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When Do You Need a Building Permit?

Many times when we are thinking about making a home improvement, we are unsure what’s permissable within the Town’s local code. Our new Building Inspector Justin Reckner shared some helpful tidbits. Most all work in our outside your house does require a building permit. There are only a few cases where you do not, which are detailed below. Getting a building permit is easy. Stop in Town Hall or fill out an on-line application, pay your fee and supply necessary documentation/plans.

When You Do NOT Need a Building Permit

  • Painting the inside or outside of the house or detached structures.
  • Repairing drywall, plaster or siding.
  • Installing new floor coverings, like vinyl, carpet or hardwood.
  • Installing or refurbishing cabinetry.
  • Repairing or replacing porch flooring or deck flooring. Note: a permit is required to repair/ replace the structural elements or to include posts and guard systems.
  • Repairing or replacing handrails on a porch or deck.
  • Installing or replacing gutters and downspouts.
  • Constructing or installing a storage shed, playhouse, etc. (119 sq. feet or less in area.)
  • Building recreational equipment, such as swings, skateboard ramps, jungle gyms, etc.
  • Installing a security alarm system.
  • Replacing electrical fixtures, such as switches and receptacles.
  • Replacing a ceiling fan to a pre-wired switch, that has a ceiling fan rated and supported box.
  • Replacing plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, toilets, faucets, etc.
  • Replacing electrical cook top stoves, ranges, and dryers.

Otherwise? You need a building permit.

One On-Site Visit Policy

If you are still determining your project’s scope, we have a one on-site visit policy, where we can visit and help provide some early general direction on process and even how to simplify your project. The Building Department is tasked with ensuring that your projects are built and maintained to the standards of the NYS Uniform Building and Fire Code. This provides us with a minimum standard for your safety.

All permits and projects begin with an application. Call us at 518-893-7432, ext. 304 or stop by.

What Happens if I don’t Get a Permit?

The property owner may be subject to legal action for failure to obtain a building permit. If you carry out a renovation project that requires a building permit without having one, Greenfield’s Building Department representatives may issue a “Stop Work” and or a “Cease and Desist” order, which remains in effect until you obtain a permit. If the work doesn’t meet the requirements of the Building Code, you may well have to redo the work at your own cost.

Work performed without a required building permit may hold up the sale of your property in the future and may also affect an insurance claim.

Remember That Building Permits Expire

Permits have expiration dates posted on the permit. Depending on the project, it could expire in one month or one year. This means if a project takes longer,  you need to renew the permit to avoid any penalties. This is New York State law.

Please remember to post your permit in a very conspicuous location that can be easily spotted from the road. Thank you.

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7 Wilton Road
Greenfield Center, NY 12833

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Friday: 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM


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Greenfield Center, NY 12833

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