A Guide To Better Understand The Role Of Your Building Official
Research Your Property—Before, Not AfterYou are the homeowner or business owner. You have invested time, energy, and a substantial sum of money into your investment. You will be relying on the structural safety of the building that surrounds you each day, at home and at work. Research your investment before, and not after, your purchase.
Find out if there are outstanding code violations or zoning violations on the property. Many times this research is requested by title companies before a purchase closing, but often, receiving notice of an existing violation at this late stage of the process can delay the closing altogether.
"Buyer beware" is an old, but true, saying. Has all the work that has been done on the premises been permitted and approved by the local officials? Are there records (permits and/or certificates of occupancy) to substantiate this? We can trace permit records back to January 1966, when permits were first required under a newly adopted zoning law. Has the property been legally subdivided? The Town adopted subdivision regulations in 1960 and property transfers from that date forward are examined for compliance. Have zoning variances been obtained if necessary? Not all properties are subject to these requirements, but this is the information you will be provided with before your purchase.
Problems can be avoided if you do your homework first. Engineers, architects, and other professional personnel may be needed if work was done illegally or in violation of codes. Your investment could be in serious jeopardy if the building or property is not in compliance.
Why Do I Need A Permit?When a permit is issued, the holder of the permit is then given legal permission to start construction or do modifications to a building.
Construction industry practices have evolved into standards that are minimum requirements designed to protect the public’s health and safety. The Code Official's job is to enforce the laws of the Town for the benefit of the public consumer, YOU!
No code can eliminate all risks. Reducing risks to acceptable levels, however, helps prevent most potential hazards to the building's occupants and users. "Safe buildings for a safe tomorrow" is the goal of all building codes. The development of use regulations, and the acceptance of innovative products and systems, is by-products of the technological advances of our times.
Most individuals overlook the need for a permit until some catastrophic event occurs. We try to assure compliance with local zoning ordinances, the NYS Uniform Fire Prevention & Building Code, the County Board of Health and even New York City watershed requirements. From zoning issues to code review, from field inspections to structural conformity, from a hole in the ground to completion, the Inspector is looking out for your best interests!
All construction codes serve the same purpose: to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by requiring safe construction.
How Does The Permit Process Work?When do you need a permit? Permits are typically required for the following, but check with the Building Department if you have any questions before construction begins:
What is the permit process?The following process is generally the same for all permits:
CONSTRUCTION IS NOW COMPLETE!
Do you realize that before an occupancy certificate can be issued for your building or house, a minimum of four to six inspections have been made by each of the inspectors?
We do this to verify conformance with the minimum requirements of building, electrical, fire prevention, mechanical, plumbing, and sanitary codes.
The changing aspects of our codes require Code Officials to maintain current knowledge and certification through continuing education programs and by attending training sessions. Building Officials must obtain and maintain such certification in their role as community advocates.
Use the valuable resources available to you.