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Home > City Departments > Permit and Inspection Services > Inspections > District Inspections > Building Permits

Building Permits

A BUILDING PERMIT IS NOT REQUIRED FOR 
Construction or installation of one story detached structures associated with one-or two-family dwellings or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) which are used for tool and storage sheds, playhouses or similar uses, provided the gross floor area does not exceed 144 square feet (13.88m2);
Installation of swings and other playground equipment associated with a one- or two-family dwelling or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses);
Installation of swimming pools associated with a one- or two-family dwelling or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) where such pools are designed for a water depth of less than 24 inches and are installed entirely above ground;
Installation of fences which are not part of an enclosure surrounding a swimming pool;
Construction of retaining walls unless such walls support a surcharge or impound Class I, II or IIIA liquids; 
Construction of temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery;
Installation of window awnings supported by an exterior wall of a one- or two-family dwelling or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses);
Installation of partitions or movable cases less than 5'-9" in height; (ix) painting, wallpapering, tiling, carpeting, or other similar finish work;
Installation of listed portable electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation or cooling equipment or appliances;
Replacement of any equipment provided the replacement does not alter the equipment’s listing or render it inconsistent with the equipment’s original specifications;
Repairs, provided that such repairs do not involve: The removal or cutting away of a load bearing wall, partition, or portion thereof, or of any structural beam or load bearing component;                                                                                                                                      
The removal or change of any required means of egress or the rearrangement of parts of a structure in a manner which affects egress;
The enlargement, alteration, replacement or relocation of any building system;
The removal from service of all or part of a fire protection system for any period of time.

THE BUILDING PERMIT PART 1203 – NEW YORK STATE CODE

(a) Building permits.
(1) Building permits shall be required for work which must conform to the Uniform Code. A government or agency charged with or accountable for administration and enforcement of the Uniform
Code may exempt from the requirement for a permit the categories of work listed in subparagraphs (i) through (xii) of this paragraph. An exemption from the requirement to obtain a permit shall not be deemed an authorization for work to be performed in violation of the Uniform Code. The following categories of work may be excluded from the requirement for a building permit:
(i) construction or installation of one story detached structures associated with one- or two family dwellings or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) which are used for tool and storage sheds, playhouses or similar uses, provided the gross floor area does not exceed 144 square feet (13.88m2);
(ii) installation of swings and other playground equipment associated with a one- or two-family dwelling or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses);
(iii) installation of swimming pools associated with a one- or two-family dwelling or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) where such pools are designed for a water depth of less than 24 inches and are installed entirely above ground;
(iv) installation of fences which are not part of an enclosure surrounding a swimming pool;
(v) construction of retaining walls unless such walls support a surcharge or impound Class I, II or IIIA liquids;
(vi) construction of temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery;
(vii) installation of window awnings supported by an exterior wall of a one- or two-family
dwelling or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses);
(viii) installation of partitions or movable cases less than 5'-9" in height;
(ix) painting, wallpapering, tiling, carpeting, or other similar finish work;
(x) installation of listed portable electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation or cooling equipment or appliances;
(xi) replacement of any equipment provided the replacement does not alter the equipment’s listing or render it inconsistent with the equipment’s original specifications;
(xii) repairs, provided that such repairs do not involve:
(a) the removal or cutting away of a load bearing wall, partition, or portion thereof, or of
any structural beam or load bearing component;
(b) the removal or change of any required means of egress, or the rearrangement of parts of a structure in a manner which affects egress;
(c) the enlargement, alteration, replacement or relocation of any building system;
(d) the removal from service of all or part of a fire protection system for any period of time.
(2) An application for a building permit shall request sufficient information to permit a
determination that the intended work accords with the requirements of the Uniform Code and shall require submission of the following information and documentation:
(i) a description of the proposed work;
(ii) the tax map number and the street address;
(iii) the occupancy classification of any affected building or structure;
(iv) where applicable, a statement of special inspections prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Code; and
(v) at least 2 sets of construction documents (drawings and/or specifications) that define the scope of the proposed work.
(3) Construction documents shall not be accepted as part of an application for a building permit unless such documents:
(i) are prepared by a New York State registered architect or licensed professional engineer where so required by the Education Law;
(ii) indicate with sufficient clarity and detail the nature and extent of the work proposed;
(iii) substantiate that the proposed work will comply with the Uniform Code and the State

Energy Conservation Construction Code.
(iv) where applicable, include a site plan that shows any existing and proposed structures on the site, the location of any existing or proposed well or septic system, the location of the intended work, and the distances between the structures and the lot lines.

