Looking for something?

Skip the Headaches


back to top

Architect of Record

MK Architecture, PC can serve as Architect of Record in many situations.  MKA must be retained by the property owner or primary tenant (not the designer or contractor).  MKA will only sign and seal drawings we have prepared in-house ( we can use your AutoCAD® files as base drawings).


An asbestos investigation is required for any work in any building constructed prior to 4/1/87.  The owner must retain a licensed asbestos investigator to determine whether any ACM (asbestos containing material) will be disturbed as a result of the renovation.  The investigator will prepare a form ACP-5 (for little or no asbestos) or ACP-7 which MK Architecture, PC will submit to the DOB with the application.

For renovations that need an ACP-7, abatement and additional reports will be needed. Buildings that have had an asbestos abatement still require an ACP-5 report.  For work in buildings constructed after 1987, an investigation is not required.

Combining Apartments

See Combining Apartments in the Certificate of Occupancy section below.

DOB Applications & Permit Process

  1. An application is submitted (the applicant is an architect or engineer) and the DOB approves the proposed work.
  2. A permit is issued to do the physical work that was approved in Step 1 (the permit applicant is a contractor).
  3. The Work is inspected and, if it matches what was approved in step one, the project is signed off. If a new Certificate of Occupancy is required, it is issued as part of this step.

Electrical Work

The Department of Buildings does not review electrical drawings.  However, prior to starting electrical work, a licensed electrical contractor must submit an application for a Certificate of Electrical Inspection to the Bureau of Electrical Control (BEC).

Energy Conservation Code

Please note that all new applications must demonstrate compliance with the latest Energy Conservation Code.  Please see our “Laws” and “Links” Sections for more information.

Expiration of DOB Applications

DOB Applications generally expire if there is no action for 12 months.  Approved applications can be reinstated up to 24 months from date of approval for an additional year.  Permitted applications can be re-instated up to 24 months after the permit has expired. After 24 months the job will have to be re-filed under current code laws.


Filing Fees – DOB fees are typically 1-2% of construction costs, as well as a $165 record management fees. If the project is in a landmarked building, Landmarks will add additional fees prior to permit. Landmarks fees are $95 for the first $25,000. Then $5 for each additional $1,000 of cost.

Permit Renewals, Re-instatements and Post Approval Amendments incur $100 DOB Fees.

CCD-1 and ZRD-1 incur a $1,000.00 DOB Fee

How long will it take to get a DOB Permit?

Once it’s filed, the DOB usually takes about 3-4 weeks to review an Alteration Type 2 Application.  They usually take about 4-8 weeks to review an Alteration Type 1 Application.  After they have reviewed the application we must meet with the examiner to resolve the objections.  The biggest factor at this stage is the availability of the Plan examiner. Once the job is approved, it takes a day or two to issue the permit if the contractor’s tracking number is in order.


Directive 3 of 1975 provides for DOB inspections of construction sites.

Directive 14 of 1975 for the architect/engineer to perform the final inspection.

Phasing The Work

In theory it is possible to save filing expenses by filing one application for multiple phases of work stretched over an extended period of time; as long as the permit stays current.

Plumbing rough inspections must be performed before the walls are closed.  The plumber who signs off the plumbing at the end of the job must sign off all the phases even if the work was performed by another plumber.  Plumbers are extremely reluctant to sign-off someone else’s work.  For these reasons, only one of the phases should include plumbing work.

DOB permits can be renewed indefinitely for a minimal fee but contractors are sometimes reluctant to take out permits on inactive jobs.

As long as the project is open, it is subject to DOB inspections and a copy of the current permit and approved plans must be available on site for review by an inspector.

For these reasons, we recommend filing a separate application for each phase of work whenever possible.


Directive 14 of 1975 – provides for the architect/engineer to perform the final inspection.  The DOB occasionally audits these inspections.  The alternative to final inspection by the applicant is having the DOB perform the final inspection under Directive 3 of 1975.

