If you are looking to do legal construction in the 5 boroughs of New York, and to a lesser extent, the greater states of New York and Pennsylvania, the property owner typically seeks approvals from the building department in order to receive permits for the work based on drawings prepared by a design profession. If an owner does choose to proceed with work illegally, they do so at their own risk. We encourage property owners to visiting the building departments website, project guidelines for owners, work directly with a project advocate, or speak with a DOB expert at the recently reinstituted home owner’s night for further guidance. The Department of Buildings operates as the industry’s supervisory body and has the agency to enforce various guidelines, rules and regulations with the goal of protecting and preserving the public's health and well-being throughout the life span of a construction project and beyond.
As a licensed and insured team of design professionals, Grafēdē provides the comprehensive service of architectural design as we effectively and efficiently navigate each project’s specific requirements through a complex and involved design process. Part of which must take into consideration is the municipality’s overarching guidance, as it is our responsibility as design professionals to create the architectural design that exceeds our clients’ expectation while observing the regulations set forth by the governing bodies with jurisdiction over the proposal. In preparation of the drawings and documentation required, Grafēdē takes care to incorporate the client’s goals while demonstrating compliance with all applicable construction codes, laws, bulletins and zoning resolutions.
Other architectural offices will agree, the filing process can feel cumbersome and at downright bureaucratic to the unsuspecting client. As we work through the process, they are often surprised when we take the time to explain the various required drawings, document and forms that go into a new building’s filing, substantial alterations, additions and even interior renovations. We recommend the standard filing process in pursuing the required approval and permits, as we work closely with our expeditors to quickly achieve approval and issue the subsequent permits as quickly as possible. It is worth noting; there is a work around to the process, an architect or engineer, can PRO-CERT the proposal. This accelerates the timeline to permits and is often at the design professional’s discretion, often depend of the scope of work; the more complex the project, the less likely we are to support the choice of self-certification as it become a liability for all involved. Either way; assuming that you are making the smart choice to legally do the work, understand the Building Department is well intentioned and have a standard process in place to facilitate as quick a turnaround as is possible.
In preparing our filing documents, with the understanding of our clients intentions and expectations; we first determine the work type, construction and occupancy classifications, such that we provide the required documents for the filing to be approved, a necessary step to gather the details and information required, establishing our course of action. When our filing documents and drawings are nearly complete, our expeditor will establish a DOB NOW e-filing, at which point the owner’s participation is required. For the filing to be complete, all fees will need to be paid, necessary inspections as well as required signed/stamped documents must be submitted in order to proceed with the filing. At this point the municipality’s plan examiner is assigned and tasked with conducting comprehensive review of the drawings and data, to confirm compliance of, or provide an objection to, the proposal. The design professional, as the applicant of record, along the expediting team are your filing representatives, and as such, we do everything in our power to achieve the approval you require to get permits and proceed with the construction in a timely fashion.
Once you have received the permits, construction work on site can begin. The Department of Buildings will give you a fair amount of leigh way on just how you and your contractor want to arrive at a complete project, which a few exceptions along the way (post approval amendments, inspections, close out and certificate of completion).