Key notes

Each project has their unique history and challenges but some aspects are common for all. Below is a general outline of topics to consider at the onset of your project:


  • Design, Construction Drawings and Bidding can take up to 6 months depending on the complexity of the project.
  • Building board review and approval can last up to 3 months.
  • When your alteration affects the exterior of a Landmarked building it will require a Landmark permit prior to DOB approval. This process can take up to 6 weeks.
  • The NYC Department of Building review for Type 2 alterations and approval process can take from 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Construction can range from 2 to 8 months depending on the complexity of the project.
  • Your building's rules and regulations can have an impact on when you can begin your project. They may have specific stipulations on how many renovations can be in progress at any one time or they may prefer a specific time frame of the year for renovations to take place.

related issues with common renovation items

  • Kitchen and bathroom renovations. Some buildings will not allow wet-over-dry situations, meaning that relocating a bathroom or kitchen above a downstairs neighbor's. living room will be rejected by the building. The building may require you to replace plumbing lines back to the building's riser if you are performing major plumbing changes.
  • Central air conditioning. Apart from complying with energy codes and special inspections, some buildings will require you to hire a Sound Engineer to ensure that noise from your unit are properly mitigated so as not to disturb the surrounding apartments.
  • Window replacement. Some buildings will only allow a specific design look to keep in line with the overall building facade aesthetic.

The 2014 NYC Building Code as it applies to Existing Buildings

The 2014 NYCBC (28-101.4.3) still allows the optional use of prior codes This generally refers to the 1938 and 1969 NYC Building Codes but there are 19 categories of work that MUST use the 2014 codes. Among those that are typical for apartment alterations include Fuel gas, Plumbing, Mechanical, Accessibility, Energy Efficiency and structural.