Professional Certification – allows the architect/engineer to certify that the application fully complies with all laws and codes.  These applications are approved very quickly (one or two days) because they are not reviewed by a plan examiner.  The DOB routinely audits these applications and will revoke the permits if they discover problems. 

Plumbing Self-Cert Inspection – allows plumbers to inspect their own work.

Tenant Protection Plan

Required whenever an occupied building is being renovated.  Can be filed as part of the alteration application or under a separate application.

TR-1 Forms and Who Signs When?

Design Applicant is the architect or engineer who signs the plans.

Inspection Applicant is the architect or engineer who inspects the work.  There can be multiple inspection applicants. Inspection Applicants must be certified by the DOB.

The TR-1 form is usually submitted to the DOB three times:

  1. Identification of inspections (submitted for pre-filing) is signed by Design Applicant. (Line items are not initialed at this stage)
  2. Identification of responsibilities (submitted for permit). Inspection Applicant initials items he/she is going to inspect and signs..  Design Applicant signs. Owner signs
  3. Completion (submitted for sign-off). Inspection Applicant initials items he/she inspected and signs.

Owner’s Signatures

A condo/coop unit owner or a lessee can sign DOB forms as “owner” under TPPN 17/87, DOB Memo dated 5/8/84 and the  Building Code Section 28-104.8.

PW1-Form – A condo/coop unit owner can sign section26 if an officer of the condo/coop board signs section 26A.  A lessee can sign Section 26 if the owner signs Section 26A, (or if the application includes “a signed notarized statement by the applicant that the owner has authorized the filing of the application”).  If the owner is a corporation, two officers must sign Section 26A & 26B (except that for condos and coops the unit owner may sign Section 26 in lieu of one of the officers).

TR-1 Forms – Whoever signs as owner in Section 26 or 26A of the PW-1 form can sign TR-1 forms.  The preferred signer is the condo/coop unit owner or lessee.

PW-3 Forms – Whoever signs as owner in Section 26 or 26Aof the PW-1 form can sign PW-3 forms.  The preferred signer is the condo/coop unit owner or lessee.


For Alteration Type 2, Directive 14 applications – the architect or engineer inspects the finished construction.  The plumber and electrician sign-off their own work.  The DOB issues a Letter of Completion

back to top


Basements and Cellars

In general, a basement is a story which is partly below curb level but with at least half of its space (measured from floor to ceiling) above curb level, and a cellar is a story with more than half its space below curb level.

Certificates of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy establishes the legal use and occupancy of a space.  It generally lists the live loads of each floor, the Zoning Use Group, the Building Code Occupancy Group, and the maximum number of people that may safely occupy the facility.

Combining Apartments

Prior to 1997 combining apartments required filing an Alteration type 1 and amending the CO.  TPPN #3/97  made it possible to combine apartments under an Alteration Type 2 in most situations.

Combining Condominium units also requires filing a tax lot combination at the Department of Finance.  The DOB requires a tentative tax lot combination at DOF before they will approve the project.  Once the combination is complete and signed off at DOB, the condo’s attorney must amend the condo declaration with the state Attorney General and obtain a CRFN number as proof of filing with the City Registrar.  MKA will then submit the CRFN to DOF and finalize the tax lot combination.

Counting Stories

All DOB applications must refer to the floor number as listed on the Certificate of Occupancy which counts all floors and often doesn’t match the way the occupants refer to the floors.

For example, in a building with a basement and no 13th floor: Apt. 1A is in the Basement, Apt. 2A is on the 1st floor, Apt. 12A is on the 11th floor, Apt. 14A is on the 12th floor, etc.  Some recent buildings skip even more floors for marketing purposes.  To confuse things further, mezzanines are not counted as stories.

Exempt Buildings

New buildings were not required to have Certificates of Occupancy prior to 1938 when the Building Code came into effect.  Many of these buildings still don’t have Certificates of Occupancy.  They are only required to get Certificates of Occupancy if the make changes to use, occupancy, etc.

