Unless you’re repainting your kitchen, you almost definitely need a work permit in New York City. In fact, most projects are quite complex and will actually require several permits before you get to the end of construction, such as permits for:

  • demolition
  • sidewalks
  • boiler, mechanical/HVAC and other equipment
  • electrical
  • elevators
  • scaffolding
  • signage

…and on and on.

To conduct any kind of construction work without a permit not only puts the safety of the public at risk (this whole complex system of paperwork really does serve a purpose), but also puts you and the success of your project at unnecessary risk.

A whole slew of problems could result, ones we know you don’t want to deal with.

Stop Work Orders

These are just as undesirable as they sound and inconvenient to say the least. If an inspector deems work to be in any kind of violation – zoning, code, safety or other – a Stop Work Order (SWO) can be issued. Coming in varieties of either partial or full, SWOs dictate that all violations must be remediated before the job can proceed. To violate such an order comes with a hefty price tag: $5,000 for first timers and doubling to $10,000 for repeat offenders. Or, in certain cases, it could even mean a criminal penalty.

More time?

Yup, that’s right. In an already slow-moving world, violations are less than ideal. The consequential delays and backstepping can easily add weeks or months to the process. Not only that, but more time almost always means more money.

To lift a SWO you will, obviously, need to correct prior violations. Then you will need to pay any applicable fines and go through yet another inspection. You may also need to acquire a Certificate of Correction and provide proof of corrections in the form of:

  • sworn statements detailing how, when and who performed the work
  • additional work permits
  • photographic evidence (before and after shots)
  • invoices

And, actually, not all press is good press

The building permit process is an important check for safety. Safeguarding the lives of workers and the general public is of the highest priority.  

But it’s also best to not end up in the pages of the New York Post for embarrassing violations, similar to what happened in Queens earlier this year. Weeks after an SWO was issued, per complaints of construction causing sidewalks to crack, a huge collapse left a 40-foot-wide hole in its wake and resulted in blown-out car windows, dangerous debris to go airborne, and a thick coating of dirt and dust. Luckily, no one was injured.

Does this sound like a bit of a mess?

Well, it is. And really we’re only skimming of the surface of the potential consequences of violating or not obtaining a proper work permit.

It is also important to keep in mind that the owner bears all responsibility, no matter who actually submits the permit applications or who is performing the work, which is exactly why having a proper team from the start is so essential.

Approvall does much more than simply expedite the NYC building permit process. We are your advocate from start to finish, looking out for your best interests and saving both time and money. Our expertise is staying ahead of the ever-changing regulations in New York so you don’t have to.  We oversee all applications, coordinate between countless professionals, guide inspections and site visits, and a whole lot more.

And if something does happen we will see you through it. All the way.

Approvalls will even hold your hand

If you’d like us to.

Building permits in NYC conjure up a lot of headache and flurries of moving parts. This might be one of the few instances in life that adult hand holding is met with wisdom rather than shame.

Nicole Howard is an urban enthusiast and writer. She specializes in all things architecture, city-making, and the built environment. If she’s away from her pen, you can likely find her cooking veggies straight from her, very urban, backyard “farm” in Jersey City.