(4) Applications for a building permit or for an amendment thereto shall be examined to ascertain whether the proposed construction is in substantial conformance with the requirements of the Uniform Code. Provisions shall be made for construction documents accepted as part of a permit application
to be so marked in writing or by stamp. One set of accepted construction documents shall be retained by the government or agency charged with or accountable for administration and enforcement of the
code. One set shall be returned to the applicant to be kept at the work site so as to be available for use by the code enforcement official.

(5) A building permit shall contain a statement directing that all work shall be performed in accordance with the construction documents submitted and accepted as part of the application. In addition, a permit shall include the directive that the government or agency responsible for enforcement of the code shall be notified immediately in the event of changes occurring during construction.

(6) Building permits shall be issued with a specific expiration date. A local government or agency responsible for enforcement of the Uniform Code may provide that a permit shall become invalid unless the work authorized is commenced within a specified period following issuance.

(7) When a building permit has been issued in error because of incorrect, inaccurate or
incomplete information, or the work for which the permit was issued violates the Uniform Code, such permit shall be revoked or suspended until such time as the permit holder demonstrates that all work completed and all work proposed shall be in compliance with applicable provisions of the code.

(8) Building permits shall be required to be visibly displayed at the work site and to remain visible until the project has been completed. A building permit shall contain a statement directing that all work shall be performed in accordance with the construction documents submitted and accepted as part of the application. In addition, a permit shall include the directive that the government or agency responsible for enforcement of the code shall be notified immediately in the event of changes occurring during construction.
 
BUILDING PERMIT EXPIRATION DATE

Once issued a building permits shall expire in one year and shall become invalid unless the work authorized is commenced within six months.
 
REVOKED OR SUSPENDED BUILDING PERMIT

When a building permit has been issued in error because of incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete information, or the work for which the permit was issued violates the Uniform Code, such permit shall be revoked or suspended until such time as the permit holder demonstrates that all work completed and all work proposed shall be in compliance with applicable provisions of the code.

DISPLAY OF BUILDING PERMIT

Building permits shall be visibly displayed at the work site and to remain visible until the project has been completed.

CONSTRUCTION INSPECTIONS AND BUILDING PERMITS

Permitted work shall be required to remain accessible and exposed until inspected and accepted by the City of Buffalo responsible for enforcing the Uniform Code. Permit holders shall be required to notify City of Buffalo Code Enforcement when construction work is ready for inspection.
 
Provisions shall be made for inspection of the following elements of the construction process, where applicable:
Work site prior to the issuance of a permit;
Footing and foundation;

Preparation for concrete slab;
Framing;

Building systems, including underground and rough-in;

Fire resistant construction;
Fire resistant penetrations;

Solid fuel burning heating appliances, chimneys, flues or gas vents;

Energy code compliance; and

FINAL INSPECTION

A final inspection after all work authorized by the building permit has been completed.
 After inspection, the work or a portion thereof shall be noted as satisfactory as completed, or the permit holder shall be notified as to where the work fails to comply with the Uniform Code. Construction work not in compliance with code provisions shall be required to remain exposed until it has been brought into compliance with the code, been re-inspected, and been found satisfactory as completed.

STOP WORK ORDERS

Stop work orders shall be used to halt work that is determined to be contrary to provisions of the Uniform Code, or is being conducted in a dangerous or unsafe manner, or is being performed without obtaining a required permit. A stop work order shall state the reason for its issuance and the conditions which must be satisfied before work will be permitted to resume.
 