Letter of No Objection

The DOB can issue a Letter of No Objection for a building which does not have a Certificate of Occupancy.  This Letter can be used in lieu of a Certificate of Occupancy when applying for Liquor Licenses, etc.  It is a lengthy process to obtain a LNO, and approval is not guaranteed.


Mezzanines are less than one-third of the floor which they serve.  The Building Department does not count them as stories.

Penthouse Additions
For zoning purposes, penthouses are no different than any other level of a building.  For Building Code purposes, penthouses are not considered floors if total area of all roof structures is not more than thirty three and one-third percent of roof area [BC B27-306].  For Multiple Dwelling Law purposes, penthouses additions are not considered additional floors if dwelling area is not more that twenty-five percent of roof area [MDL Section 171].

Room Count

The Zoning Resolution used to limit the number of habitable rooms permitted (this is why developers used to build “L-shaped studios” and “junior one bedrooms” instead of regular one-bedroom apartments).  Older Certificates of Occupancy often list “Building Code Habitable Rooms;” newer Certificates of Occupancy do not.  The DOB policy is that even though room count is no longer regulated, they cannot permit work contrary to the Certificate of occupancy.  So if the Certificate of Occupancy shows a room count, the only way to change the number of rooms is to amend the Certificate of Occupancy.



back to top


Cellar Space

Cellar space cannot be used as habitable (unless this is a proven existing condition).  It can however be used as a “recreation room” for the apartment above, under certain conditions.

Ceiling Height

Habitable rooms and spaces shall have a ceiling height of not less than 8 feet.

Occupied spaces and corridors shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet 6 inches.  Bathrooms, toilet rooms, kitchens in other than I-1 and R occupancies, kitchenettes in I-1 or R occupancies, storage rooms and laundry rooms shall be permitted to have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet.  All measurements shall be taken from the finished floor to the finished underside of the ceiling or ceiling beams. [BC 1208.2]



  1. In one and two-family dwellings, beams or girders spaced not less than 4 feet on center may project not more than 6 inches below the required ceiling height, provided that a clear height of 7 feet is maintained.
  2. Habitable rooms in basements of one-family dwellings, including any projecting beams, shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet.
  3. Habitable rooms in basements of multiple dwellings may have as many as four beams crossing the ceiling if none of the beams exceeds 12 inches in width or extends below the ceiling more than 6 inches.
  4. Spaces above and below a mezzanine, other than habitable spaces, shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet.

Furred ceiling – Any room with a furred ceiling shall be required to have the minimum ceiling height in two-thirds of the area thereof, but in no case shall the height of the furred ceiling be less than 7 feet. [BC 1208.2.1]

Exception:  Minimum ceiling heights of habitable rooms and spaces shall not be less than established in Section 1208.2.

Habitable Space

All rooms and spaces within a dwelling unit in group R or I-1, including bedrooms, living rooms, studies, recreation rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and other similar spaces. [BC 1202.1]

Exception:  The following spaces within a dwelling unit shall not be considered habitable spaces:

  1. A dining space 55 square feet (5.1 m2) or less located off a living room, foyer or kitchen;
  2. A kitchenette
  3. A bathroom or toilet room
  4. A laundry room
  5. A corridor, passageway or private hall; and a foyer used as an entrance hall in a dwelling unit: not exceeding 10 percent of the total floor area of the dwelling unit; or not exceeding 20 percent of the floor area of the dwelling unit where every habitable room is at least 20 percent larger that the required minimum room sizes established by the New York City Housing Maintenance Code.


Kitchen – A kitchen is a room with 80 square feet or more of the floor area which is intended, arranged, designed, or used for cooking or warming of food. [BC 1202.1]

Kitchenette – A kitchenette is a space with less than 80 square feet of floor area which is intended, arranged, designed, or used for cooking or warming of food. [BC 1202.1]

Super Kitchens – A Living Room with a cooking space open to it can be considered a Super Kitchen if:

  1. The dwelling unit has a minimum of one (1) bedroom
  2. The ventilating windows are large enough to ventilate the entire space (minimum of 10% of the space)
  3. The ventilating windows are in direct line with cooking space
  4. The maximum depth of the room (measured from the ventilating windows) is 30 feet

Light and Air

All “habitable rooms” require natural light and air.  The required glazing is 10% of the floor area, and the required ventilation is 5%.

