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  Frequently Asked Questions
  • When is a permit required?
  • What is an ordinary repair?
  • What is minor work?
  • Whose responsibility is it to secure permits?
  • Who can prepare plans for permits?
  • What are required inspections?
  • Can manufacturer's installation specifications supersede a code requirement?
  • Can work proceed if inspections are not made within three business days?
  • What are the requirements for Certificate of Occupany?
  • When is one subject to a monetary penalty?
  • When can one appeal a decision of a code-enforcing agency?
  • Who to contact in the State for assistance?
  • Where can one purchase code books?


    (a) It shall be unlawful to construct, enlarge, alter or demolish a structure, or change the occupancy of a building or structure requiring greater strength, exit way or sanitary provisions, or to change a different use group, or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by this chapter, or to undertake a project involving lead abatement in accordance with 5:17, without first filing an application with the construction official or the appropriate sub code official where the construction involves only one trade or in writing and obtaining the required permit therefor.

    (b) The following are exceptions from (a) above:

    1. Ordinary repairs as defined by NJAC 5:23-2.7 shall not require a permit or notice to the enforcing agency;
    2. Minor work as defined by NJAC 5:23-2.17A shall require a permit. However, work may proceed upon notice to the enforcing agency, before the permit is issued;
    3. Emergency work not involving lead abatement, except that a permit shall be applied for or notice given as soon thereafter as is practicable, but not later than 72 hours thereafter.
    4. Permit requirements for tents and membraned structures shall be as set forth in NJAC 5:23-3.14(b)16i. A temporary greenhouse meeting the criteria set forth in NJAC 5:23-3.14(b) shall not require a permit except as otherwise provided in NJAC 5:23-3.14(b)16i(5).
    5. Gas utility company shall not be required to obtain a permit or give notice to the enforcing agency for replacement of interior gas utility company-owned metering (meter and related appurtenances) by exterior gas utility company owned-metering if the work is performed by qualified employees of the gas utility company.

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    NJAC 5:23 - 9.3

    Interpretation - Ordinary Repairs

    (a) The following items are ordinary repairs and shall be treated as such by every enforcing agency.  No permits for, inspections of, or notice to the enforcing agency of ordinary repairs shall be required.  This is not an all-inclusive listing of ordinary repairs.

    1.  Ordinary building repairs include:

    i.  Exterior and interior painting;
    ii.  Installation, repair or replacement of any interior finishes of less than 25% of the wall area in any given room, in a one- or two-family dwelling.  This shall include plastering and drywall installation.
    (1) Vinyl wall covering of any amount is an ordinary repair.
    (2) Paneling shall not be considered an ordinary repair.
    iii.  Wall papering at any location;
    iv.  The replacement of glass in any window or door.  However, the replacement glass shall be of a type and quality that complies with the minimum requirements of the code;
    v.  The installation or replacement of any window or door, including garage doors, in the same opening without altering the dimensions or framing of the original opening.  This shall include storm windows and storm doors.  "(Any new window or door shall be of the same type and operation as the existing window or door and conform to the requirements of the code regarding means of egress and emergency escape)" "The installation and replacement of means of egress and emergency escape windows and doors may be made in the same opening without altering the dimensions or framing of the original opening, and shall not reduce the required height, width or net clear opening of the previous window or door assembly.";
    vi.  The repair of any nonstructural member such as a "(railing)" "partition railing or kitchen cabinet";
            vii.  The repair or replacement of any interior or exterior trim, decoration or moldings;
          viii.  The replacement or installation of any flooring material, except carpeting, with a new material.  However, installation of carpeting in one- and two-family dwellings will be permitted under ordinary repairs.
            ix.  The repair of existing roofing material not exceeding 25% of the total roof area within any  period.
    x.  The repair of existing siding with like material not exceeding 25% of the total building exterior wall area within any  period.
    xi.  The repair or replacement of any part of a porch or stoop which does not structurally support a roof above.
            xii.  The replacement or installation of screens.
          xiii.  The replacement of any roll or batt insulation when installed adjacent to or not more than one and a half inches from an interior finish, and;
            xiv.  Replacement of exterior rain water gutters and leaders.

    2.  Ordinary plumbing repairs include:

    i.  Replacement of hose bib valves in single-family dwellings.  Replacement hose bib valves shall be provided with an approved atmospheric vacuum breaker;
    ii.  Re finishing of existing fixtures.  Relining of fixtures shall not be considered an ordinary repair;
            iii.  Replacement of ball cocks.  Replacement ball cocks must be an approved anti-siphon type.
            iv.  Repairs of leaks involving the replacement of piping between two adjacent joints only;
    v.  Clearance of stoppages;
            vi.  Replacements of faucets or working parts of faucets;
            vii.  Replacements of working parts of valves;
          viii.  Replacements of traps except for traps on culinary sinks in food-handling establishments "(and)"
            ix.  Replacement of a water closet or lavatory or kitchen sink in a single-family dwelling with an approved similar fixture provided that no change in the piping arrangement is made. "Replacement water closets bearing a date of July 1, 1991, or later, must use an average of 1.6 gallons or less of water per flushing cycle;and
    x.  Replacement of domestic clothes washers and dishwashers."

