Design Professional Requirements:
Shoring, Underpinning of Foundations, and Ground Structures

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 28-101.4. It is the responsibility of the Registered Design Professional to date the building to determine the applicable Codes and identify what is required to make the structure stable.

Flood Plains, BC Appendix G, must be considered when performing renovation work associated with soil and foundations, and placement of retaining walls.

However, there are exceptions if Prior Codes are used, per AC 28-101.4.3. For example, the 2014 Code must be used for safety during construction operations, Special and Progress Inspections, encroachments into the public right-of-way, and some aspects of structural work.

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 does not cover ALL regulations.*



Project Element

Applicable Code and Regulations

Current Code*

Prior Codes



1938 Building Code, MDL & HMC


2014 Administrative Code


2014 BC Chapter 32

Flood Resistant Construction

2014 BC Appendix G


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 AC 26 Article 8 and AC 26 Article 19

Retaining Walls

2014 BC Chapter 16, Chapter 18, and Chapter 33

Rodent Proofing

2014 BC Appendix F

Safeguards During Construction

2014 BC Chapter 33

Sign Structures and Types

2014 BC Appendix H

Special and Progress Inspections

2014 BC Chapter 17

Structural, Soils and Foundation

BC Chapter 16 and Chapter 18

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

2014 BC 1601.2 and 1938 AC 26 Article 9


2014 BC Chapter 18 and BC Chapter 33

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. Your building may be governed by a Code prior to 1938 based on the Code at the time it was built.


Other Regulation(s) for Reference

  • BB 2009-011 – Clarifies the requirements for using existing structures to support the weight of concrete during placement including inspections
  • BB 2009-026 – Field and laboratory testing of cast-in-place concrete.
  • BB 2010-015 – Raising and moving of buildings, including temporary supports, shores, and braces during the construction process.
  • BB 2014-020 - Acceptance criteria for the use of helical pile foundation systems in accordance with NYC Construction Codes
  • BB 2016-012 – Clarifies how floor surface area is calculated with respect to AC 28-101.4.5.


  • TPPN #10/88 – Protecting adjacent historic buildings and structures

Local Laws

  • 1 RCNY 16-01 – Stability and Integrity of Existing Structures During Construction Operations
  • 1 RCNY 101-06 – Special Inspectors and Special Inspection Agencies
  • 1 RCNY 103-04 – Façade Inspection procedures, including retaining walls

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), NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), various utility companies, 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 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 Article 104 or 2014 BC 107.2. For underpinning and other support of excavation structures (shoring, retaining walls, etc.) provide a pre-construction report per BC 1814.1, and provide monitoring program to ensure structural stability of existing adjacent structures per BC 1814.3.

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 DOB guidelines outlined in the following section IV, item C, provide 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 and Plan Examination Guidelines – Minimum Requirement for Review of Design Drawings, Revised 4-30-2014.

A complete submission of drawings should include:

Construction Documents. Drawings necessary to convey essential information such as sign copy, sign size, structural support or mounting system, elevations, 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, and include an accompanying a graphical scale. A written statement describing the entire project scope should be included. Notes on building occupancy classification, structural system and/or separate structural support system, and zoning use group must be provided.
  • Drawing Index. A recommended list that clearly identifies all drawings involved in the project; include drawing sheet numbers and drawing titles.
  • Initial Survey. A survey may be submitted in addition to or in lieu of a plot diagram as long as the zone of safety is indicated.
  • Site/Plot Plan. A plan indicating the block and lot, zoning lot and exact location and size of the proposed sign and/or sign structure, as well as the location, size and surface area, of all other signs on the zoning lot. Include proof that all existing signs were previously issued permits.
  • Zoning Analysis. Zoning analysis to verify location of proposed structures is permitted in yards, courts or open space. Clearly indicate all adjacent zoning districts (or a detail of the current and relevant Zoning District map).
  • Plans. Show existing and proposed conditions as required; clearly identify location(s) and provide fully dimensioned drawings. Coordinate with all trades/ disciplines to ensure that the proposed scope of work is complete and shown on all submitted discipline drawings.
  • Report: Provide drawing and details of monitoring program to ensure structural stability of project structure and all existing adjacent structures during the construction process.
  • Elevations. Required if the project involves the alteration, enlargement, reduction, renovation, repair or modification of the building’s foundation or exterior wall. Provide fully dimensioned drawings showing existing and proposed conditions as required. Provide elevation of top of slab for cellar/basement.
  • Sections. Required when the project involves an alteration, enlargement, reduction, renovation, or modification to the building, which includes cross and longitudinal sections of the all or part of the structure or building foundation.
  • Detail Drawings. These drawings contain significant information required to clearly communicate the scope of work, in a magnified form, such as new and existing structural connection details, wall details footing details, etc.
  • Provide bottom (below grade) elevation of all proposed footings and existing adjacent building footings;
  • Shoring, retaining walls, underpinning, or additional structural reinforcement details including sequence of construction operations; and
  • Details to ensure no damage to adjacent structures during construction.
  • NYC Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC). If the project scope includes one of the following, then demonstrate NYCECC compliance on the plans:
  • Penetration of the building thermal envelope and/or effect on building insulation;
  • Protection of exposed foundation insulation applied to the exterior of basement walls, crawlspace walls and the perimeter of slab-on-grade floors.