Occupiable Space

A room or enclosed space, other than a habitable space, designed for human occupancy or use in which individuals may remain for a period of time for rest, amusement, treatment, education, dining, shopping, employment, labor or other similar purposes. [BC 1202.1]

Recreation Rooms

Recreation rooms are permitted in the cellar of multiple dwellings when:

  1. Said recreation rooms are being provided in conjunction with the apartments directly above.
  2. Said recreation rooms will be smaller than the apartments that they are accessory to.
  3. Said recreation rooms are connected with apartments directly via communicating stair.
  4. Said recreation rooms are provided with egress via FPSC doors at the lower level directly into the public hall.
  5. Said recreation room will not be used as “living rooms” or for sleeping purposes. Plan shall include this note.
  6. Said recreation rooms will not be rented independently.
  7. Said recreation rooms can be provided with a minimum sized powder room barely large enough to accommodate a water closet and lavatories.
  8. The recreation room has no window to the outside
  9. The distance between the communicating stair and the entrance door to the apartment will not be more than 20 feet.

Room Area

Habitable rooms and spaces – Every habitable room or space shall have not less than 80 square feet in net floor area. [BC1208.3.1]


  1. A room that complies with the requirements for natural light and natural ventilation and in addition has an unobstructed opening of not less than
  2. A habitable dining space, as defined by the New York City Housing Maintenance Code, that complies with the requirements for natural light and natural ventilation may have less than 80 square feet of net floor area.
  3. A room in a group R-1 dwelling unit shall have not less than 60 square feet of net floor area.

Room Dimensions

Rooms except kitchens, water closet compartments and bathrooms, shall meet the following minimum requirements as to size according to MDL (Multiple Dwelling Law):

  1. In each apartment in a class A multiple dwelling there shall be at least one living room containing at least one hundred thirty-two square feet of floor area.
  2. Every living room shall contain at least eight square feet of floor space.
  3. Every room shall be at least eight feet high.
  4. Every living room shall be at least eight feet in its least horizontal dimension and except that any number of bedrooms up to one half of the total number in any apartment containing three or more bedrooms may have a least horizontal dimension of seven feet or more.

Room Width

Habitable spaces, other than a kitchen, shall not be less than 8 feet in any plan dimension.  Kitchens and kitchenettes shall have a clear passageway of not less than 3 feet (914 mm) between counter fronts and appliances or counter fronts and walls. [BC 1208.1]


  1. A room that complies with the requirements for natural light and natural ventilation and in addition has an unobstructed opening of not less than 60 square feet into an immediately adjoining room shall not be less than 7 feet in any plan dimension.
  2. A habitable dining space that complies with the requirements for natural light and natural ventilation may be less than 8 feet in any plan dimension.
  3. One-half the number of bedrooms in a dwelling unit containing 3 or more bedrooms shall not be less than 7 feet in any plan dimension.

A room in a group R-1 dwelling or sleeping unit shall not be less than 6 feet in any plan dimension.

back to top



“Adaptable” refers to spaces that can be easily make “useable.”  For example, an adaptable bathroom already has grounds inside the walls so that grab bars can be easily installed in the future.

Bathroom Prototypes

These prototypes were developed by the DOB as an alternative to calculating clearances fixture by fixture.  They can be found in various DOB memos and are collected in “1 RCNY1101-01”


Commercial-: All bathrooms that are renovated require compliance with ADA.

Old Code Residential:  All bathrooms that are renovated require compliance with ‘1RCNY 1101-01’

2014 Code Residential-: (please find under links and laws)

Existing bathrooms-:  Existing configurations can be existing to remain if you are not rearranging them. Plumbing fixtures may be replaced in the existing locations.

