How to do a Gut Renovation in New York

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Gut renovations are often confused with cosmetic remodels. While the two are somewhat interchangeable, they are slightly different and it’s important to understand the distinction before tackling your own house project.

A remodel means redoing only the visual aspect of your house. This can include ceilings, cabinets, lighting, flooring, etc. A gut renovation scrapes beneath the surface and aims to tackle the wiring, plumbing, and structural layout too. Under New York law, it is mandatory to file for a gut renovation before starting any work. This permit can be an Alteration Type 1 or Alteration Type 2 permit, depending upon the purpose and nature of the renovation.

What permits will you need to file?

A Type 1 Alteration permit is usually needed for significant renovation work. This is the kind of work that essentially changes the official occupancy of the house or apartment. But what does this mean? The occupancy of the area is considered altered when :

  • You change a residential space to a commercial one or vice versa.
  • You make any addition to the space that changes its purpose (e.g., tearing down a wall to convert an apartment to an art studio).
  • You make vertical enlargements on the space (pushing the roof further up or adding a new floor).
  • You make any other change that changes the number of occupants in the space (like adding an apartment or living space to your complex).

Most gut renovations usually require a Type 2 permit. This permit covers the following types of renovation:

  • All interior renovations.
  • Combining apartments.
  • Adding or removing rooms as long as the number of occupants doesn’t change. Occupancy refers to a total compliance of the construction design with all local laws and standards. This is done to ensure that the apartment is safe and authorized to reside people).
  • Adding a new bedroom or bathroom.
  • Any other renovation that doesn’t change the purpose of the space.
  • Horizontal enlargements (Patio/backyard extensions).

Things to consider while doing a Gut Renovation in New York:

A basic gut renovation in NYC costs anywhere between $100 to $400 per square foot depending on the finishing and the extent of customization. In extreme cases, this figure can be as high as $800 per square foot.

  1. Legal Requirements
  2. If the building being renovated was built before April 1st, 1987, it needs to be tested for asbestos levels. Additionally, any renovation conducted inside a landmark building should be filed with the Landmarks Preservation Commission or the LPC.

  3. Adding a Room
  4. New York law suggests the following parameters for all rooms (or living areas). You need to make sure your gut renovation doesn’t violate any of these standards:

    • All rooms should have a minimum of 80 square feet of floor space, with at least one room being 150 square foot.
    • All rooms (except for sheds, kitchens, and bathrooms) must maintain a minimum height, width, and depth of 8 feet.
    • In apartments with three or more bedrooms, half the rooms (rounded down so half of three will be considered one) can have minimum dimensions of seven feet.
    • As for lighting, at least 75% of all the lights in these spaces should be high efficacy.

  5. Upgrading the Kitchen and Bathrooms
  6. You can expect to pay anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000 to renovate a NYC kitchen. This price can go up to $90,000 if you opt for a top-of-the-line finish and designer fixtures. Countertops and backsplashes cost around $25 per square foot (with installation). Made-to-order marble or quartz tops can cost up to $100 per square foot.

    Renovating a 5 by 7 square foot bathroom in New York costs between $25,000 to $50,000. It tends to be expensive because gut jobs usually take care of the layout and plumbing changes too, which is complex and therefore incurs additional costs.

If you are looking to renovate your house, get in touch with us at Block to learn more!

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