    3.  Ordinary electrical repairs include:

    i.  The replacement of any receptacle, switch, or lighting fixture rated at 20 amps or less and operating at less than 150 volts to ground with a like or similar item.  Replacement of receptacles in locations where  circuit interrupter protection is required in the electrical subcode, shall not be considered ordinary electrical repairs;
            ii.  Repairs to any installed electrically-operated equipment such as doorbells, communication systems, and any motor operated device.  Provided, however, that if fire-protection systems are interupted for repairs, the fire official shall be notified in accordance with the building subcode; "(and)"
            iii.  Installation of communications wiring as covered by article 800 of the electrical subcode in one- and two-family dwellings, or the alteration/rearrangement of existing communications wiring in other occupancies provided, however, that the rearrangement does not involve penetration of a fire-rated assembly and is not in a hazardous location as defined in chapter 5 of the electrical subcode "(.)" "; and
    iv.  Replacement of domestic dishwashers and
    v.  Replacement of kitchen range hoods in single-family dwellings."

    4.  Ordinary fire protection repairs include:

    i.  The replacement of any sprinkler or smoke detector or heat detector head with a like device and
            ii.  The repair or replacement of any component of a fire-alarm or smoke- and heat-detection equipment.

    5.  Ordinary heating ventilation and air conditioning repairs shall include:

    i.  Replacement of motors, pumps and fans of the same capacity;
            ii.  Repair and replacement of heating, supply and return piping and radiation elements which does not require rearrangement of the piping system.
            iii.  Repair and replacement of duct work;
            iv.  Repair of air conditioning equipment and systems, and
        v.  Repair or replacement of control devices for
    heating and air conditioning equipment "(.)" "and
            vi.  Replacement of kitchen range hoods in single-family dwellings."

    6.  Ordinary elevator repairs include:

    i.  The following work on elevator brakes:
    (1) Installation of new linings;
    (2) Replacement of brake switches, brake stand pivot bushings, and bearings or the reaming out and use of oversized pins.  Replacement or repair of brake magnets, magnet coils and/or core sleeves.
    (3) Renewal of phase-splitting coils; and
    (4) Re-babbitting of brake pin holes (gearless), and realigning of brake stands to pulleys.
    ii.  The following controller/selector repairs;
    (1) Installation of overload relays and potential switches, and installation of replacement of reverse phase relays;
    (2) Replacement of damages resistance tubes, grids, broken controller panel sections, main power or brake rectifiers, power and light transformers, and microprocessor printed circuit boards.  Replacement or reconditionaing of dash pots and retarders.  Replacement of a controller with a like or with the state-of-the-art controller when only those features which are available on the existing controller will be made functional;
    (3) Rewinding of generator armatures, commutators, commutator brushes, and turning down and undercutting of commutators;
    (4) Removal for testing on a workbench, reinsulating, banding and reinstallation of motor generators and
    (5) Repair of solid state drives and adjustments of generator;
    iv.  The following work on hoist motors:
    (1) Installation or renewal of bearing oil gauges, renewal of sleeve or ball bearings, and re-babbitting of sleeve bearings (gearless);
    (2) Replacement of motor armatures, rotors, motor collector rings, commutators, commutator brushes, and turning down and undercutting of commutators.
    (3) Rewinding of stators, armatures, and field coils, and
    (4) Removal for testing on a workbench, reinsulation, banding and reinstallation of hoist motors and realignment of motors to worm shafts.
    v.  The following work on machines;
    (1) Installation of new demountable drive sheave rims, new drive shafts, new integral drive sheaves, split couplings;