Door Sizes

Doors must provide a 32” clear opening.  Typically, this means 2’10” for hinged doors and 2’8” for pocket doors.  In addition, clearances are required to comply with ANSI A117.1.

Handicap Laws

All the applicable handicap  and accessibility laws must be followed.

Rule 1 RCNY 1101-01 states that LL141 of 2013 repealed LL58/87 in regards to adaptability and was replaces by Bc1101.3 which now designates acceptable prototypes. These prototypes lay out strict standards for the provision of access for people with disabilities to functional areas of altered existing buildings built prior to 1991.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) -was enacted as legislation by the Federal government in 1990.  This act is intended to make American society more accessible to people with disabilities.  Title III of that act requires that all new construction and modifications must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.  It later goes on to require that existing facilities must implement a barrier removal program to achieve compliance.

Fair Housing Act -is Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act.  It was enacted by the Federal government in 1968 and prohibits discrimination in housing.

Lever Handles

Lever door handles are required in order to comply with ANSI A117.1.

Residential Renovations

Whenever a residential bathroom (or other space) is renovated it must be made adaptable except in one- and two-family houses or when the work is only to replace fixtures on existing rough-ins with no change to configuration of the bathroom.

Private Residences

The Handicap Laws make no distinction about ownership type.  An apartments in an elevator building must comply with all the provisions of 1 RCNY1101-01 even if it is a Coop or Condominium.

One- and two-family houses are exempt.

Turning Areas

Bathrooms must follow ANSI for turning areas or equivalent if commercial or residential built after 1991.

Kitchens must either provide a 60-inch diameter turning area or an acceptable T-turn.  Kitchenettes, depending on their size, may not be required to provide a turning area.

back to top

Interior Work

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has jurisdiction over all work in Landmarks Buildings and in Historic Districts.

Historic Photos

MK Architecture has copies of historic photos for many buildings on file in our database.

back to top

Building Separation

“Protected openings within an exterior separation of 3 ft. 0 inch or less are permitted for buildings classified in Occupancy Groups 2 and 3 provided, however said openings do not exceed in total area 10% of the façade of the story in which they are located. The openings however, may not be credited towards meeting any of the mandatory natural light or ventilation requirements of Subchapter 12.   Protection of openings with an exterior separation of 3 ft. to 30 ft. shall not be required for J2 and J3 occupancy groups.  See section 27-331 of article four of subchapter five of this chapter for additional requirements for exterior walls and exterior wall openings.  [BC Table 3-4, Note a]

“Upon special application, the commissioner may permit exterior wall openings to be constructed in excess of the permitted area established by table 3-4 if such openings at the time of their construction are located at least sixty feet in a direct line from any neighboring building except as otherwise permitted by footnote f [two buildings on the same lot].  Such additional openings may not, however, be credited toward meeting any of the mandatory natural light or ventilation requirements of subchapter twelve of chapter one of this title. If any neighboring building is later altered or constructed to come within the above distance limitation, the affected exterior openings shall immediately be closed with construction meeting the fire-resistance rating requirements for exterior wall construction of the building in which they are located.”  [BC Table 3-4, Note b]

Lot Line Windows

All lot line windows will be either aluminum or steel with either wired, laminated or tempered glass.

All lot line windows will be protected with at least one sprinkler head per window as specified by BB2015-017

All lot line windows will be operable but shall not count for required room ventilation.

In the event that the adjacent building undergoes construction that would cause any lot line windows to not be in compliance with limitations as per Table 3-4, those windows shall be closed off ( with the same fire resistive rated construction as the lot line wall) by this building’s owner.

