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To ensure that a Building Inspector or Code Enforcement Officer is available, it is best to call to make an appointment before coming into the offices.
Building permits are required for most exterior improvements and interior structural alterations, including siding and signs. Any new structure or addition to an existing building also requires the issuance of a building permit. The primary purpose of the permit is to assure that the proposed construction meets the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. Another purpose of the building permit is to assure compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.
With the exception of siding permits, plans are required to be submitted and approved prior to the issuance of the permit. A plot plan, drawn to scale, is required showing the size of the lot, existing and proposed structures on the lot, and parking facilities. Two sets of construction plans are also required. One set of plans will be returned to you and should remain on the building site. Permits for commercial and industrial buildings costing over $10,000 or that involve structural changes, as well as construction of residential structures in excess of fifteen hundred (1,500) square feet requires an architect's or professional engineer's stamp. Any building or structure that deviates from standard framing or conventional construction methods will also require an architect or engineer's stamp. Projects with plans submitted on larger than 11” by 17” paper are required to submit as built plans in a pdf format.
An asbestos survey is required for all renovation, remodeling, repair and demolition of all interior and exterior building materials. As per NYS Industrial Code Rule 56, asbestos material must be abated by licensed contractors utilizing certified asbestos handlers, with the exception of owner-occupied single family homes, where the owner may remove the asbestos. However, it is not recommended that the owner remove asbestos. The owner could potentially expose themselves, their family and neighbors to asbestos fibers if correct engineering controls and work methods are not utilized during the abatement.
Most permits are issued within a week from the date of submittal to the Code Department. Applications for some residential, commercial, and industrial permits require the approval of either the Town Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Appeals. If approval is necessary from these Boards, a month's delay may occur prior to receiving a decision.
Building permits that are issued for new construction will be required to be issued a Certificate of Occupancy prior to the use of the structure. Financial institutions will require a Certificate of Occupancy prior to closing on a mortgage for new construction. New York State Law requires us to obtain proof of workers' compensation and disability benefits coverage for all contractors prior to the issuance of any permits. Copies of coverage are maintained in the Permit Office. Homeowners doing their own work in a 1, 2, 3 or 4 family owner occupied residence must complete an Affidavit of Exemption.
The Town of Union enforces the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and referred to as the “Uniform Code”. As of May 12, 2020, the current version of the Uniform Code is as follows as published by the International Code Council:
1. 2020 Building Code of New York State, Publication Date: November 2019
2. 2020 Residential Code of New York State, Publication Date: November 2019
3. 2020 Fire Code of New York State, Publication Date: November 2019
4. 2020 Existing Building Code of New York State, Publication Date: November 2019
5. 2020 Property Maintenance Code of New York State, Publication Date: November 2019
6. 2020 Plumbing Code of New York State, Publication Date: November 2019
7. 2020 Mechanical Code of New York State, Publication Date: November 2019
8. 2020 Fuel Gas Code of New York State, Publication Date: November 2019
9. 2020 Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State, Publication Date: November 2019
Link to free online codes: https://codes.iccsafe.org/codes/new-york
Permits / Code Enforcement Housing/Property Maintenance
The provisions of the 2020 IPMC shall apply to all existing residential and nonresidential structures and all existing premises and constitute minimum requirements and standards for premises, structures, equipment and facilities for light, ventilation, space, heating, sanitation, protection from the elements, a reasonable level of safety from fire and other hazards, and for a reasonable level of sanitary maintenance; the responsibility of owners, an owner’s authorized agent, operators and occupants; the occupancy of existing structures and premises, and for administration, enforcement and penalties. Code Staff conducts inspections at the request of tenants or owners of dwelling units. If violations of the code exist, the property owner is cited and given three to thirty days to bring the property into conformance. If the violation is not corrected, an appearance ticket is issued for the owner to appear in Town Justice Court.
The following are the most cited sections of the code. Selected Sections
[PM]301.2 Responsibility. The owner of the premises shall maintain the structures and exterior property in compliance with these requirements, except as otherwise provided for in this code. A person shall not occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy premises that are not in a sanitary and safe condition and that do not comply with the requirements of this chapter. Occupants of a dwelling unit, rooming unit or housekeeping unit are responsible for keeping in a clean, sanitary and safe condition that part of the dwelling unit, rooming unit, housekeeping unit or premises which they occupy and control.
[PM]302.1Sanitation. Exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition. The occupant shall keep that part of the exterior property that such occupant occupies or controls in a clean and sanitary condition. [PM]302.4. Weeds. Except as provided for in statute, local law, ordinance, or other regulations, all developed areas of a premises that are intended to be used by building occupants or the public shall be maintained free from weeds in excess of 10 inches (254 mm). Noxious weeds shall be prohibited.
