About Construction Projects in Syracuse, NY
Before you begin work on building, renovating, expanding, or demolishing any structure in Syracuse, make sure you have the right paperwork. Syracuse consistently ranks among the best cities in the nation to raise a family, so you’ll probably have plenty of opportunities to work on family homes. Every community is unique, so get familiar with its processes and regulations.
In general, all construction, destruction, major repair, and expansion requires a permit. Syracuse has the following specific categories:
- Building permits are for any physical changes to a building including new construction. You’ll need proper approval for electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and structural elements.
- Demolition permits are for removal of all or part of an existing structure. You’ll need a survey for asbestos and lead. You may need permits from the water and fire departments.
- Right-of-way permits are for any construction on a sidewalk or street, including for a street fair or sidewalk cafe. Most right-of-way permits will take at least five days to approve.
You’ll need construction drawings with the stamp of an architect or engineer unless your work will cost less than $20,000 and does not involve public safety. Otherwise, be prepared with multiple sets of approved drawings. See the www.syracuse.ny.us website for guidance on how many sets to bring based on your building type.
Onondaga County has special regulations to prevent pollution caused by stormwater. Pay attention to this if your project:
- Involves stripping or grading 10,000 square feet of land or more.
- Requires excavating or filling more than 300 cubic yards.
- Starts on or will result in slopes of 15 percent or greater.
Contact the Stormwater Management Program to learn more.
You may also need a Transportation Impact Study. A TIS evaluates the change in traffic volumes and travel patterns caused by your project. The City also will carefully review any construction that involves a curb cut.
Contractor’s licenses in New York are issued at the county level. To get licensed in Onondaga County, start at ongov.net. You’ll need to be at least 18 years of age, literate in English, and of “good moral character.” Then you’ll need to pass examinations for each aspect of the construction business.
New York does not cap awards for personal injury. Be sure to have proper liability insurance in place. General liability for contractors is specifically designed to protect your equipment in case of damage and your employees in case of injury. It will also cover your business in case of a lawsuit. You should carry at least $500,000 in contractors general liability insurance.
If you’re working off the ground, consider renting an aerial lift. Boom lifts, scissor lifts, manlifts, and forklifts are specialized machines that will lift your people and gear safely. Don’t cut corners when working with heights. Falling workers and equipment are one of the most common causes of injury.
The City of Syracuse has specific regulations for contractors and construction projects. Be sure to give accurate information about your project and comply with all the rules.