How to Navigate the Building Permit Process in New York

business approved stamp, permit document and certificate concept

Securing a building permit might sound easy, but in practice, it can require a lot of back and forth. Especially when trying to navigate the building permit process in New York or New Jersey, processing times and stringent zoning regulations can present challenges for project owners.

That said, even for a new building, it is possible to make the process of getting a building permit in one of the five boroughs smoother. Usually, it’s just a case of approaching it in the right way.

To help get your approach right, our construction and development experts are here with their tips on how to tackle your permit application and ensure your build can get underway as soon as possible.

Let’s get started.

1. Maintain close communication with your architect

While the building permit process in NY might initially seem daunting, it’s important to remember that the right support can make all the difference. Particularly when it comes to local building code and supplying the right documents, professional guidance is a must.

For building permits in general, your architect will play an integral role in helping you get your application submitted in the first place. As well as this, they’ll be involved in making changes required by relevant authorities. This is why having a reputable architect on board with you from the beginning is the best way to get your application off to a good start. 

To make sure the New York building permit process continues to run as smoothly as possible, it’s essential to maintain a good relationship with your architect throughout the design process and ensure they have the expertise you need to get your application over the line.

Your architect has a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, so the more experienced they are, the better!

That said, while your architect will play a big part in the plan submission process, it’s important to note that they won’t have control over wait times or objections that occur. 

In general, their main involvement on construction projects will include:

  • Supplying all necessary architectural drawings and plans
  • Advising on which building permits might be relevant to your project and highlighting aspects of your brief that might be potential red flags
  • Making amendments as requested by your local building department
  • Working with you/your local authority to answer queries relating to submitted documents

Tip: If your architect is part of a full-service construction firm, you’ll also benefit from their ability to align all required documentation and drawings with input from a multidisciplinary team. For example, if you want to add a specific structural feature to your design, your architect can consult with the appropriate team members and ensure it’s viable. 

2. Ensure your teams are fully qualified and experienced

Following on from the previous point, when researching contractors, choosing teams that can deliver what’s needed is essential. Whether you’re building a new structure or are making plans for a home addition, before work begins, make sure your architect and relevant contractors can provide construction drawings and documentation that will satisfy final inspections.  

As a guide, when applying for a building permit in New York, the building standards and codes you need to take into consideration will generally include ensuring your building is:

  • Safe
  • Resilient
  • In line with guidelines for energy efficiency, fire protection etc.

With even minor work such as plumbing installations sometimes requiring a special permit, your local authority in New York will want to know that all aspects of your construction plans align with what the department deems acceptable. This is why it’s vital to research your teams thoroughly and check that their previous experience matches the scope of your project.

To streamline this process, we suggest:

  • Selecting a full-service construction firm with an architect that can draft and amend drawings in-house
  • Ensuring your chosen architect is familiar with local department processes and is used to dealing with submission protocol/filing representatives
  • Considering a local project delivery team that might also be able to help with services such as land purchasing or identifying potential risks to your application

3. Be prepared for rejection

Even though all building owners and delivery teams aim to have building permits accepted the first time, there are no guarantees this will happen. Even with the best architect and development team supporting the process, it can take time to predict what aspects of your design plans might raise concerns.

While New York building permit rejections occur for several reasons, some common ones include:

  • Not including the full range of details about your property, e.g. occupancy, intended use of the building
  • Contractors not meeting professional standards
  • Construction drawings containing errors or not fully addressing necessary inclusions
  • Zoning issues or objections by third parties, e.g. members of the public

To counteract these issues, it’s vital to understand the full requirements of the New York building permit you need and only seek support from industry professionals.

However, especially for a new structure, it’s still best to anticipate rejection and allocate additional time for any amendments needed before work begins. 

Note: In areas such as New York and New Jersey, processing times can vary significantly depending on your project’s complexity and the issues that arise. Therefore, avoid assuming that the estimated wait time will be accurate.

4. Understand your role as a project owner

Project owners are ultimately responsible for complying with local building regulations and ensuring properties are in line with everything from zoning policies to public safety standards.

If this sounds like a big responsibility, you’re not alone in thinking so.

