Does my project require a permit?

Most construction in New York City requires approval and permits from the Department of Buildings. Some minor alterations may be done without a work permit. For example, installing new kitchen cabinets doesn’t require a permit but contractors must have a Department of Consumer Affairs Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) license. A Professional Engineer (PE), Registered Architect (RA), or the Department's borough directors can explain the exceptions to filing and permit requirements. Some examples of work that does not need a permit are:

  • Painting
  • Plastering
  • Installing new cabinets*
  • Plumbing Fixture Replacement
  • Resurfacing floors*
  • Non-structural Roof Repair

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

Work You Can Do Without a Permit
The NYC Administrative Code §28-105.4.5 clarifies exempt permit work. These projects still require compliance with other laws or rules enforced by the Department. Property owners are obligated to comply with requirements of other City agencies. Unless otherwise indicated, permits are not required for the following:

No permit needed, but work requires a Licensed Master Plumber
The Administrative Code section AC 28-105.4.4 lists work considered ordinary maintenance and repair, including allowable replacement/relocation of plumbing, gas piping, equipment and components. These projects must be performed by a Licensed Master Plumber.

Emergency Work
Administrative Code section AC 28-105.4.1 clarifies emergency work as work requiring a permit that is performed to relieve an emergency condition. Licensed Contractors may perform emergency work before a permit is issued as long as an Emergency Work Notification is filed with the Department within two (2) business days after the work is completed. The notification must include a description of the emergency and the actions taken to repair the hazard.

Emergency Work can include, but is not limited to:

  • erecting sidewalk sheds, fences, or other similar structures to protect the public from an unsafe condition
  • stabilizing unsafe structural conditions
  • gas leak repairs
  • replacing required parts needed to operate combined standpipe/sprinkler systems
  • repair or replacement of heating or hot water equipment that service residential occupancies during the heating season or education occupancies between November 1st and May 1st.

Minor Alterations and Ordinary Repairs
Administrative Code section AC 28-105.4.2 defines minor alterations and ordinary repairs where a permit is not required and lists projects under this category.

Service Equipment
Mechanical equipment work does not require a permit in buildings see 1 RCNY 101-14, Table 2: Section II for more information.

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