Multiple Dwelling Law Restrictions

“All windows and their assemblies in walls situated on a lot line, except those facing on a street, shall be fireproof, with assemblies having a fire-4resistive rating of at least three-quarters of an hour and glazed with wire glass at least one-quarter of an inch thick.  Every opening in a wall situated on a lot line which is less than fifty feet in a vertical direction above a non-fireproof roof of another structure within a distance of thirty feet of the wall in which the opening is located shall be an automatic fireproof window.”  [MDL Sec. 30.10]

back to top


  1. Factory-built barbecue appliances shall be of an approved type and shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions. [MC 906]
  2. Gas-fired barbecues may only be located against an exterior wall. [27-826]
  3. A minimum clearance of 6 feet in all directions shall be provided from each door opening onto a rooftop. [BC 504.4.2]
  4. A minimum clearance of 3 feet in all directions shall be provided from any fire escape or rooftop access ladder. [BC 504.4.3]
  5. Barbecues are not permitted within 10 feet of any combustible waste or combustible material, including combustible building surfaces, balconies and decks. [FC 307.5.1]
  6. Total grate area not to exceed 10 square feet [FC 307.5.2.1]
  7. There must be a garden-type hose attached to a water supply or minimum of one portable fire extinguisher readily available [FC 307.5.1]
  8. Charcoal, electric, and piped natural gas barbecues may be installed, operated and maintained on any residential premises [FC 307.5.1]
  9. Portable LPC (Liquid Propane Gas) containers may only be used at 1- and 2-family residences. Not more than 2 containers may be stored and/or used.  Each container shall have a maximum capacity of 10 pounds LPG, except that on balconies each container shall have a maximum capacity of 16.4 ounces LPG. [FC 307.5.3 ]

Balcony Enclosures

Lightweight, readily-removable balcony enclosures are not considered permanent parts of the building and the enclosed balcony area shall not be counted as floor area for zoning purposed under certain conditions.

Boiler Inspections

Local Law 62 of 1991 requires all buildings (except for residential buildings with six families or less) that have a boiler to file an annual inspection report.

Fire Protection of pre-1973 Office Buildings

Local Law 26/04 requires that office buildings that existed in 1973 provide fire protection by installing sprinkler protection.


  1. The exiting office building is less than one hundred feet in height and is therefore exempt from this law.

Restaurant Kitchens

Restaurants require a 2-hour fire separation between a commercial kitchen and the dining portion of a restaurant.  The Commissioner may grant a reconsideration to allow a dropped arch and sprinkler heads in lieu of the partition.

Roof Decks

  1. Combustible decking may cover up to 20% of the contiguous roof area at that level [27-338(j) & BC 1509.9]
  2. Combustible materials are not permitted within 3 feet of any rear or side property line. [1968 Building Code Table 3-4]
  3. Ipe (an African hardwood) and composite materials such as Trex are combustible materials. Pressure-treated wood and ipe have MEA approval for use as fire-resistant materials in interior applications only.
  4. Examples of non-combustible materials are stone pavers, concrete pavers, ceramic tile and aluminum decking.
  5. A clear path of not less than 6 feet horizontal width and 9 feet in height shall be provided from the front of the building to the rear of the building and from one side of the building to the other… Such clear path shall be accessible from each point of the rooftop access from which clearance is required [FC 504.4.2.1]
  6. Exception multi-family or ½ family building then exhaust can be at least 2 feet from a window in the same dwelling unit, and 4 feet from any window of an adjoining unit. Per 1607.11.7.2- Roofs must have minimum 60psf capacity preferably 100psf

Vents and Exhausts

The New York City Building Code does not permit exhaust ducts to terminate in exterior walls if they are within 10 feet of a residential window. Front of roof must accommodate 6×6 landing pads for fire personnel per FDNY 504.4

back to top

After Hours Permits

An after-hour or weekend variance can be requested from the Department of Buildings when special concerns must be considered.  All variances are reviewed on a case by case basis

Equipment Use Permits

Mechanical equipment used for heating, ventilation, or air-conditioning requires an “Equipment Use Permit” in order to operate units.  Generally units under 3 ton capacity are not required to obtain an EUP but the FDNY has been requiring EUP cards in certain circumstances for units of a variety of sizes.