This is why choosing the right architecture and construction team from the start is so crucial. Even though you have the final say, a reputable and experienced firm will ensure you feel supported the entire time.

How Argo Construction and Development can support your build

As an ‘all-in-one’ construction and development firm based in New Jersey, we’ve helped project owners all across the Northeast bring their design vision to life. From assisting with land purchasing to offering site management services, we support your build from start to finish.

Our in-house team of architects are well-versed in guiding building permit applications and are familiar with local regulations set out by NY and NJ authorities.

Having the right team for your construction project is essential and we’d love for your build to be our next success story. 

If you’re considering a development project that might require our services, feel free to get in touch or view our portfolio to learn more about the type of projects we deliver. 

Contact Our Team

Fill in the form below to get in touch with Argo.

Contact Form

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Site Links

Read More Argo Posts

Benefits of Buying New Construction Home

By John | October 24, 2023

Seeking a new place to call home is a significant undertaking. When you’re in the buying phase, the prospect of envisioning your ideal living space and must-haves is exhilarating. However, a crucial decision must be made: do you want a home with a history, possibly requiring renovations, or a newly constructed property?  A “new construction”…

The Unprecedented Journey of Argo Development: Pioneering Carefree Building Experience 

By John | October 12, 2023

In the dynamic sphere of real estate and infrastructure, one name has emerged as a game-changer: Argo Development. This innovative company has skillfully carved out a niche for itself, offering a unique, carefree building experience that is helping to supply the market with the much-needed inventory.  Argo Development has identified the key pressure points in…

How to Build a New York Home You’ll Love

By John | April 17, 2023

Many current or prospective homeowners can spend years planning their dream house in New York. From choosing a location to swatching paint samples, the vision you have for your space can be years in the making. That said, when it comes to actually creating the house you want, things don’t always align how you thought…

How to Integrate Nature Into Your New York Building Design

By John | April 10, 2023

Living in urban areas like New York City certainly has its perks. However, with property prices high and plots of land highly sought after, having enough space for a yard is far from guaranteed. Even with plenty of suburbs and fast-growing cities to choose from, New Yorkers looking for some kind of green sanctuary should…

Choosing the Right Plot of Land for Your New York or New Jersey Development

By John | April 3, 2023

Thinking about building a residential or commercial property in New York or New Jersey? If so, we have some great news! As a full-service team specializing in high-end properties, we’re well-versed in managing multiple aspects of your build at once. From assisting you with land purchasing to the final delivery of your project, we’re a…

How to Maintain a Great Relationship With Your Construction Team

By John | March 27, 2023

Even though building or remodeling a property can be exciting, it can also be stressful if you don’t take the right approach. Especially if the structure you’re developing also needs to serve as your home, getting your build right is essential. This is why maintaining a good relationship with your construction team is so important.…

4 Ways to Maintain Control Over Your Construction Budget

By John | March 20, 2023

Even though every NY or NJ construction project we work on is different, one common concern our clients have relates to budget overruns and final costs. Whether we’re working on a luxury newbuild or a redevelopment project, we understand the importance of keeping your project within the boundaries you’re comfortable with. That said, as your…

The Advantages of Choosing a Local Construction Firm for Your Building Project

By John | March 13, 2023

Finding the right construction company for your build or remodel can take quite a lot of research. From aligning schedules to ensuring they’re on the same page about your design needs, there’s a lot to consider. The good news is that there are ways to narrow down your search from the start. It’s often just…

4 Areas of Construction & Development That Are Often Overlooked

By John | March 6, 2023

With the right approach, building or remodeling a property can be exciting. From choosing the right plot of land to finalizing the smaller details, your construction project can feel like the start of a new chapter. But how can you ensure your construction remains as stress-free as possible and doesn’t keep hitting roadblocks along the…

The Benefits of Hiring a Full-Service Construction Firm

By John | February 22, 2023

Selecting the right construction company for your project can be daunting. From researching their credentials to ensuring their previous work aligns with your vision, your choice of firm can make or break a project. The good news? There are more than a few ways to ensure your construction project runs as smoothly as possible —…