Project Requirements for Owner: Shoring, Underpinning of Foundations, and Ground Structures

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

There is some minor work, described below, that 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

The NYC Administrative Code §28-105.4.5 clarifies work exempt from permit. Exemptions from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for work to be done in any manner that violates the provisions of the Code, including the Zoning Resolution (ZR) or any other law or rules enforced by the Department. Such exemptions shall not relieve owners of the obligation to comply with the requirements of other city agencies, including any filing requirements. Unless otherwise indicated, permits shall not be required for the following:

Emergency Work

Licensed Contractors may perform emergency work prior to getting a permit. NYC Administrative Code Section AC 28-105.4.1 clarifies ‘emergency work’ as work otherwise requiring a permit, but may be performed without a permit to the extent necessary to relieve an emergency condition. However, the application for a permit shall be within two (2) business days after the commencement of the emergency work, perform required inspections to close out the project, and shall include a written description of the emergency condition and the measures undertaken to mitigate the hazard. Emergency work, as it relates to this project, may include but shall not be limited to:

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

  • Stabilization of unsafe structural conditions.

Minor Alterations and Ordinary Repairs

NYC AC 28-105.4.2 defines minor alterations and ordinary repairs. A permit shall not be required for minor alterations and ordinary repairs.

Geotechnical Investigations

Geotechnical Investigations, as set forth in Section AC 28-105.4.6, shall not require a permit for exploratory excavations, such as test pits or borings required by BC 1802.4, provided such excavations do not exceed ten feet in length, width or diameter and are conducted under the supervision of a registered design professional.

Retaining Walls

Per 1 RCNY 101-14 , Table 2: Section I, the following retaining wall work shall not require a permit in all buildings:

  1. Retaining walls less than 4 feet (1219 mm) in height, measured from the top of the footing to the top of the wall, and the wall:

    1. Does not support a surcharge; or

    2. Does not impound Class I, II or III-A liquids, as defined by Section BC 307.2.

When you need to hire a Licensed Contractor to obtain a permit

There are several aspects of work for shoring, underpinning, retaining walls, flagpoles, signs and other ground structure projects, including but not limited to the excavation of soil, concrete work, masonry work, or providing electrical service, 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 New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC) 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 (then click on 1 RCNY § 34-05) – submitted by a Licensed Electrician when electrical equipment or installation is at least 1000 KVA.

  • Energy Conservation Code Compliance – to demonstrate Lighting Power Density Energy Code compliance. NYCECC sections 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. Construction documents prepared by a Registered Design Professional shall be part of the project submittal for new installations or alterations of existing fire alarm systems.  Review shall be performed by an FDNY plan examiner.

When you need to hire a Registered Design Professional, Licensed Contractor and obtain a permit

If the project is comprised of aspects of work exceeding what’s allowed under the sections 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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