Place of Assembly Permits

A place of Assembly is one where 75 or more members of the public gather indoors, or 200 people or more gather outdoors for religious, recreational, educational, social or political purposes or to consume food or drink. An example of a Place of Assembly is a restaurant or conference room with more than 75 seats. Must be acquired in conjunction with an Alt.1 DOB Application.

Street and Sidewalk Work

DOB permits generally only cover work within the property line (the exceptions are awnings, marquees, signs, etc.).  The Department of Transportation issues permits for all other permits affecting sidewalks and streets.

back to top


Tenement Laws
1867 – First Tenement House Act
1879 – Second Tenement House Act
1901 – “New Law” Tenement House Act
1929 – Multiple Dwelling Law

One of the reforms of the Progressive Era, the ‘New York State Tenement House Act’ of 1901 was one of the first such laws to ban the construction of dark, poorly ventilated tenement buildings in the state of New York. Among other sanctions, the law required that new buildings must be built with outward-facing windows in every room, an open courtyard, indoor toilets and fire safeguards.

This was not the first time that New York State passed a public law that specifically dealt with housing reform. The First Tenement House Act (1867) required fire escapes and a window for every room, the Second Tenement House Act (1879) required that windows face a source of fresh air and light, not an interior hallway. The failures of the Second Act – the air shafts proved to be unsanitary as they filled with garbage, bilge water and waste — led to the 1901 “New Law” and its required courtyard designed for garbage removal.

Prior to these housing laws, most reform was undertaken by philanthropists and private individuals or organizations. This sequence of laws serves as an example of the Progressive belief that cleaner cities made better citizens. Jacob Riis, in his ground-breaking, muck-raking journalistic expose of 1890, ”How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York” attributes the reform movement to the fear of contagious disease emanating from the slums, especially following an outbreak of smallpox, far more contagious than the cholera and tuberculosis that had long dwelt in the Lower East Side of New York, the hub of immigrant slum life. He views the laws and the progressive reform movement that motivated them as a confluence of the cynically-minded with the civic-minded, eventually working towards the benefit of the burgeoning city’s labor force.[1]

Aesthetically, the New Law coincided with the introduction of Beaux Arts architecture. The curious sandstone faces and gargoyles and filigreed terracotta of the previous twenty years of tenement design gave way to the more abstractly classical ornamentation of this urbane, in

ternational and more grandiose Parisian style. Because the New Law’s required courtyard consumed more space than the 1879 law’s airshaft, New Law tenements tend to be built on multiple lots or on corner lots to conserve space for dwelling units which are the money-makers and purpose of the structure. A typical Lower East Side or “East Village” street will be lined with five-story, austerely unornamented pre-law (pre-1879) and six-story, fancifully decorated old law (-1901) tenements with the much bulkier grand-style New Law tenements on the corners, always at least six stories tall.
[taken from www.tripatlas.com].

back to top

Electrical Violations

Electrical violations can be found on the BEC (Bureau of Electrical Control) website which can be accessed through the DOB Property Profile Overview.

Violation Types

DOB inspectors can issue both DOB violations and ECB (Environmental Control Board) violations.  DOB violations must be cleared at the DOB.  ECB violations require a hearing at the ECB and are subject to ECB fines.  Work-Without-a-Permit violations are also subject to civil penalties when filing to legalize the work.

Violation Codes

B – Boiler

BC – Construction

C – Construction

E – Elevator

EX – Electric Sign

LL10/81 – Elevator Safety Test (Local Law 10 of 1981)

LL10/80 – Façade Inspection (superseded)

LL11/98 – Façade Inspection (Local Law 11 of 1998)

LL16 – Building Registration (Local Law 16 of 1984)

LL62 – Annual boiler inspection report (Local Law 62 of 1991)

UB – Unsafe Building

back to top


The BSA (Board of Standards and Appeals) can grant variances of the Zoning or Building Code under ZR 73-20. The applicant must demonstrate hardship or special circumstances. BSA Special Permits issued under ZR 73-60 can be a much easier way to obtain “variances” on zoning bulk regulations including floor area. Please contact us about your specific situation.

Ready to get started on your next project?

Scroll to Top