    (2) Replacement of worms, gears, worm shaft housings, thrust bearings, thrust housings, external ring gears and pinions, machine drums, solid drive sheaves with demountable drive sheaves, and sheave bearing.  Replacement or repair of stop motion switches, slack cable switches, replacement of drive sheave linings.  Regrooving of drive sheaves;
    (3) Re-babbitting of main bearings, external gears and bearings and worm shaft housings;
    (4) Renewal of sleeve bearings, drum buffers, and drum shafts;
    (5) Re-securing of loose brake pulleys and realignment of brake pulleys with motor gear shaft; and
    (6) Removal of bearing shims.
    vi.  The following work on hoist ropes, compensating ropes and compensating chains:
    (1) Replacement or re-socketing of hoist ropes and replacement of compensating ropes or chains, governor ropes and hitches; and
    (2) Shortening of hoist ropes due to a rope stretch.
    vii.  The following work on governors:
    (1) Recalibration, sealing and reconditioning of governors, or replacement of governors with like equipment; and
    (2) Replacement of reconditioning of governor rope tension sleaves.
          viii.  The following work on overhead, deflector, car and counterweight sheaves:
    (1) Replacement or repair of sheaves, sheave bearings and sheave shafts; and
    (2) Re-babbitting of sheave bearings.
    xi.  The following work on hoistways:
    (1) Replacement of traveling cables and other hoistway wiring;
    (2) Repair of counterweights, hoistway switches, hydraulic pistons, oil lines in the pit, and repacking of packing glands; and
    (3) Repair or replacement of hoistway door equipment, rollers relating cables, gibs, hail buttons, lanterns, position indicator stations, and all exiting related equipment, selector tapes, cables, dust covers, toe guards and hoistway fascia, and repair or replacement of all existing pit equipment with like equipment.
    x.  The following work on rails and guides:
    (1) Realignment or replacement of main or counterweight rail sections with like products; and
    (2) Repair or replacement of guide shoe liners or car and counterweight guides with like product.
    xi.  The following work on cabs:
    (1) Installation or replacement of main and auxillary car operating panels, emergency lighting, communication devices, door protective and reopening devices, car position indicators, and in-car lanterns;
    (2) Repair or replacement of operating station on top of cars, door operating devices, motors, linkages, hangers, etc., hoistway door drive mechanisms, clutches, etc., side emergency exit latching devices and electrical switches, floor leveling and selector drive devices, terminal slow down and limiting devices, load weighing devices (on top of car and under car isolation), keyless entry and security devices, top of car intrusion devices, closed-circuit TV surveillance devices, lighting fixtures in the car on top of the car and under the car, and
    (3) Replacement of ceilings with code approved materials, and of door saddles, cab flooring, walls and panels with materials equivalent to those being replaced in respect to weight and fire resistance.

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    NJAC 5:23 - 2.17A(c)

    (c) Minor Work:

    1.  Minor work shall mean and include the construction or total replacement of any porch or stoop which does not provide structural support for any roof or portion of a building; the construction or alteration of any rooms within an existing one- or two-family dwelling, provided that no structural members are altered in any way; the removal and replacement of more than 25% of the exterior siding of a one- or two-family dwelling.

    2.  Minor work shall also mean and include the replacement of any existing plumbing piping work with new and approved material of like capacity; the installation of drinking fountains and condensate drains in existing structures; the replacement of existing low-pressure hot water heaters with new ones of like capacity; and the new installation of lavatories, water closets, tubs, showers, washers or dishwashers, and garbage disposers in existing space of one- and two-family dwellings where the new installation of additional fixtures can be accommodated with no increase in the size of the water distribution system, water service or house drain;

    3.  Minor work shall also mean and include new electrical work incidental to the installation of air conditioning, equipment, clothes dryers, and ranges or ovens in one- and two-family dwellings; the installation of five or less 110 or 220 volt receptacles or fixtures where existing circuits and/or available space circuits and service are adequate to support the load; the replacement of existing wiring with new wiring of the same capacity provided that the new wiring shall be of a type approved for the use by the code;

    4.  Minor work shall also mean and include the installation of any fire detection or suppression device in any one- or two-family dwelling; installation of a radon mitigation system in an existing detached one- or two-family dwelling; the installation of a burglar alarm or security system in any structure and the installation of a low voltage communication system in any structure other than a one- or two-family dwelling.

    5.  Minor work shall not include lead abatement.

    6.  Minor work on elevator devices shall also mean and include work as outlined below and not involving any structural alteration to a building and as scoped within the applicable sections of Part XII of ASME A17.1 referenced in the building subcode:

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    NJAC 5:23 - 2.15(d)

    (d) Application for a permit shall be made by the owner, or his agent, a licensed engineer, architect or plumbing, electrical or other contractor employed in connection with the proposed work.  If the application is by a person other than the owner in fee, it shall be accompanied by an affidavit of the owner or the authorized person making the application, that the proposed work is authorized by the owner in fee, and that the applicant is authorized to make such application.  All issued permits shall remain the property of the owner even if the application was made by a contractor or authorized agent.

