Shawn M. Morse
Ask the Mayor!
City of Cohoes
97 Mohawk Street
Cohoes, NY 12047

City Hall hours
Monday thru Friday
8am - 4pm

May 26, 2018
3:43 PM


Building and Planning  
Building Permits  
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  • For building permits please call Patty at 233-2127

Changes to properties and structures, including both new construction and renovations or remodeling, require permits under the Codes and local laws of the City of Cohoes.

This web page offers guidelines and examples to help you determine whether you will need permits for planned electrical, plumbing or structural work on your property. 

***Please click here for additional information regarding building permit requirements and for an inspection timetable for projects.*** 

A building permit is required to:  

Erect, add onto, relocate or make structural changes to a building. This includes: an attached or detached accessory building such as a garage, carport, breezeway; a storage shed; a porch or stoop; or enclosing an existing porch.
2. Convert or change the use or occupancy of a building or part of a building. This includes establishing a home occupation within a dwelling.
3. Install, relocate or remove interior partitions or walls.
4. Install siding on existing walls.
5. Replace or otherwise modify existing doors and windows.
6. Install fire escapes, cellar stair fire rated enclosures or fire retarding cellar ceilings in multiple dwellings. (Approval for fire escapes may require approval of the Board of Review).
7. Repair fire damage.
8. Demolish any building.
9. Erect a permanent fence, wall or retaining wall over two feet in height above grade.
10. Install or replace a masonry chimney or metal vent pipe.
11. Install a swimming pool (in-ground or above ground).
12. Pave an exterior ground area (parking area, driveway or patio) or add to an existing paved area. A permit is also required to install or enlarge a parking lot which will accommodate more than three vehicles, regardless of size of the area.
13. Erect a radio or TV antenna which, in itself, is more than 16 feet in height or a flagpole, the top of which is more than 35 feet in height above grade.
14. Install or replace a heating unit or water heater.
15. Install a canopy or marquee; or install a permanent cover or metal awning which extends over the street property line, or which projects by more than 1/3 into a yard or court.
16. Install a ground, projecting, pole, wall or roof sign.
17. Install or remove a fuel tank, gasoline tank, and any other flammable liquid or gaseous tank, either above or below ground.
18. Make any repair that must conform to the requirements of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (NYSUFPBC).
19. Install a fire alarm system, sprinkler system or standpipe system.
20. Install an elevator, escalator or dumbwaiter.
21. All electrical work.
22. Replace or install a new roof.

The following requirements (if applicable) will need to be met before permits will be issued:

  • Proof of compliance with all historic rules and regulations (submit a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board
  • A survey by a licensed surveyor may be required where set-backs or lot lines are at issue
  • Proof of compliance with the New York State Building Code, Fire Code, and any other applicable State Code (the NYS Uniform Code)
  • Structural assessment of building by New York State engineer/architect
  • Asbestos assessment of building by New York State licensed asbestos abater professional. You must contact the Department of Labor Safety & Health Inspector, Division of Safety and Health, at 518-457-2072 (Fax #518-485-1740) for a listing – asbestos assessment typically needed for demolision only.
  • Schedule of repairs and material to be used for repairs
  • Stamped plans for strucutral repairs or most new construction. 
  • All work on structure must comply with all historic rules and regulations and must be done (in kind)
  • Supporting documentation breaking down costs for total projects costs greater than or equal to $20,000

It is the complete discretion of the Director of Code Enforcement as to what or how much information, materials, plans, etc. is required for the Department to ensure compliance with the NYS Uniform Code.

The City of Cohoes and the Code Enforcement Department shall not be responsible for any inaccurate or misinformation, and the Department issues permits based upon the information provided to it.

Discovery of inaccurate information in the application may result in the revocation of a permit and other penalties pursuant to law.

All work must be inspected by Code Enforcement when completed – the property owner is responsible to contact the Code Enforcement Department when permitted work is completed.

Construction, demolition, or repairs that do not comply with submitted plans or that are not otherwise authorized may result in orders to abate or remove unauthorized work or structures and civil or criminal penalties pursuant to law.


PLEASE NOTE: The applicant must schedule a final insepction by Code Enforcement - when permitted work is completed - prior to issuance of certificate of occupancy or completion. If you need further information or assistance, call the Cohoes Building Department at 233-2127.


Permit Application and Approval Check List

Zoning Review: Submit two (2) copies of a plot plan drawn to scale. The plot plan should show:

§the size and shape of the lot

§the location of all structures on the lot

§the proposed construction or addition

§any easements

§distances (setbacks) from the proposed construction to the lot lines and any other structures

Minimum setbacks required by the Cohoes Zoning Ordinance are listed. Zoning staff will review your plan for these setbacks and also for the other requirements described on the plot plan forms. Other drawings, work description and photos may be required for historic district review.

Engineering Review: Two (2) sets of construction drawings, drawn to scale, are required to review conformance with the Cohoes Code. Construction drawings are not required for fences of for above-ground swimming pools.

