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  • Sutton Square Group

The Basics on Construction Permits in NYC

Updated: Apr 9

Please note that SSG is not an architecture firm, and that we highly recommend consulting an architect for any advice or recommendation on the construction process in NYC.

In NYC, construction jobs fall under 4 categories.

  1. NB (new building)

  2. Alt-CO

  3. Alt-2

  4. Alt-3.


NB and Alt-1 involve projects in which there will be a change in use, occupancy and egress.

However, tenants and apartment owners rarely change the use, occupancy and egress of a space when performing their construction. That’s why, in this article, we will focus on Alt-2 jobs.

If a tenant wants to perform more than basic cosmetic work (e.g., painting, retiling bathrooms) he will need to file for an Alt-2 job application.  

The steps below describes the whole Alt-2 application process.

Step 1:


To start the job application, the first step is to have a registered architect (RA) or a professional engineer (P.E.) file a plan/work approval application form (PW1).

Step 2:

Once the PW1 has been approved by the DOB and the application fees have been paid, a licensed contractor can apply for a work permit by filing the PW2 form.


Applying for a permit is often time referred to as “pulling the permit” which is an expression that may have originated when the DOB administrative staff used to pull the paperwork from file cabinets.

It is also important to know that permits have expiration dates and that if the work is not performed before the expiration date, the GC will need to re-apply for a permit.


Step 3:

Once the contractor completes the work, the last step of the process is for the DOB to sign off the job. When the DOB signs off a job, it means that the job has been performed according to the plans and specifications that the DOB had approved in the PW1 form.  

The sign off can only occur after an inspection. There are 2 types of inspections:

  1. Directive 2 (D2): It requires a DOB inspection review prior to sign off.

  2. Directive 14 (D14): A registered architect or professional engineer can take responsibility for final inspection and sign-off. Usually, for interior demolition or renovation, D14 filings are very likely to be allowed.

Additional Information

Sometimes, after the DOB approves a PW1 application, a project might change and not conform to the PW1 application anymore. Two types of changes can occur:

  1. A Minor Change: when making a minor plan change that does not change any information on the PW1, you file an Al-1 (Additional Information) form.

  2. An Important Change: if the approved scope of works needs to be updated, a Post Approval Amendment (PAA) has to be filed and approved by the DOB.

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