Facilities Planning

When is a Building Permit Required?

Reference Guide #B.3

March 9, 1999 (rev. July 2015) (rev. May 2019)

The Office of Facilities Planning reviews plans and specifications and issues building permits for capital construction projects undertaken by public school districts and BOCES.  Frequently, the Office is asked if a particular type of project requires such review, approval, and issuance of a building permit.  This article defines which projects do and which projects do not require a building permit.  There is no question that new buildings, additions, and reconstruction projects require a building permit.  The question usually arises with regard to specific types of work and smaller kinds of facilities.

New York State Department of State Regulations (19 NYCRR Chapter 32 Part 1203.3) which implement the Uniform Code state that "Building permits shall be required for work which must conform to the Uniform Code."  The Building Code of New York State Section 101.2 enumerates the many types of work to which the Code applies. The very broad scope work listed would imply that any capital construction project would require a building permit. However, because certain categories of work may be excluded from the requirement for a building permit as noted in 19 NYCRR Chapter 32 Part 1203.3, this is not the case.  By applying these exceptions and adhering to Building Code Section 101.2 the following list of project types which require building permits is derived.

Where a building permit is required, the usual procedure for a typical capital construction project submission to the Office applies, except where noted otherwise.


  1. New buildings, additions, and reconstruction projects.
  2. Press boxes, concession stands, toilet facilities, permanent greenhouses, storage/utility buildings, dugouts which include a storage room, guard booths, and similar structures.  (NOTE: For storage/utility buildings, dugouts which include a storage room, guard booths, and ticket booths not exceeding a total gross floor area of 200 square feet, a full submission will not be required.  It will only be necessary to follow the procedure which applies when using Form FP-AU Request for Approval of Use of a Facility.)
  3. Bleacher and grandstand projects which involve footings, piers, foundations and/or concrete slabs.  (NOTE: Bleacher or grandstands constructed in conjunction with a building or site project, will be reviewed and a building permit issued for the whole project.)
  4. Pavilions, Bandstands, Membrane Structures, and similar structures.
  5. Site lighting and outdoor electric, such as field lighting and scoreboards - including supports and electrical hookup.
  6. Small types of projects which affect health and safety (ex: means of egress; new or altered fire/safety, electrical and/or mechanical systems).
  7. Site development which is in conjunction with a building project, and for which plans and specifications are submitted together with those for the building project will be reviewed and a building permit issued for the whole project.
  8. Playground projects which involve on-site construction of various features and structures (ex: retaining walls; footings; walkways; grading/drainage).
  9. Irrigation projects.
  10. Site work which involves earth moving; utilities; or storm water systems.
  11. Demolition of existing buildings.


  1. Small site development - including finished grading and planting; fencing; and re-paving of existing roadways, parking lots and walkways.
  2. Bleacher projects which involve only the installation of pre-engineered, factory-built equipment without foundations or sitework.
  3. Playground projects which involve only the installation of pre-engineered factory-built equipment without sitework.

In those cases which do not require a building permit, the Board of Education is responsible to ensure conformance with the Uniform Code, the Commissioner's Regulations Part 155 and the Manual of Planning Standards.

If there are any questions as to what work does, or does not require a building permit, contact the Office of Facilities Planning -- (518) 474-3906.



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Last Updated: May 31, 2019