Things to Know Before Renovating Your New York Space

1. Decide on what kind of renovation you need and want

The first step before beginning any work is to identify what you need and want for your home. Is it an interior styling and cosmetic renovation? A single room or partial renovation? Or is it heavy construction like gut renovation? Knowing what you want will help you set your goals and prepare your budget during the process of renovation.

2. Hire the right professionals

Before one can move forward with planning, it is important to understand the role of your construction professionals. Hiring the right ones will help you with the next steps by guiding you with the process of planning and estimates. Consulting a professional will help set your expectations and iron out anything unclear about the project from start to finish.

3. Get a copy of your building’s rules and regulations before and during construction

If you live in an apartment/co-op building, get a copy of your building management’s Alteration Agreement. This is a set of rules which is devised to regulate renovations within the building. It outlines the responsibilities of you as the owner and proponent of the construction.
Most notable example of these regulations are the addition of central air conditioning. Most older buildings have limitations that are not equipped to handle heavier electrical needs. Another one is the “wet-over-dry” rule which prohibits renovations from adding new bathrooms and extending wet areas that may disrupt plumbing and cause noise to adjacent units. The third example is the project timeline. Building management is particular with this because they may want to regulate working hours to control loud work and avoid complaints from other tenants.
You may need to meet with the building management and/or its board members to discuss the terms of the renovation. Expect that approvals may take about a month or more depending on the extent of work to be done and if there are revisions on the end of the property manager.

4. City Approval and Permits

There are two categories that require approval from the Department of Buildings.
Type I – Your property will undergo a change in occupancy type, such as from commercial to residential and vice versa, and combining apartments. The addition of areas and spaces is under this category, as well.

Type II – Your property, regardless of a change in occupancy, will renovate plumbing lines, electrical wirings, and re-routing of gas pipes, if any.
Most likely, minimal alterations to buildings, such as, cosmetic remodeling and renovation will not require a DOB permit. This is on top of the documents needed to be submitted to the management of your condominium, co-op, or apartment. Cosmetic renovations are particularly surface construction which includes painting, wallpapering, and retiling or resurfacing of your floors.

A DOB permit is also not required for the installation of replacement plumbing and lighting fixtures, as long as they are kept in the same location as the original. A special permit called an LAA or Limited Alteration Application, however, may be required for cases of plumbing, electrical, and fire suppression system replacement and repairs.

After application and commencement of work, the DOB conducts inspections to make sure that the work done is according to the plans that were filed for a permit. A sign-off by the DOB will be produced to accept that all work is compliant. Upon completion of work, the DOB will officially close the work permit.

It is important that you have the DOB close your work permit. If not, it may inhibit you to file for future construction, which is a tedious process and step.

CooperBuild is an experienced NYC general contractor that specializes in bespoke, luxury renovations and construction. Contact us here or visit our socials @Cooperbuild in Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn for more information.

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