[PM]304.2 Protective treatment. Exterior surfaces, including but not limited to, doors, door and window frames, cornices, porches, trim, balconies, decks and fences, shall be maintained in good condition. Exterior wood surfaces, other than decay-resistant woods, shall be protected from the elements and decay by painting or other protective covering or treatment. Peeling, flaking and chipped paint shall be eliminated and surfaces repainted. Siding and masonry joints, as well as those between the building envelope and the perimeter of windows, doors and skylights, shall be maintained weather resistant and water tight. Metal surfaces subject to rust or corrosion shall be coated to inhibit such rust and corrosion, and surfaces with rust or corrosion shall be stabilized and coated to inhibit future rust and corrosion. Oxidation stains shall be removed from exterior surfaces. Surfaces designed for stabilization by oxidation are exempt from this requirement.
[PM]304.14 Insect screens. During the period from May 15 to September 15, every door, window and other outside opening required for ventilation of habitable rooms, food preparation areas, food service areas or any areas where products to be included or utilized in food for human consumption are processed, manufactured, packaged or stored shall be supplied with approved tightly fitting screens of minimum 16 mesh per inch (16 mesh per 25 mm), and every screen door used for insect control shall have a self-closing device in good working condition.
[PM]308.3 Disposal of garbage. Every occupant of a structure shall dispose of garbage in a clean and sanitary manner by placing such garbage in an approved garbage disposal facility or approved garbage containers.
[PM]308.3.1 Garbage facilities. The owner of every dwelling shall supply one of the following: an approved mechanical food waste grinder in each dwelling unit; an approved incinerator unit in the structure available to the occupants in each dwelling unit; or an approved leakproof, covered, outside garbage container. Note: Cans with lids attached and over 32 gallons in size are prohibited by the Town of Union.
[PM]308.3.2 Containers. The operator of every establishment producing garbage shall provide, and at all times cause to be utilized, approved leakproof containers provided with close-fitting covers for the storage of such materials until removed from the premises for disposal.
[PM]402.2 Common halls and stairways. Every common hall and stairway in residential occupancies, other than in one- and two-family dwellings, shall be lighted at all times with not less than a 60-watt standard incandescent light bulb for each 200 square feet (19 m2) of floor area or equivalent illumination, provided that the spacing between lights shall not be greater than 30 feet (9144 mm). In other than residential occupancies, means of egress, including exterior means of egress, stairways shall be illuminated at all times the building space served by the means of egress is occupied with not less than 1 footcandle (11 lux) at floors, landings and treads.
[PM]404.4.1 Room area. Every living room shall contain not less than 120 square feet (11.2 m2) and every bedroom shall contain not less than 70 square feet (6.5 m2) and every bedroom occupied by more than one person shall contain not less than 50 square feet (4.6 m2) of floor area for each occupant thereof.
[PM]404.4.4 Prohibited occupancy. Kitchens and nonhabitable spaces shall not be used for sleeping purposes.
[PM]602.3 Heat supply. Every owner and operator of any building who rents, leases or lets one or more dwelling unit, rooming unit, dormitory or guestroom on terms, either expressed or implied, to furnish heat to the occupants thereof shall supply heat during the period from September 15th to May 31st to maintain a temperature of not less than 68°F (20°C) in all habitable rooms, bathrooms and toilet rooms. [
F]704.2Single- and multiple-station smoke alarms. Single- and multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed in existing Group I-1 and R occupancies in accordance with Sections 704.2.1 through 704.2.3.
[F]704.6.1 Where required. Existing Group I-1 and R occupancies and dwellings regulated by the Residential Code of New York State shall be provided with single-station smoke alarms in accordance with Sections 704.6.1.1 through 704.6.1.4. Interconnection and power sources shall be in accordance with Sections 704.6.2 and 704.6.3.
[F] 704.6.1.1 Group R-1. Single- or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed in all of the following locations in Group R-1:
1. In sleeping areas.
2. In every room in the path of the means of egress from the sleeping area to the door leading from the sleeping unit. 3. In each story within the sleeping unit, including basements. For sleeping units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level. [
F] 704.6.1.2 Groups R-2, R-3, R-4, I-1, and other dwellings. Single- or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed and maintained in Groups R-2, R-3,R-4, I-1, and in dwellings regulated by the Residential Code of New York State. regardless of occupant load at all of the following locations:
1. On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms.
2. In each room used for sleeping purposes.
3. In each story within a dwelling unit, including basements (excluding crawl spaces) and uninhabitable attics. In dwellings or dwelling units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level.
Contact the Code Office for location requirements for carbon monoxide alarms and detectors.
Building Permits -
WHAT TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION REQUIRES A BUILDING PERMIT? Town Code requires a building permit for any new structures to be erected and for an addition or for structural alterations to an existing building. The activities that require a building permit are numerous. The following is a list of those activities that DO NOT require a permit:
● Concrete pads-not intended to have a structure on it
● Aluminum storm windows
● Gutters and downspouts
● Fences - call for height restrictions and setbacks for front and corner lot, good side must face neighbors
If you have any questions regarding any of these, call the Town of Union Code Enforcement/Permits Department at 607-786-2920.
Permits are required for new and replacement fireplaces, chimneys and solid fuel buring appliances.
