Renovating Kitchens & Bathrooms

Construction plans and permits may be required for kitchen and bathroom renovations, depending upon the complexity of the work. Department of Buildings work permits are required for most construction projects. If the project's scope requires plans and permits, you must hire a New York State licensed professional engineer (P.E.) or registered architect (R.A).

Construction Permit Applications for Renovations

There are four types of construction permit applications – New Building (NB) and Alterations (ALT) Type 1, 2 and 3. ALT2s are for renovations with multiple types of work that do not change the building's use, egress (exits) or type of occupancy. Most kitchen and bathroom renovations require an ALT2 permit application, which must be filed by a PE or RA. For example, you will need an ALT2 when:

  • adding a new bathroom
  • rerouting gas pipes and adding electrical outlets
  • moving a load-bearing wall.

Work Without Permits

It's illegal to do construction without the Department's approval or permits. Illegal construction is unsafe and may results in fines. Property owners may have to correct multiple Environmental Control Board violations. The most severe violation – Class 1 – can carry a $25,000 fine, additional penalties and accrued interest. The work must be legalized or removed, requiring permit application fees. These costs are in addition to legal liability, and in some cases property owners may be brought to Criminal Court.

Minor Alterations

Some minor alterations may be done without a work permit. A Professional Engineer, Registered Architect or a DOB borough office representative can explain the exceptions to filing and permit requirements. The following are some examples of work that doesn't need a permit:

  • Painting
  • Plastering
  • Installing new cabinets*
  • Resurfacing floors*

*NOTE: Contractors performing these home improvements must be licensed through the Department of Consumer of Affairs (DCA). Use DCA’s Instant License Check.

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