The NYC Plumbing Code regulates the installation, maintenance, repair, modification, extension or alteration of any waste, domestic water, gas piping, or fire standpipes in any building or piping system. The Department requires inspections on all plumbing or fire suppression work that must have a permit.
Permits for plumbing and fire suppression work are only issued to a licensed master plumber (LMP) or licensed master fire suppression contractor (LFSC). Only these licensees – or the employees they supervise – may work on piping systems. The Department issues LMP licenses to contractors qualified to perform plumbing, standpipe and sprinkler work (for less than 30 heads). A contractor working on a sprinkler system or standpipe must be an LFSC. (See NYC Construction Codes §28-408.1 and §28-410.1)
Plumbing contractors must be qualified to do the plumbing work they were hired to perform because improper work can create serious danger. For example:
LMPs and LFSCs must have a place of business in New York City – not a home office. NYC Construction Codes §28-401.3 requires Licensed Plumbers to include their license number and business information on trucks, business cards and advertisements. When hiring a licensed plumber, have a written contract that includes the contractor's company name, address and license number(s). Report work by unlicensed contractors or misconduct by unlicensed Licensed contractors to the Office of the Buildings Marshal (212) 393-2930.
Before plumbing work begins, the property owner must hire a New York State licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.), Registered Architect (R.A.), or Department-licensed plumber to file for the proper permits. The Department must review and approve the applications.
The LAA/Permit Renewal Unit issues permits for repair work where the total cost does not exceed $25,000 per building in any 12-month period. These don't require plans or PE/RA approval.
A P.E. or R.A. must file plans and an application for NB, ALT1 or ALT2 projects. The approval time depends upon the project's complexity and quality of the submitted plans.
Once the project is completed, PEs or RAs must have a final inspection, and plumbers need all inspections and tests completed and final plumbing sign-off. Call 311 to schedule an inspection. (In some cases, PEs or RAs may inspect their completed projects to confirm that the work meets their filed plans and complies with all applicable laws.) After sign-off or notification of completion, the Department will issue a Letter of Completion.
Property owners and the people performing plumbing work without a permit may face violations with penalties, court appearances, and civil or criminal penalties. However, some minor projects aren't subject to the permit requirement. Simple repairs or replacing existing faucets, toilets and sinks are considered cosmetic; someone without a license may do this without a permit.