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY AND/OR COMPLIANCE

 A certificate of occupancy or a certificate of compliance shall be required for any work which is the subject of a building permit and for all structures, buildings, or portions thereof, which are converted from one use or occupancy classification or sub classification to another. Permission to use or occupy a building or structure, or portion thereof, for which a building permit was previously issued shall be granted only by issuance of a certificate of occupancy or a certificate of compliance.
 
Issuance of a certificate of occupancy or a certificate of compliance shall be preceded by an inspection of the building, structure or work. Where applicable, a written statement of structural observations and/or a final report of special inspections, prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Code, must be received prior to the issuance of the certificate. Also, where applicable, flood hazard certifications, prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Code must be received prior to the issuance of the certificate. A certificate of occupancy or certificate of compliance shall contain the following information:
The building permit number, if any;
The date of issuance of the permit, if any;

The name, address and tax map number of the property;

If the certificate is not applicable to an entire structure, a description of that portion of the structure for which the certificate is issued;

The use and occupancy classification of the structure;

The type of construction of the structure;

The assembly occupant load of the structure, if any;

If an automatic sprinkler system is provided, a notation as to whether the sprinkler system is required;
Any special conditions imposed in connection with the issuance of the building permit; and

The signature of the official issuing the certificate and the date of issuance.

TEMPORARY OCCUPANCY

A certificate allowing temporary occupancy of a structure may not be issued prior to the completion of the work which is the subject of a building permit unless the structure or portions thereof may be occupied safely, any fire- and smoke-detecting or fire protection equipment which has been installed is operational, and all required means of egress from the structure have been provided. The effectiveness of a temporary certificate shall be limited to a specified period of time during which the permit holder shall undertake to bring the structure into full compliance with applicable provisions of the Uniform Code.
 
A certificate of occupancy or certificate of compliance issued in error or on the basis of incorrect information shall be suspended or revoked if the relevant deficiencies are not corrected within a specified period of time.

FIRE SAFETY AND PROPERTY MAINTENANCE INSPECTIONS

Fire safety and property maintenance inspections of buildings which contain an area of public assembly at intervals not to exceed one year;
 
Fire safety and property maintenance inspections of all multiple dwellings and all nonresidential occupancies at intervals consistent with local conditions, but in no event shall such intervals exceed one year for dormitory buildings and three years for all other buildings.

COMPLAINTS

Procedure for complaints have been established for addressing bona fide complaints which assert that conditions or activities fail to comply with the Uniform Code or with local laws, ordinances or regulations adopted for administration and enforcement of the Uniform Code. The process for responding to such complaints shall include, when appropriate, provisions for inspection of the conditions and/or activities alleged to be in violation of the code or the laws and/or regulations adopted for administration and enforcement of the code.
 
RECORD KEEPING

Record keeping.  A system of records of the features and activities, fees charged and collected, if any, have been established and maintained.

PROGRAM REVIEW AND REPORTING

(a) Every city, village, town, and county, charged under subdivision 2 of section
(b) 381 of the Executive Law with administration and enforcement of the Uniform Code shall annually submit to the Secretary of State, on a form prescribed by the Secretary, a report of its activities relative to administration and enforcement of the Uniform Code.

(c) Upon request of the Department of State, every municipality or other agency shall provide from the records and related materials it is required to maintain excerpts, summaries, tabulations, statistics and other information and accounts of its activities in connection with administration and enforcement of the Uniform Code.

(d)  Failure to produce the requested materials shall permit an inference that the minimum standards of this Part have not been met.


