NYC Construction Rules & Regulations
Construction operations are seeing an upward trend in Manhattan with a $1 billion increase since 2020, according to a report from New York Building Congress. With construction spending currently valued at $27.5 billion, commercial, residential, and infrastructure projects are abounding across the city.
That said, construction rules and regulations are particularly extensive in New York. To usher a project across the finish line on time and under budget, construction companies must swim through a veritable sea of red tape. And in the case of residential projects, new codes are requiring practices that uphold residential rights.
In this guide, we’ll discuss standard, residential, and sustainable construction standards and regulations as stipulated by the city of New York.
Standard NYC Construction Regulations
The City of New York requires compliance with numerous construction standards and codes. We’ll explore three below, touching on worker safety, building construction, and noise regulations.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets strict health and safety standards for New York construction workers. Because it’s an inherently dangerous industry, OSHA Standard 1910;1926 were designed to apply specifically to any worker performing construction, alteration, and/or repair.
Primary sub-topics include:
Crane safety regulations
Fall protection requirements
Fire prevention measures
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Safety training and education
Scaffolding safety requirements
New York’s Construction Codes contain five subsections of codes. Briefly, this includes:
General Administrative Provisions – This covers the overarching administration and enforcement standards for construction, which includes maintenance of buildings, permits and licensing, and various other miscellaneous provisions. You can use New York City’s Step by Step tool to identify which permits, licenses, and regulations apply to your business.
Plumbing Codes – The New York city plumbing codes are based on the 2003 edition of the International Plumbing Code and were updated in 2009. The plumbing codes include general regulations on anything from water heaters to sanitary drainage, vents, storm drainage, and so on. For example, all plumbing fixtures that interact with discharge liquid waste must be connected to the sanitary drainage system.
Mechanical Codes – The New York City mechanical codes cover a variety of topics including ventilation, duct systems, chimneys and vents, refrigeration, boilers, water heaters, and pressure vessels. More specifically, all mechanical systems must be energy-efficient, labeled, and rodent-proofed (in commercial and residential buildings).
Fuel Gas Codes – The Fuel Gas Codes pertain to the maintenance, construction, and alteration, and repair of gas appliances, piping systems, and related accessories. Similar to mechanical codes, fuel gas codes require that systems are energy-efficient and labeled. Additionally, fuel equipment and appliances cannot be located in an elevator shaft.
Construction Noise Rules
Construction projects in New York operate within tight confines. With residents living in close proximity, there are strict noise restrictions that dictate when a project can operate and how loud it can be.
According to NYC Environmental Protection Agency:
You can perform construction between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays
Any other times (including weekends) must be permitted
You must develop a Construction Noise Mitigation plan
That plan must be filed and copies kept onsite
Updated NYC Construction Codes
In 2021, NYC pushed an overhaul of its building codes, which included more than 600 updates. It governs the construction of new and existing buildings and sets a framework for how buildings are to be designed and then maintained.
More specifically, these codes aim to increase accessibility, improve emergency preparedness, protect public safety, and prioritize sustainable construction.
The revisions also include additional protections for tenants and sustainability measures.
Construction and Resident Rights Codes
The updated construction codes prioritize tenant, pedestrian, and homeowner rights. More specifically, the revisions permit:
7-foot basement height requirements for single-family and two-family homes
Netting, low barriers, and chain link fencing in replacement of solid fencing to improve pedestrian visibility
Special inspections on ongoing construction and parking garages to maintain tenant safety
For residents looking for more information on resident rights and construction protocol, the city of New York provides tenants with numerous resources when construction is happening in their building. These include:
Sustainable Building Codes
The new updates also expand the types of construction materials that can be used throughout the city. This includes renewable materials like cross-laminated timber, which has a smaller carbon footprint than steel and concrete.
MFS Construction—NYC Compliance Experts
During a construction project, companies must comply with hundreds of rules and regulations throughout the building process. Additionally, it’s critical that New York residents understand their rights when building construction begins in or around their residence.
To ensure compliance, it’s effective to partner with experts in NYC construction rules and regulations, like MFS Construction.
At MFS Construction, our team has successfully managed dozens of New York-based cross-disciplinary projects—ranging from real estate development to public infrastructure works—that combine engineering, surveying, and construction services.
We provide regulatory expertise and innovative solutions for any challenge.
If you want to learn more about our services, contact us today!