Change is inevitable, and that's especially true in the construction industry. Construction professionals can't plan for everything, and that means their project's scope, design or zoning/coding considerations could change in the course of building.
When that happens, builders may be required to obtain post-approval amendments (PAA) to their initial permit plan. While the process of obtaining a permit can be long and cumbersome, failing to acquire the right PAA could cause debilitating delays later on that can affect project budgets and completion schedules.
About post-approval amendments
It would be unreasonable to expect builders to know everything about their project before they begin. After all, there are numerous factors one can't account for in the planning stages prior to permit approval. Construction projects are living organisms, meaning changes and adjustments are very common once the project has actually begun.
In New York City, construction professionals are required to obtain PAAs to their projects from city officials to ensure everything they're doing is up to date and compliant with all coding and zoning regulations. While PAAs may involve simple adjustments, they might also fix errors contained in the initial design plans.
Here is a step-by-step guide for filing a PAA request, according to the New York City municipal government:
- Department approves initial filing
- Plan change or other correction
- Applicant submits amended forms and plans
- Department data enters/creates PAA
- Applicant pays PAA fee
- Department reviews PAA OR Applicant professionals certifies PAA
- If necessary, applicant pays additional fees
- Department approves PAA
- PAA change is reflected on BIS in initial document
PAA without data entry changes
Proposals that include structural design changes will require PAA approval in addition to an AI1 form.
PAA with data entry changes
Data entry changes are required when certain aspects of the BIS need to be changed, including alterations to the scope of work, any additional items required or Schedule A/B updates. PAA with data entry changes typically cost applicants $100 to cover processing expenses.
Forms required to process PAA in this category include:
- PW1A (if revising Schedule A)
- PW1B (if revising Schedule B)
- PW3 (if amending costs)
- TR1/TR8 (if adding inspections)
- PC1 (if adding required items to pro-cert applications)
- AI1 (if reflecting drawing revisions)
To file a PAA with data entry changes, applicants need to adhere to the following steps:
- Submit all relevant paperwork, including PW1 and PW1B forms
- Ensure that all information is entered correctly and accurately once the PAA document is available
- Pay the $100 fee
- Begin making alterations to drawings and filling out the AI1 form
- For standard applications, schedule an appointment with the plan examiner to review documents
The approval process differs depending on the type of application. Standard plans — including the drawings, AI1 form and PAA document — will be approved by the examiner directly in the BIS. If applications are professionally certified, the window clerk is responsible for granting PAA approval. All PAA changes will automatically overwrite the original documentation upon approval.
All minor changes now require PAA
Beginning on Mar. 15, 2021, New York City now requires all changes to construction plans — including minor ones — to receive PAA approval. This is critical information for construction professionals to know as any minor adjustments could cause serious — and costly delays — down the road.
In addition to the above requirement, Solo AI1 forms are no longer accepted in eFiling for minor changes, effective Mar. 15. Instead, construction professionals need to submit a PW1 application in addition to an AI1 Additional Information form, including plan changes in the "Comments" section, according to Decoder.
Additional post-approval actions
Applicants have a number of post-approval options in addition to changing the design scope of their initial project. These include:
- Supersede: Applicants can change some information in their initial permit application by filing a PW1 form.
- Reinstatement: Applicants can refile project or permit proposals under certain time conditions, usually for a fee.
- Withdrawal: Applicants can withdraw an application even after an approval decision has been made.
Superseding applicant (or owner)
In the event that construction professionals need to change key portions of their permit application, including the applicant of record, the filing rep or the owner, they're required to file a PW1 form in order to supersede previously supplied information. Requirements vary in different parts of the city. For example, in Manhattan, superseding requests do not require PAA documents or additional fee payments.
Permits are only valid for a certain amount of time. If the expiration of the building permit has lapsed, applicants could be required to refile their building applications and pay a fee. Fee payments depend on the specific conditions of the reinstatement.
No reinstatement fee required
If less than one year has passed since the approval of the project but no permit was ever approved, no reinstatement fee is required, regardless of the status of the permit or project. Fees also won't be required if a permit was approved and less than a year has passed since approval.
Reinstatement fees might be waived in other circumstances as well. If more than a year has passed since the permit expired — but the applicant can demonstrate that they took action in the intervening period — they won't be required to pay the fee.
$100 reinstatement fee
Applicants are required to pay a $100 reinstatement fee if more than a year has passed since the approval of the project, but less than two, if no permit was approved, as long as the reinstatement includes no code or zoning changes. Builders who received a permit approval under the same conditions and time constraints are also required to pay the $100 fee.
Additionally, if more than two years have passed since the permit expired, construction professionals will be required to pay the $100 fee if work sign-offs are the only proposed changes.
Except for the above conditions, applicants will be required to refile the entire job application if it's been more than two years since the expiration of the job approval. This includes projects that include code and zoning changes, projects of which also require the applicant to pay the full filing fee.
If the project has been altered sufficiently that the initial application no longer reflects the scope of the project, applicants can withdraw either a portion or the entire application. Applicants can withdraw their applications even after an approval decision has been made. The Department of Buildings will inspect applications in which the permit was withdrawn to ensure work had not started.
Recent PAA Process Changes
As of March 15, 2021, solo AI-1 forms cannot be submitted post-approval in eFiling for minor changes, unless submitted as part of a PAA. Outlined below is how to approve minor changes:
- Submit a PW1 with an AI1 Additional Information form that specifies the submission is part of a PAA and identifies the plan changes.
- Upload the new plans in eFiling and select New PAA.
- Include in the comments section the reason for the PAA and circle the information that has changed on the plans. Include a description of the changes in the Comments section of the PW1.
Once the PAA status is PAA Fee Due, pay the fee in eFiling using the Express Cashier Payments module.
For professional certification jobs, upload a completed PW1 form that indicates Okay for Approval in eFiling and select Approval for PAA.
For resubmission of a standard plan review job, submit in eFiling as Minor Plan Change/PAA.
DOB NOW Jobs
As of Monday, March 15, 2021, an AI1 for minor plan changes cannot be submitted to the DOB help form for jobs after approval. Outlined below is how to approve minor changes:
- Submit a Post Approval Amendment (PAA) in DOB NOW.
- Upload as a single PDF a full plan set and include an AI1: Additional Information form as the last page that specifies that the submission is part of a PAA and identifies the plan changes.
- Include a description of the changes in the Comments section of the Plans/Work tab (PW1).
Completing the permit process with Milrose
Post-approval amendments are a necessary step in the building process for many construction professionals. Skipping this step could cause long project delays that could have a negative long-term effect on the project's completion. For that reason, it's important builders have the right team of permit advisers on their side.
With more than three decades of experience, our team of consultants and permit advisers at Milrose has the tools and expertise to help construction professionals navigate the complicated permit approval process. We work with clients to ensure their projects get approved and completed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our services.