New York regulates the construction industry using standards and regulations set forth by individual cities and municipalities within the state. While rules differ from place to place, most cities in the State of New York require general contractors to obtain a license or permit before engaging in the construction, addition, repair or remodeling of any commercial or residential building or structure.
It is important that New York general contractors check the regulations set forth by their city before beginning work on any construction project.
New York, NY
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs requires general contractors to apply for a Home Improvement Contractor license before they begin work on a project. General contractors must hold a license to perform work on buildings or surrounding land, including, but not limited to, garages, pools, terraces, patios, swimming pools, basements and driveways. If the general contractor also wishes to sell their work and negotiate contracts with property owners, they must also hold a Home Improvement Salesperson license.
More information on Home Improvement Contractor licenses and Home Improvement Salesperson licenses is available on the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs website.
Licenses are valid for a period of two years.
The Department of Economic Development regulates general contractors in the City of Buffalo, NY. General contractors must submit an application for licensure based on the type of work they are performing. The City of Buffalo offers various license grades and categories, from demolition grade licenses to handyman and home improvement licenses.
Most general contractors in the City of Buffalo will apply for the GNC, or General Contractor grade license, which allows them to perform work on both commercial and residential properties without restrictions.
For convenience, the City of Buffalo has published an Instruction Sheet for Contractor Licensing.
General Contractors in the City of Rochester, NY must prove that their construction project stands up to safety codes and guidelines set forth by the city before they begin work. Rochester requires general contractors to obtain a building permit from the city’s permit office at city hall before getting started. In some cases, general contractors also need to apply for a zoning permit.
The cost of a building or zoning permit in the City of Rochester is based on the cost of the project’s labor and materials.
For more information or to download an application, visit the City of Rochester Building Permits FAQ.
The City of Yonkers, NY requires general contractors to apply for a Home Improvement license before starting a construction project. Licenses are good for a period of 2 years once they are issued. In addition to a completed application, the City of Yonkers requires general contractors to submit documentation, such as, certificates of insurance, passport-sized photos and an application fee of $300.
To obtain a copy of the application, visit the City of Yonkers website or call (914) 377-6808.
The City of Syracuse, NY requires general contractors to undergo two separate reviews before work on a project can commence. The city conducts a zoning review, as well as a building codes review for each project. The zoning and building code regulations set forth by the City of Syracuse are meant to protect the public’s safety and health. Reviews are conducted for both commercial and residential projects.
For more information, visit the City of Syracuse ‘Before You Build’ web page.
General contractors in the City of Albany, NY are regulated by the Division of Building & Codes. Before they can begin work on a project, general contractors must apply for a zoning and building permit. The application requires general contractors to report on the location, nature and estimated cost of the work they intend to perform. Work can commence once the general contractor receives approval from the zoning and planning department.
A copy of the Application for Building and Zoning Permit is available for download.
The only type of contracting regulated by the State of New York is asbestos abatement.