PROCEDURES REGARDING UNSAFE STRUCTURES AND EQUIPMENT

When it shall be determined by the Commissioner that a building or structure or any part or parts therefore not in compliance or conformity with the provisions of § 113-5 of this chapter, he shall immediately serve notice upon the owner and all other persons having an interest in such property or structure as hereinafter provided.
It shall be the duty of the Commissioner to attach to any building within the City, which shall be reported to him after inspection by one of the inspectors to be unsafe, a notice that the same is dangerous; and no person shall deface or remove any such notice. If any such building shall be used for any purpose requiring a license therefore, the City may, upon neglect on the part of the owner or lessee, after five days' notice from the Commissioner to repair such building, revoke said license, and the Commissioner may cause such building to be repaired and put in safe condition; and the expense therefore shall be assessed upon the premises upon which the building stands.
Every building which shall appear to the Commissioner to be dangerous in case of fire, by reason of bad condition of walls, overloaded floors, defective construction or other causes, shall be held to be unsafe; and the Commissioner shall immediately notify the owner to make the same safe and secure or to take the same down. He shall also affix to a conspicuous place on the exterior wall of such building a notice of the dangerous character of the structure, and said building shall not thereafter be used until the same is made safe and secure.
The Commissioner or his designee shall cause an inspection of any premises alleged to be in violation of § 113-5 to be made, and he shall thereafter prepare and file in this office a report of said inspection.
The owner of any building or structure or any part or parts thereof which become or are abandoned, dilapidated, deteriorated, decayed or unattractive from any cause so as to endanger the health, safety or welfare of the public shall repair, demolish or remove the same.

PRESERVATION STANDARDS

It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that preservation, protection, conservation, enhancement, perpetuation and utilization of sites, buildings, improvements and districts of special character, historical or aesthetic interest or value are necessary and required in the interest of the health, education, culture, prosperity, safety and high quality of life of the people.
The purpose of this Preservation Code is to:
(1)  Promote the intellectual, cultural and general welfare as well as the economic well-being of the people of the City.
(2)  Safeguard the City's history and heritage as embodied and reflected in its landmarks, landmark sites and historic districts.
(3)  Preserve, protect, perpetuate and utilize landmarks, landmark sites, historic districts, neighborhoods, areas, places, buildings, structures and improvements which have a distinctive character or are of historic, aesthetic, architectural, archeological or cultural interest or value to this City, state or nation.
(4)  Stabilize and improve property values in the City.
(5)  Avoid demolition of historically or architecturally important properties.
(6)  Enhance the visual and aesthetic character, diversity and distinctiveness of the City.
(7)  Enhance the City's attraction for residents, visitors, tourists and prospective residents.
(8)  Preserve the economic and architectural integrity of vacant or underutilized landmark properties by means of substantial rehabilitation and adaptive reuse.
[Added 7-31-1990, effective 8-16-1990


INSPECTION ENFORCEMENT

Every property owner shall pay a fee of $75, to be assessed against the property, for each inspection after the second inspection in which violations of a state or local building code are found, unless such fee is waived by the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication. Inspectors shall assess the fee, after consultation with the Chief Building Inspector or the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services, when, in the evaluation of the inspector, the status of the violation has not progressed or been satisfactorily completed. The fee shall not be applicable to inspections ordered after the commencement of a court action.
B.  Each request for a waiver must be in writing to the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication, setting forth in detail the circumstances justifying the waiver, and shall be limited to one inspection. The waiver request must include the name of the property owner; the address of the property assessed the fee and the address of the owner of the property, if different from the subject property. Nothing in this section shall limit the number of waivers a property owner may request; however, each request must be submitted separately to the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication. The Bureau of Administrative Adjudication may grant a waiver when extraordinary circumstances have been shown to exist. Those circumstances include but are not limited to the
weather, financial hardship, family situations and illness. Each waiver granted by the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication shall be in writing and shall set forth the rationale behind granting the waiver.

GENERAL PENALTY

[Amended 5-28-1992, effective 7-1-1992]
Every violation of any of the Code of the City of Buffalo shall bepunishable by a fine or penalty of not more than $1,500 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, for each offense, in every case wherein no punishment or fine for a violation thereof is provided. Each day that a violation continues shall be deemed a separate violation. In addition to the aforesaid fines and penalties, a licensee who violates any provision of the Code shall be subject to a suspension or revocation of his license. Any payment returned by the Director of Treasury for insufficient funds will be subject to an additional charge as outlined in Chapter 175, Fees.