HOW DOES A PERSON APPLY FOR A BUILDING PERMIT? A building permit application, which is available in the Town of Union Code Enforcement/Permits Department or online, must be submitted along with a plot plan to be reviewed by the building inspector. In addition to the plot plan, building construction plans must be submitted for any alteration or enlargement, modification or new construction. If the cost of construction exceeds $10,000.00 or the utilization of 1,500 sq. feet, or both, the construction plans must be stamped by a registered architect or licensed professional engineer. For new construction, all utility connections must be shown.
WHAT IS A PLOT PLAN? A plot plan is a two-dimensional drawing of the lot on which the construction will take place. The plot plans should be drawn on an 8½" by 11" piece of paper. The actual dimensions of the lot and exact locations and size of any present and proposed buildings must be indicated. The plan should also include the yard setbacks. That is the distance between the edge of the structures and the nearest lot line. While not drawn to scale, the plot plan must show the distances indicated in number of feet.
WHEN WILL THE PERMIT BE ISSUED? The building permit will be issued within a week of the submittal of the completed application and plot plan. The building inspector will issue the permit as long as the proposed construction does not violate any zoning or building ordinance. New York State law requires us to check for proof of workers' compensation and disability benefits coverage for all contractors prior to the issuance of any permits.
HOW MUCH DOES A BUILDING PERMIT COST? The cost of a building permit is determined by the total costs of construction and any demolitions that are required to complete the project.
For One & Two Family Residential Dwellings - Ten dollars ($10.00) for the first two thousand dollars ($2,000) in construction costs and two dollars ($2.00) for every thousand or part of thousand thereafter.
For Residential Decks, Swimming Pools - Twenty five dollars ($25.00) for the first ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in costs and two dollars ($2.00) for every thousand or part of thousand thereafter.
For Multiple Family, Commercial & Industrial Construction – Twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) in construction costs and three dollars and fifty cents ($3.50) for every thousand or part of thousand thereafter.
HOW LONG IS A BUILDING PERMIT VALID? A building permit is a valid for 12 months (1 year) from the date it is issued. If construction is not started within 6 months of issuance, the permit is voided. Construction that takes longer than 12 months requires a permit renewal.
WHERE SHOULD THE BUILDING PERMIT BE DISPLAYED? The permit must be displayed in a prominent place, like a front window, at the address stated on the permit. The permit should be displayed during the entire period of construction.
WHAT INSPECTIONS ARE REQUIRED? You must notify the inspector as spelled out on the permit application. No work should be covered until inspected. Inspectors have up to 3 days to respond to an inspection request.
DOES AN ABOVE-GROUND POOL HAVE TO BE ENCLOSED BY A FENCE? Yes, if any part of the pool wall is less than 48" high. Any stair access to the pool must have a self closing and latching gate of four feet in height or the ladder must be the type that can be locked in the upright position when the pool is not in use.
ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON WHERE A POOL CAN BE PLACED? Yes, the requirements are based on the Zoning District. Call the office for the setbacks for your property.
IS A POOL ALARM REQUIRED? Each swimming pool installed, constructed or substantially modified after December 14, 2006 shall be equipped with an approved pool alarm.
ARE THERE REGULATIONS REGARDING HOT TUBS OR SPAS? Yes, it is regulated similar to a swimming pool if it holds more than 24 inches of water. Please call the Code Office for further information.
WHAT ARE THE REGULATIONS ON FENCES? No fence shall be erected or encroach upon a public right-of-way. Fences of masonry, wood or other material which create a solid visual barrier shall maintain a ten-foot setback from the front property line. Open fences of chain link wire, wrought iron, split, rail or other similar material which does not screen or obstruct views, light and air may be permitted within the ten-foot setback from the property line, provided said fence is constructed so as not to obstruct visibility or create a traffic hazard. Maximum height - Residential: six foot with restrictions Commercial: ten foot with restrictions. The finished or decorative side shall face the adjacent properties. The fence posts and other supporting structures of the fence shall face the interior of the area to be fenced.
Construction materials specifications shall be as follows:
1. Fences shall be constructed of wood, chain link, wrought iron or PVC permanent fencing material
2. Materials such as sheet metal, razor wire, page wire, pallets, doors, old building materials or non traditional fence materials are prohibited.
3. Temporary fences are permitted only for the duration of a construction project.
A permit is not required. However, you should call Dig Safely New York at 1-800-962-7962 prior to digging any post holes.
CALL BEFORE YOU DIG!! Every person and/or contractor doing any type of digging, must call Dig Safely New York at 1-800-962-7962 or 811 at least two (2) full working days prior to digging. Personnel from Dig Safely will have two (2) working days to locate and mark all of the buried lines within 15 feet of the proposed work site. This service is free. When you call, you will be asked to provide specific information including, name, address, nearest intersecting streets, is work within 500' of a traffic signal, applicable phone numbers, means of excavating, etc. Penalties for noncompliance are severe and are set from $1,000 - $7,500.