If applicable, additional elements required on drawings include:

  • Flood zone compliance
  • Site Safety Plans
  • Tenant/Occupant protection Plan

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
Z-101.00 Zoning Analysis and information
A-100.00 Architectural Plans and Details
B-101.00 Borings and/or Geotechnical Tests and Results
FO-101.00 Proposed Foundation Plans and Details
S-101.00 Structural Plans and Details
SG-101.00 Sign Plans, Elevations and Details of Supporting Structures
SOE-101.00 Support of Excavation - Excavation, Fill, Underpinning, Sheeting, Shoring, Bracing, retaining structures, construction monitoring plan, construction notes, Piling Plans and associated details
SSP-101.00 Site Safety Plan
EN-100.00 Energy Code Analysis and Notes

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.
B: Borings/Geotechnical: Includes subsurface investigations and soil tests.
FO: Foundation: Mandatory designation for drawings whenever foundation work is filed.
S: Structural: Mandatory designation for drawings whenever structural work is filed.
SG: Sign: Mandatory designation for drawings when work is filed separately for a sign permit.
SOE: Support of Excavation: Mandatory designation when filing construction documents with support of adjoining properties & structures during construction. Includes: excavation, fill, underpinning, sheeting, shoring, bracing, piling, etc.
SSP: Site Safety Plan: Mandatory designation when a site safety plan is required and filed with BEST.
Z: Zoning: Mandatory designation must be used for all zoning information and analyses.
EN: Energy Analysis: Mandatory designation if Energy Analysis is required.

2. 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:

  • OER authorization – Coordination with ZR ‘little-e’ requirements
  • Tenant/Occupant Protection Plan (only if applicable)
    • HPD Approval – Letter of No harassment of tenants, as required
    • SRO MD Anti-Harassment checklist for residential
  • Transit Authority Approval
  • DOT Approval
  • Landmark Approval
  • Public Design Commission Approval
  • DEC Approval

3. 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:

  • Changes to the scope of work that require additional, modified or eliminated Special or Progress Inspection(s).
  • Change in SOE or adjacent building monitoring
  • Change in design of structural system, e.g. switching from steel to a concrete structure
  • Other ongoing structural design changes based on field conditions, as required

4. 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 unless you comply with the exceptions listed in BC 1704.4

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 BC 1704.20.6 through BC 1704.20.10.

Excavations – Sheeting, Shoring, Bracing and Underpinning

Methods employed to protect the sides of excavations shall be subject to Special Inspections in accordance with Sections BC 1704.20.2 through BC 1704.20.10 and BC 1814.

Fire-resistant Rated Construction and Joists, and associated Penetrations

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


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.

Subgrade Conditions

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

Deep Foundation Elements

Are subject to Special Inspections in accordance with BC 1704.8.

Post Installed Anchors

Installation of post-installed mechanical anchors, adhesive anchors, and screw anchors shall comply with BC Table 1704.32, BC section 1704.32 and Buildings Bulletin (BB) 2014-018 and BB 2014-019.


Before approving construction documents, the commissioner is authorized to examine or cause to be examined structures or premises for which an application has been filed per AC 28-116.2.1.

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

  • Penetrations through thermal envelope: must be sealed to minimize air leakage as per 2016 NYCECC 402.4.2 and C402.4.2
  • Exterior lighting power: density must be within allowances per 2016 NYCECC C405.2.5 or be equipped with a control device.
  • Protection of exposed foundation insulation: Insulation shall be visually inspected to verify proper protection where applied to the exterior of basement or cellar walls, crawl-space walls and/or the perimeter of slab-on-grade floors, as per R 303.2.1 and C303.2.1.

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