Project Requirements Owner: Façade

Work you can do without a permit, Licensed Skilled Tradesperson, Licensed Contractor, or Registered Design Professional

There is some minor work, described in the sections below, which can be performed without a work permit, without hiring a Licensed Contractor, and/or without hiring a Registered Design Professional.

Work you can do without a permit

NYC Administrative Code Section AC 28-105.4 clarifies work exempt from permit, which does not absolve work from compliance with any other law or rules enforced by the Department. Owners are obligated to comply with requirements of other City agencies. Unless otherwise indicated, permits shall not be required for the following:

  • Emergency work, as set forth in section AC 28-105.4.1

  • Minor alterations and ordinary repairs, as described in section AC 28-105.4.2

  • Exterior Facade Restoration, as described in Table 3 of 1 RCNY 101-14

Emergency Work

AC 28-105.4.1 clarifies emergency work as work otherwise requiring a permit, performed to relieve an emergency condition. Licensed Contractors may perform emergency work prior to getting a permit as long as it is submitted within two (2) business days after work commences and includes a description of the emergency condition and mitigating measures taken. Emergency work, as it relates to Facade projects, may include but shall not be limited to:

  • Stabilization of unsafe structural conditions

  • Erection of sidewalk sheds, fences, or other similar structures to protect the public from an unsafe condition.

Minor Alterations and Ordinary Repairs

AC 28-105.4.2 defines minor alterations and ordinary repairs for which a permit is not required and lists work not considered as such.

Exterior Façade Restoration

Per 1 RCNY 101-14, Table 3: Sections I through IX*, the following façade work shall not require a permit in all buildings:

Masonry (not including terracotta or stone)

  • Brick re-pointing (or other unit masonry).

  • Removal and replacement of individual bricks - single outside wythe up to 10 sf., not to exceed 4 ft. horizontally, in any 100 sf. of wall area, and the cumulative area of all brick replacement on all facades does not exceed 150 sq. ft.

  • Installation of new parapet coping (masonry).

  • Replacement of existing guardrail or parapet to the same height (for masonry parapets, replacement of existing parapet limited to 10 sq. ft. in any 100 sq. ft. of continuous parapet vertical surface area.

  • Masonry crack repair with injection of repair mortar.

  • Replacement of masonry sills.

Concrete Restoration

  • Repair or re-anchoring of existing aluminum or steel balcony handrails.

  • Concrete crack repair with injection of repair cement.

Curtain/Panel Walls

  • Removal or replacement of inspection plates.

  • Repair or replacement of sheet metal window clip covers.

  • Replacement of exterior glass panels in kind, limited to 1,000 square feet of glass in any given 10,000 square feet of wall area.

  • Replacement of inner glass panels from within the building.

Cleaning or Coating of Masonry, Concrete, Metal, EIFS

  • Cleaning, coloring or painting of masonry (brick, stone, terra cotta), concrete.

  • Application of (trowel applied) cementitious material (stucco) no greater than 1" (25.4 mm) in thickness or other material (brownstone) no greater than 1/8" (3.2 mm) in thickness to exterior surfaces of building walls, excluding newly installed exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS). The application must be limited to a height of 40 feet, measured vertically from the adjoining grade or an adjoining setback that is at least 10 feet deep.

  • Application of sealant, caulking, regrouting.

  • Minor repair of exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS), not to exceed 10 square feet in any given 100 square feet of continuous EIFS wall surface area.

Miscellaneous Metal and steel

  • Reinforcement of fire escape bars, struts, baskets, or supports.

Sheet Metal

  • Localized (non-structural) repairs/patching to sheet metal cornice.

  • Installation of parapet coping cover (sheet metal).

Doors and Windows

  • Replacement of existing windows and balcony doors that satisfy the following conditions:

  • such window is not located on the lot line; and

  • the replacement does not require a modification of existing masonry openings; and

  • the replacement window does not affect access to light or ventilation; and

  • there is no change in the operable area of the window.

  • Repair or replacement of window and doorsills.


  • Probes involving the removal of less than 10 sf. of unit masonry (with a maximum horizontal dimension not to exceed 4 ft.) in any 100 sf. of wall area, and the cumulative area of all probe openings on all facades does not exceed 150 sq. ft.

  • Replacement in kind of exterior gutters and leaders.

  • Removal of existing signs and marquees.

  • Open screen balcony enclosures on balconies less than 40 feet above grade.

*Also see requirements for landmark buildings and NYCECC.*

When you need to hire a professional and obtain a permit

There are several aspects of façade work, including but not limited to repairing the brick and mortar, terra-cotta, stucco, tiles, glass, lightweight curtain wall, and concrete cladding, as well as repairing structurally damaged or corroded lintels, repair of damaged architectural details, fire escapes, window sills, hand rails, terraces rooftops, and/or parapet walls, and installation of electrical wiring and lighting, which can only be performed by Contractors with specialized licenses to perform such required work, and permits are issued to these registered trade license holders.

General Contractor

The Owner must hire a Registered Design Professional to submit permit application plans to the Department prior to work being performed by a General Contractor.

Licensed Electrician

Electrical work including new installation, alteration, or repair of electric wiring, wiring apparatuses, appliances or equipment requires a separately submitted electrical permit and shall be performed by a New York City Licensed Electrical Contractor who shall coordinate with other members of the project team. When such application includes work as listed below, or requires Energy Conservation Code (ECC) compliance, it must reference the general project application number. Electrical construction documents are not required to be submitted by a Registered Design Professional, except as follows:

  • Electrical Plan Review plan examination, submitted by a Licensed Electrician when electrical equipment or installation is at least 1000 KVA. (1 RCNY § 34-05)

  • Energy Conservation Code compliance, to demonstrate Lighting Power Density Energy Code compliance. ECC § C406.3 and Table C405.5.2(2) for these requirements.

  • Fire Alarm System - FDNY Plan Examination, the periodic testing, inspection and maintenance by either a Licensed Electrician or Registered Design Professional. FC 604

When you need to hire a Registered Design Professional or a General Contractor to obtain a permit

If the façade project is comprised of aspects of work exceeding what is allowed above, then a Registered Design Professional must submit construction plans, for approval by the Department, prior to obtaining a work permit.

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