The latest news on New York architecture.

  • File Your Application for a New Building the Right Way

    File Your Application for a New Building the Right Way

    To build any structure in the state of New York, it is a legal requirement to have a permit or license. Most construction requires a Registered Architect (RA) or Professional Engineer (PE) recognized and licensed in the city to file all the plans and application permits before the project begins.

    Different permits exist for various projects. There are two primary permits an RA or PE need to file before they begin any construction work. The New Building (NB) permit, and either the ALT 1, ALT 2 or ALT 3 Alteration Type permit. The former is for when you are constructing any new structure. The latter is for any construction changes that affect the structure, each type depending on extent of changes the building will undergo. This article will, however, focus on how to file a New Building Application Permit properly.

    According to the Department of Buildings (DOB), you’re going to need a few documents to pre-file the application. It is advisable to hire a Registered Architect or NY State Licensed Professional Engineer to help you obtain building plans, which include energy calculations. You will also need to pick up a copy of the Work Approval Application (PW1 form) from the DOB offices or download one from the website. After filling out this form, you might need to attach Schedule A and Schedule B. An asbestos form is another requirement that will come up during pre-filing.

    Three copies of each of these documents must go to a pre-filer for verification, along with a cost estimation, and determination of the type of job.  After basic job information is entered into the Building Information System (BIS), the pre-filer will give you the application fees and BIS job number. It is your job to then take the application folder and payments to the cashier and update the data in the system which will undergo yet another verification step.

    This next phase will involve a Department Plan Examiner, who will review the plans you’ve submitted for compliance with appropriate prerequisites, and he/she will update you on any missing requirements through the BIS (required items). If everything is in order, the DOB approves your plan and gives you the approved forms. If not, you’ll have to fulfill all requirements for authorization.

    Next, the Record Room perforates approved plans which means your New Building permit is ready. You will then submit it to the permit clerk along with a PW2 and PW3 form and a microfilming fee, and the clerk will check for payment balances and insurance. If the applicant meets all conditions the clerk generates the permit and updates the information in the BIS, you are ready to begin construction.

    This process can be long and overwhelming if you do it yourself, but don’t worry, Scott Henson Architect can do it all for you. Our technical team provides DOB New Building application filing among other city and government agency filing services. We offer professional certification and will expedite the filing process so that you can start and finish your project on time. For more information, contact uscontact us.

  • A Guide to Working on Landmarked Buildings

    A Guide to Working on Landmarked Buildings

    New York City is home to over 36,000 landmarked properties-most of which are located in 141 historic districts and extensions - 1,398 individual landmarks, and 119 interior landmarks. The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), the largest preservation agency in the nation, is entrusted with safeguarding the city’s cultural, social, economic, political and architectural history.

    Any work proposed work on a landmarked building must be held up to strict LPC standards and regulations- that means any restoration, alteration, reconstruction, demolition or new construction that effects a landmark requires a permit.

    The type of permit required depends entirely on the type of work involved in the project. Permits can either be issued by a staff Preservationist or the full Commission depending on whether or not the scope of work meets the rules of the Commission. There are three types of permits:

    Certificate of No Effect:

    Also known as a CNE, a Certificate of No Effect is required for the following work:

    • Interior renovations that require Department of Buildings permits

    • Installation of plumbing and heating equipment

    • Installation of an exhaust fan vent

    • Changes that the staff determines do not adversely affect significant features of the building

    A CNE can be approved at staff level and does not require a public hearing with the full Commission.

    Permit for Minor Work

    Also known as a PMW, a Permit for Minor Work is required when the scope of work affects significant architectural features. This type of work includes:

    • Window/ door replacement

    • Masonry cleaning or repair

    • Restoration of architectural details


    A PMW can be approved at staff level and does not require a public hearing with the full Commission.


    Certificate of Appropriateness

    Over 90% of all applications to the LPC fall within the first two permit categories, however the remaining 10% are reviewed by the full Commission and the project’s local community board. Also known as a C of A, a Certificate of Appropriateness is required if the scope of work affects the significant landmarked features or does not conform to the Rules of the Landmarks Preservation CommissionRules of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. This includes:

    • Additions

    • Demolitions

    • New construction

    • Removal of significant architectural features

    Filing a permit with the Landmarks Preservation Commission requires that an Architect create signed/sealed drawings and prepare a package of descriptive materials to aid the Commission’s evaluation of the impact of the proposed scope of work. These materials include a permit application, color photographs of the current building, historic photographs, close-up photos of where the work will occur, documentation of features to be restored, detail drawings, elevation and section drawings, written specifications and color/material samples.

    Whether you plan to do minor repairs or a full building addition, when approaching a project with landmark status it is important to hire a firm with extensive experience with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. If you have any questions about performing work on your landmarked property, do not hesitate to contact uscontact us.