clearly shown in the analysis supporting the reason for the exception.

  • Exterior wall/roof/floor:
    • Opaque envelope assembly components are annotated with proper R-value and/or U-factors, and correctly calculated, including thermal bridging effects. Air sealing details are clearly identified.
    • New vestibules shall meet envelope, heating and cooling provisions.
    • Weather seals are required

  • Vertical glazing, skylights, doors:
    • Fenestration assembly U-factor, air leakage values are identified, and any increase in fenestration area are clearly identified on drawings.

  • Lighting
    • Fixture Schedule shall be provided and include type designation, brief description, location of fixtures, lamp type, ballast/transformer type, watts per fixture, and controls scheme. Schedule shall be keyed to lighting plans. Lighting shall meet the power requirements and the controls.
    • Daylight zones adjacent to vertical glazing and beneath skylights are clearly identified on the lighting plans.

  • HVAC
    • Equipment has met the sizing requirements.
    • Indicate equipment capacity, model number, rated efficiency and controls requirements (e.g. part-load, reset controls, pump modulation, demand controlled ventilation, economizers, energy recovery)
    • Indicate shutoff damper controls for outdoor air intakes and exhausts
    • Identify duct insulation location, R-value, and details indicating joints and seams are sealed
    • Identify piping insulation location and thickness
    • Indicate provisions for Commissioning and completion requirements.
    • Accessibility for persons with physical disabilities to comply with BC Chapter 11
    • Façade and parapet walls with details
    • Lot Line window replacement or new openings in accordance with Code requirements, interior elevations and details
    • Flood zone compliance
    • Building systems and equipment details*
    • Tenant/Occupant protection Plan**
  • If applicable, additional elements required on drawings include:

    * Refer to Project Guidelines for Building Systems installation and modification projects.
    ** Refer to Project Guidelines for Tenant/Occupant Protection Plan Renovation projects

Submission of Construction Documents

When submitting the construction documents to the Department, the Registered Design Professional, Applicant of Record, is responsible for submission of complete set at filing: application, drawings, and coordination of required documents as summarized below.

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

    Designator - Sheet Number: Sheet Description
    T-001.00       Title Sheet, Site Plan, Drawing Index, General Notes, required special/progress inspections list, and Legends
    A-100.00 Existing and Demolition Floor Plans
    A-101.00 Proposed Floor Plans
    A-200.00 Proposed Reflected Ceiling Plans including emergency lighting
    A-300.00 Proposed Enlarged Floor Plans
    A-301.00 Proposed Interior Elevations and Details
    A-400.00 Existing and Proposed Façade Elevations
    A-401.00 Existing and Proposed Cross Sections
    S-100.00  Structural Plans and Details
    P-100.00 Floor Plans - Plumbing
    P-101.00 Plumbing Riser Diagram – Gas Riser Diagram - Piping 
    P-102.00 Plumbing Fixture Schedules – Plumbing Details
    SP-100.00 Sprinkler Floor Plan
    SP-101.00 Sprinkler Riser Diagram and Details
    SD-100.00 Standpipe Floor Plan
    SD-101.00 Standpipe Riser Diagram and Details
    M-100.00 Mechanical System Equipment and Schedules
    M-101.00 Reflected Ceiling Plan for Mechanical System
    EN-100.00 Energy Code Analysis (if applicable)

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

    Recommended Drawing Designators

    A: Architectural: Mandatory designation for drawings showing architectural work.
    PA: Place of Assembly: Mandatory designation for drawings showing Assembly spaces
    S: Structural: Mandatory designation for drawings showing structural work.
    P: Plumbing: Mandatory designation for drawings showing Plumbing work including riser diagrams and plumbing details
    SP: Sprinkler: Mandatory designation for drawings showing sprinkler work including floor plans, riser diagram and sprinkler system details
    M: Mechanical: Mandatory designation for plans showing mechanical work
    EN: Energy Analysis: Mandatory designation.

