3.1 General Provisions For Construction-Related Permits

NYC DOT's mission is to provide for the safe, efficient and environmentally responsible movement of pedestrians, goods, bicycles and vehicular traffic on the streets of the city of New York. In addition, the streets serve as the access point for the subsurface infrastructure that provides water, sewer, power, and telecommunications services for the city. NYC DOT registers permittees, and coordinates and issues permits for construction-related activity on streets.

Permit windows at the central Permit Office

Anytime-anywhere applications and any printer plain paper production of approved permits are becoming available to more NYC DOT customers. Many people and businesses who pay by credit card will no longer need to visit a NYC DOT office to apply for or receive their approved permits.

Previously, electronic filing and permitting was available only to the city's large utilities. They account for over half of all street construction permit requests. Using the Internet, NYC DOT will make this convenient and efficient capability available to all applicants.

The city’s new Commercial Refuse Container permit application was the first permit type available online to apply for and print approved permits anytime-anywhere. These permits help NYC DOT regulate and monitor the location and duration of the placement of commercial refuse containers that are placed in the street.

During the second quarter of 2011, anytime-anywhere applications became available for additional permit types:

  • Street Opening
  • Building Operations
  • Sidewalk Construction
  • Permit Renewals

Anytime-anywhere permit applications also enhances the efficiency of NYC DOT permitting operations. By eliminating manual steps, some applications that used to take up to five business days for approval and printing may now be approved and issued within a single business day.


Who Issues Construction-Related Permits for Work on a Street?

The NYC DOT Bureau of Permit Management and Construction Control (the Bureau) is responsible for overseeing all construction-related permitting. The Bureau is comprised of two offices:

  1. The Office of Permit Management (Permit Office) registers permittees, receives all construction-related permit applications, reviews them for accuracy and completeness and applies appropriate fees. There is a central Permit Office in Manhattan and borough Permit Offices in each of the other boroughs.
  2. The Office of Construction Mitigation and Coordination (OCMC) reviews all construction permit applications and develops construction activity stipulations for permits* for permits to allow for work to occur with minimal disruption to businesses, motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and avoid conflicts with other construction projects and special events. OCMC also interfaces with project engineers, city agencies, community boards, elected officials and the general public to resolve construction issues related to mobility.

All work within the street requires a NYC DOT permit to minimize construction impacts.

Types of Permits

There are four categories of construction-related permits for work on a street: Street Opening, Building Operations/Construction Activity, Sidewalk Construction, and Canopy Permits. To provide an overview, each is described briefly on the following two pages. More specific information on each permit type, including application procedures and fee structures are described in greater detail in Section 3.3 The Permit Application Process of this chapter. Procedures to follow in the event of an emergency or the need to apply for a permit during an embargo period are explained in Section 3.6 Emergency Work and Special Circumstances later in the chapter.

Street Opening Permits

This category of permits applies to openings/excavations or other work in a street that may cause damage to the street surface or to any work that the Permit Office believes would compromise the street surface. Street Opening Permits are generally taken out by entities that need access to subsurface infrastructure, including utility companies and contractors, such as licensed master plumbers.

Building Operations/ Construction Activity Permits

This category of permits applies to construction-related activities that take place within the street and are generally associated with construction work adjacent to the street. Typically, a valid permit issued by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is required prior to application for permits in this category. Some of the construction-related activities covered under this category include placement of materials, equipment and temporary structures on the street or sidewalk (e.g., building materials, cranes, boom trucks, a shanty or trailer, construction container, security structure, tool cart, or construction parking regulation signs) or movement of construction equipment across roadways and sidewalks. This category also covers installations above the street such as banners and decorative lights and permanent installations on the street such as bike racks. Building Operations/Construction Activity Permits are generally taken out by entities that perform construction activities, including developers and contractors.

Crane placed on the street for construction activity. Cranes may require permits from DOB in addition to NYC DOT.

Sidewalk Construction Permits

This category of permits applies to any repairs, replacements or new sidewalk installations. Sidewalk Construction Permits are generally taken out by entities that need to perform work on sidewalks, including developers, contractors, and private homeowners (for sidewalk repairs and only if performing the work themselves).

Canopy Authorizations and Permits

This category of permits applies to authorizations and permits required to place a canopy* over the sidewalk. A one-time Street Opening Permit must also be obtained to install the poles that support the canopy. Canopy permits are generally taken out by building owners, business owners, and canopy installers.