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New York is the third-largest economy in the United States of America. Only Texas and California are larger economies, and these states have much bigger areas and populations. The thriving state of New York provides countless opportunities for local builders.
You’ll need a building permit to build, alter, or demolish any building in New York State. City building departments issue permits for projects in their jurisdiction. You’ll usually submit an application form, supporting documents, including plans, and your permit fee to the relevant city building department.
In some large cities, like New York City, you pre-file with a satellite office before sending your final application to the main building department. You may also need approval from other government agencies before getting your permit. You can learn more about your city’s requirements on its website.
The building department will review your application and either issue a permit or ask you to make changes. You can’t build until you get your permit.
New York has a range of different soil types.
Honeoye is widely considered New York’s state soil. You’ll find it across roughly 500,000 acres, especially in central New York. This type of soil forms in hardwood forests. It has slightly acidic silt topsoil above a clay subsoil. Honeoye drains well.
There are other parts of the state, like Long Island, where the soil is sandy. Sandy soils do not retain moisture as clay soils do. In other parts of the state, like Otsego County, limestone and sandstone deposits make the soil much rockier.
Different soil types need different building equipment. Survey your site to make sure you’re hiring the right equipment. For example, stable clay-based Honeoye soil suits boom lifts and forklifts better than Long Island’s soft, loose sand.
Standard manlifts and scissor lifts will work on most New York sites. But if you’re working on a rocky, sloped site in Otsego County, you’ll need rough terrain models. If the soil is especially rocky, you might need a ripper to break it up.
Unlike in many states, building licenses are issued by individual cities rather than a state board. Check with your local municipality to learn how to get a license.
You’ll often need to complete a certain amount of training from an approved education provider before passing an exam. You may also need to engage in continued education to keep your building license.
City bodies don’t recognize the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) commercial contractor license. Some cities may waive their training requirement if you’ve already passed the NASCLA exam. New York cities also don’t have reciprocity agreements with one another or other states.
Since building licenses are specific to New York cities, rather than the entire state, you’ll need a new license for every new city you work in.
Understanding New York State, from its soil to paperwork, will help your local building projects succeed.