Proof of Insurance: If the owner is the applicant and will do all the work, proof of insurance is required.

If the owner contracts out the work, the contractor is responsible for filing a Certificate of Insurance, issued to the City of Cohoes, with the Cohoes Building Department. Certification on workmen's compensation, liability and/or disability is required.

Plumbing Work: If there is plumbing work involved, a plumbing permit must be obtained at the Cohoes Building Department (see section on Plumbing Permits).

Electrical Work: If there will be any electrical work involved, application for inspection must be made with a City approved electrical inspection agency (see section on Electrical Permits).

Driveways or Curb Cuts: If the work includes installing or resurfacing a driveway or cutting the curb. Paving a large area (2,000 sq. ft. or more) also requires a building permit (see above).

Historic District or Landmark Buildings: Special standards and reviews apply to properties within a historic district or which are designated as landmarks. For further information, call 233-2130

A permit is required to perform electrical work in the City of Cohoes.

Electrical work performed in the City is approved electrical inspection agency and an approval certificate must be issued to the owner and the City.

An electrical permit is required for:

The installation of any other wiring and/or electrical devices not mentioned above and will require an application for inspection with a City approved electrical inspection agency.

An electrical permit is not required for:

1. Replacement of defective devices with directly interchangeable types, for example: fuses, lamps, switches (when closing boxes are not disturbed), ballasts, relays, timers, and similar devices that do not disturb the fixed wiring system.
2. Electrical work that contains less than 25 volts for its operation, for example: doorbell circuits.

Who can do electrical work?

The owner-occupant of a single-family dwelling may perform electrical work within his/her own dwelling without having a licensed electrician, but he or she must still obtain an electrical permit at the City Cohoes Building Department and make application for inspection with a City approved electrical inspection agency in order that the work performed is inspected and approved.

In all instances, electrical work within the City must be inspected by a licensed electrician.  You may check to see if an electrical inspector is licensed by asking the prospective electrical inspector to show his wallet card. Your electrician must file for an electrical permit and an application for inspection with a City approved electrical agency before work starts.


When do you need a plumbing permit?

A plumbing permit is required to

1. Install or replace a plumbing fixture (bathtub, shower, water heater, etc.).
2. Install, repair or replace a water supply line, storm or sanitary drainage line or vent line.
3.Mechanical de-rooting of a sanitary drainage system to remove a blockage.

A plumbing permit is not required to

1. Replace a rubber or fiber washer in an existing faucet.
2. Use a rubber plunger to remove a blockage drainage system.

Who can do plumbing work?

The owner-occupant of a single-family dwelling may perform his/ or her own plumbing work, but must first obtain a plumbing permit at the Cohoes Building Department.

Before a plumber starts work, ask to see the plumbing permit. Only emergency repairs can be made before a plumbing permit is issued, but a permit must be obtained within 48 hours of an emergency repair and the work must be inspected.

Where Do You Get A Building or Plumbing Permit?

At the Cohoes Building Department on the second floor of the City Hall 233-2127. The office is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

How do you get a permit?

An owner or his contractor can apply for the permit. Depending on the type of work planned, you may need a survey of the property and plans or drawings that show details of construction. You can call ahead to check.

Permit applications must be checked against the various codes the City enforces - building, housing, plumbing, zoning, preservation, etc. Specially trained staff in the Cohoes Building Department will help you with this process. In most cases fees are based upon the cost of the project; in some cases the fees are pre-set. You can call ahead to check.

When a permit application is approved, a permit card is issued and must be displayed on the job until the work is finished. A set of approved construction plans should remain on the job site during the period of construction.  Inspections of the work are performed to insure the project complies with the code and is performed professionally.


Permits - Demolition

The City Code requires that demolition work be done only after the issuance of a demolition permit.

Applicants are required when requested to submit a debris disposal plan, rodent control certificate, photographs, workmen's compensation certificate (if work not performed by an individual) and liability insurance. Applicants are also required to complete an Environmental Assessment Form. A water abandonment and/or obstruction/barricade may also be required.

How the Service is Obtained:

Applicants may come to the Building Department, second floor, City Hall 233-2127, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.



Permit Type


Dumpster Permit

$15 on owner's property

$30 on street with a building permit
$60 on street without a building permit

Utility Street Excavation


Building Permit

$50 Minimum, if cost of project is more than $5,000, permit is 1% of the total cost of the project


$30 Minimum, if cost of fence is more than $3,000, permit is 1% of the total cost 


$250 for Commercial or Dwelling
$75 Accessory Structure


$50 Minimum, if cost of driveway is more than $5,000, permit is 1% of the total cost


$50 Minimum, if cost of sidewalk is more than $5,000, permit is 1% of the total cost 


Questions or Concerns:

General information may be obtained by calling the Building Department, second floor, City Hall 518-233-2127 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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