  1. Required Documents. Based on buildings location and designation, and the project scope of work, the following submissions may have to accompany the drawings at intake:

    • DEP or OER authorization
    • FDNY – Notification or Letters of No Objection
    • Tenant/Occupant Protection Plan (only if applicable)
    • Mayor Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)
    • FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) – FEMA Map
    • Transit Authority Approval 
    • DOT Approval
    • Landmark approval
    • Public Design Commission Approval – NYC owned properties exterior work only
  1. Post Approval Amendments.  Any changes to approved scope of work that is significant and substantive will require submission of revised document and /or plans for post approval amendment (PAA). Approval for 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)

    Substantive changes that meet the following criteria should be submitted for review to amend the approved plans:

    • Expand scope of work to include an additional space in the same or different story.  For example, expand the first floor renovation to a space in the basement or cellar below.
    • Changes in function of areas and rooms from what was shown on approved plans.  For example, the function of a portion of an assembly space is changed to a new conference room or an office space.
    • Expand scope to add, replace or modify building equipment, roof systems, etc.
    • Structural changes
    • Addition or removal of the following: plumbing risers, minimum required fixtures, roof drains, etc.
    • Any alteration of gas systems
    • Changes to scope of work that require additional Special or Progress Inspection(s)
  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.

Special Inspections

As per BC Chapter 17, 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.  Inspection discrepancies and hazardous conditions must be reported to the super-intendent 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.  Per BC 1704.1.2, the Contractor cannot hire the Special Inspector.

Based on the scope of work, a sign 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 and precast

Required where the total concrete placement on a given project is more than 50 cubic yards or other conditions. Precast may be needed during façade renovation project (BC 1704.4)

Wood – Installation of Prefabricated I-Joists

Are subject to Special Inspections in accordance with Section 1704.2 and the requirements of Section BC 2303.1.2 (BC 1704.6.3).

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 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 Sections 1704.20.6 through 1704.20.10

Fire-resistant Penetration and Joists

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

Flood Zone Compliance

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


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

Footings and Foundation

Footing and foundation inspections shall be made after excavations for footings are complete and any required reinforcing steel and required forms are in place as per BC 110.3.1.

Structural Wood Frame

Inspections shall be performed for prior code wood structural framing to determine compliance with the approved construction documents as per BC 110.3.3.

Fire-Resistance Rated Construction

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

Mastic and Intumescent Fire Resistant Coatings

Fire resistant coating must be applied on structural elements as required by BC 1704.12

Smoke Control System and/or Smoke Purge System

Mechanically operated smoke removal system, as required by BC 1704.15 and 16 and BC 909 and/or BC 916

Raising and Moving Buildings

Raising and moving existing buildings, because all or part of it is located in flood zone, as required by 1704.20.5 and BB 2015-010


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

Luminous Egress Path Markings

Various egress path components marked with luminous signs and other markings per BC 1704.30 and 1024.8

Seismic Isolation

Structure in compliance with seismic isolation requirements in BC 1707.8, BC Chapter 16 and/or 1968 RS 9-6

Public Assembly Emergency Lighting

All components have been installed in accordance with AC 116.2.2, BC 1006.3.2, BC 1011 and BC Chapter 27, as required.

Energy Code Compliance Inspections

  • Penetrations through thermal envelope: must be sealed to minimize air leakage as per NYCECC 402.4.2 and C402.4.2
  • Dampers integral to building envelope: outdoor air dampers must close when system is off
  • HVAC & Service Water heating equipment: meets sizing and efficiency requirements as per NYCECC Tables C406.2(1) through C406.2(7) 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
  • Piping insulation: minimum thickness of 1” to 4.5”, required on piping carrying fluids >105F as per NYCECC Table C403.2.8 and C404.5
  • Maintenance Information:  shall be furnished for installation of new equipment as per NYCECC 303.3 and C303.3
  • Permanent Certificate: shall list type and efficiency of heating, cooling, and/or service water heating systems as per NYCECC 401.3

Electrical Energy [metering] Consumption: The presence and operation of individual meters or other means of monitoring individual tenant spaces shall be verified by visual inspection per 1 RCNY 5000-01(h) 2 – IIC1& NYCECC C405.7

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