Quick answer: It depends1.


Is a construction superintendent needed on a single family brownstone where a floor is being added?

Per 2014 NYC Building Code & Local Law 81, a Construction Superintendent is required for a vertical enlargement to an existing building. There is an exception - if you are constructing a new 1/2/3 family house.


Under Local Law 49, select areas in Brooklyn can create lawful cellar apartments. Does Queens NY have a similar program or eligibility?

As Local Law 49 of 2019 is a pilot program to facilitate the creation and alteration of habitable apartments in basements and cellars of certain one- and two-family dwellings in Community Board 5 (East New York and Cypress Hills) in Brooklyn, it does not yet apply to Queens. Cellar apartments are not currently permitted in one- and two-family dwellings, and Basement apartments are only permitted if they meet stringent criteria.


My neighbor has a backyard, but continues to grill on the sidewalk near my window. My asthma is exasperated whenever this grilling activity is near as the smoke gets into my home. Is there anything in the code to stop this neglect against air quality and health?

Yes. Interestingly, this isn’t so much an air quality issue as a fire code issue – portable outdoor grills, whether charcoal, electric, or gas-fueled, fall under jurisdiction of the NYC Fire Code. According to Section 307.5, if the neighbor in question is grilling less than 10 feet from buildings, walls, furniture, or anything other combustible material, this would be grounds for a violation.


If a Technical Report is signed by one Professional Engineer (P.E.) can a different P.E. sign off on the inspection without having to undo the first one?

When an engineer submits a Technical Report identifying for the responsibility of performing a Special and/or Progress Inspection, that engineer will need to submit a separate Technical Report (upon completion of his or her inspections) certifying that the inspection has been completed. 


I have a 2-family house in Brooklyn built in 1900. Is it required to have a sprinkler system?

Depending upon the residence’s design and the access it provides for firefighting operations, sprinklers and other Fire Department approval may be required. In this specific instance, according to NYC 2014 Building Code Section BC 903, sprinklers are not required in detached one and two-family dwellings 3 stories or less in height (903.2.8 Group R Exception).


Can I provide one accessible unisex restroom instead of providing accessible features in both the men’s and women’s restrooms?

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) permits the installation of a single unisex toilet room in lieu of separate facilities, the 2014 NYC Building Code and Plumbing Code are more stringent. Section 403.2 of the plumbing code requires separate facilities for each sex when the occupant load exceeds 30.


I am renovating a Condo and the owners are not disabled, do I have to comply with accessibility requirements?

In most cases the simple answer is yes, you do have to comply with the accessibility requirements of the NYC Building Code. Exception 5 of Section 28-101.4.3 of The administrative code requires all building undergoing alterations to comply with Chapter 11 of the building code for accessibility.


We are installing a new restaurant on the ground floor of an existing building. Which code should our plans follow?

For alterations of existing buildings, the building owner has the option to use the 1968 building code or earlier depending on the original construction date of the building. There are exceptions to this for certain worktypes and trades. Typically all Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire Protection, Structural, and Accessibility related work will need to comply with the 2014 while general construction and architectural work may utilize the older code as applicable.


The 1968 Building Code requires us to calculate the occupant load of a restaurant at 12 square feet per person but the 2014 code only requires 15 square feet per person. Can we use the 2014 code for this reason in an existing building?

When an applicant requests review under the 2014 NYC Building Code they are essentially stating that the entire building complies with all sections of that code. Any conditions that were designed in accordance with the 1968 Building Code, or earlier, must be updated to the new code.


Do I need an amended Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to install a bank in an existing space that is designated as retail?

Building’s Bulletin 25 of 2009 (BB 2009-025) allows changes between occupancy group M (Mercantile or Retail) and group B (businesses) without the need to obtain a new C of O when certain conditions are met. The conditions are as follows


Our tenant is concerned about the safety of their employees and wants to install a keyfob on their entrance door. Is this permitted?

Both the 1968 and 2014 Building Code address access control devices on required egress doors. Both codes are similar in that they may require commissioner approval for such a device and have a list of additional safeguard that must be met including but not limited to: