How Long Will It Take to Get a Permit?
There is an old saying, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.” Some processes are best begun as soon as possible, and getting your construction permits sorted out is definitely one of those. Our clients frequently ask us when they should be in touch with their municipalities about permits, and the answer is that our client should have called their town/village before they called us! Construction can’t begin without the proper permits in place, and are one of the biggest hurdles to beginning your project. You may need to obtain permits from multiple authorities (for example, your town and also your village) and requirements can vary greatly depending on where you’ll be building.
For one example from Nassau County, let’s look at Westbury. The Village of Westbury requires building permits for a wide variety of projects, including:
• New Construction
• Additions to the home
• Decks & Patios
• Swimming Pools
These are just a few examples of projects that require permits, and the Village clearly states that no work can begin until the permits are obtained. Penalties imposed for violations can be significant so it is best to play by the rules.
Per the Village of Westbury’s website, requirements to obtain a permit are as follows:
1. Completed building application, including signatures and notaries.
2. Two sets of construction drawings that have been prepared in a standard architectural manner and to scale. All plans require an original inked seal and signature of a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) or registered architect (R.A.).
3. Two copies of the survey of the property.
4. The contractor’s insurance certificate for worker's compensation liability that names the Village of Westbury as holder. Affidavit for exemption of worker's compensation insurance if the homeowner is performing the work.
5. Letter from the Westbury Water District - hookup availability (for new construction).
6. Permit Fees.
7. The Superintendent of Buildings will determine the permit fee based upon the reasonable estimated cost of construction.
As you may imagine, some of the steps outlined above will take time, and this should be factored into your plans when you are conceiving a project. Some villages may also have additional zoning boards or other bodies with whom you’ll need to obtain approvals in order to get your permits, adding additional time to the process. Getting started on these processes well in advance of your intended start date for construction is the best way to avoid delays, especially because unexpected challenges can arise during the process. For example, you may need to obtain variances if your project falls outside of the town/village zoning regulations.
Your contractor can help advise you on a case-by-case basis thanks to our many years of experience in working in Nassau & Suffolk County’s various municipalities, but you should also communicate directly with your town/village to ensure you meet their exact requirements for obtaining permits. Over the past twelve months it has been our experience that permitting processes are taking longer than expected, so we urge our clients even more strongly to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
In addition, note that after completion of construction, additional inspections will most likely be necessary to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and should also be accounted for when planning.
So if you’re beginning to plan new construction or an addition to your home, call your contractor, and also call your town and village!