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    NJAC 5:23 - 2.15(e)vii

    vii.  Architect's or engineer's seal: The seal and signature of the registered architect or licensed engineer who prepared the plans shall be affixed to each sheet of each copy of the plans submitted and on the first or title sheet of the specifications and any additional supportive information submitted.  The construction official shall waive the requirement for sealed plans in the case of a single-family home owner who had prepared his own plans for the construction, alteration or repair of a structure used or intended to be used exclusively as his private residence, and to be constructed by himself, providing that the owner shall submit an affidavit attesting to the fact that he has prepared the plans and provided further that said plans are in the opinion of the construction official, and appropriate subcode official, legible and complete for purposes of ensuing compliance with the regulations.

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    NJAC 5:23 - 2.18(b)

    (b) Inspections during the progress of work:

    1.  The construction official and appropriate subcode officials shall carry out such periodic inspections during the progress of work as are necessary to insure that work installed conforms to the approved plans and the requirements of the regulations.
    i.  Inspection by all subcodes for one- and two-family dwellings for which construction must cease until inspection is made shall be limited to four as follows:
    (1) The bottom of footing trenches before placement of footings, except that in the case of pile foundations, inspections shall be made in accordance with the requirements of the building subcode;
    (2) Foundations and all walls up to grade level prior to back filling;
    (3) All structural framing and connections prior to covering with finish or infill material; plumbing underground services, rough piping, water service, sewer, septic services and storm drains; electrical rough wiring, panels and service installations; insulation installations;
    (4) Installation of all finished materials, sealings of exterior joints; plumbing piping, trim and fixtures; electrical wiring, devices and fixtures; mechanical systems equipment.
    ii.  Inspections for all subcodes, of construction other than one- and two-family dwellings shall be limited to those required for one- and two-family dwellings and the following fire-suppression systems; heat producing devices; any inspections required by any subcode of the regulations;
            iii.  Any additional inspections, as permitted by this chapter and as may be required by the municipality, shall be of the type and nature that construction may continue without interruption.
    iv.  Special inspection schedule: Where buildings proposed for construction exceed two stories in height or by their nature pose complex or unusual inspection problems, the construction official or appropriate subcode official may specify additional or special inspections to the applicant in writing prior to the issuance of a permit and during the construction in the case of unforeseeable circumstances.  Where Class I structures incorporate construction techniques covered under the special inspection provisions of the building subcodes, such special inspections shall be provided for.  The applicant shall provide a list of special inspections required by the ???????

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    NJAC 5:23 - 3.6

    Standards; Accepted Practice

    This chapter, together with the subcodes, national standards and appendices it adopts by reference, are the primrary guide to accepted engineering practice in respect to any material, equipment, system or method of construction therein specified.  When this chapter and the subcodes, national standards and appendices it adopts by reference are silent, a manufacturer's recommendations for the installation of any material or assembly shall be considered to be accepted engineering practice; provided, however, that a manufacturer's recommendations shall not be read to overrule this chapter or any subcode, national standard or appendix which it adopts by reference.

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    NJAC 5:23-2.18 (c)

    (c) Notice for Inspection:

    1.  The owner or other responsible person in charge of work shall notify the enforcing agency when the work is ready for any required inspection specified herein or required by the construction official or appropriate subcode official.  This notice shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the time the inspection is desired.  Inspections shall be performed within three business days of the time for which it was requested.  The work shall not proceed in a manner which will preclude the inspection until it has been made.

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    NJAC 5:23-2.23 (a through e) and (j)

    Certificate Requirements

    (a) New buildings: A building or structure hereafter erected shall not be used or occupied in whole or part until a form of certificate of occupancy shall have been issued by the construction official.

    1.  The enforcing agency shall upon application by the owner issue a certificate of occupany when all requirements of the regulations have been met.

    (b) Building hereafter altered: A building or structure hereafter enlarged, extended or altered shall not be occupied or used until the certificate of occupancy shall have been issued by the construction official certifying that the work has been completed in accordance with the provisions of the approved permit, except as is provided in the regulations.  Any use or occupany which was not discontinued during the work of alteration, shall be discontinued within 30 calendar days after the completion of the aleration unless the certificate of occupany is secured from the enforcing agency.

    (c) Existing buildings: Upon request of the owner of an existing building or structure, the construction official, with the approval of the subcode officials, shall issue a certificate of continued occupancy provided that there are not violations of law or orders of the construction official pending and it is established after inspection and investigation of available municipal records that the alleged use of the building or structure has lawfully existed.  The certificate of continued occupancy shall evidence only that a general inspection of the visible parts of the building has been made, and that no violations on NJAC 5:23-2.14 have been determined to have occurred and no unsafe conditions violative of NJAC 5:23-2.32(a) have been found.  Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the continued lawful use and occupany of any such lawfully existing building or structure.

    (d) Change of use: After a change of use has been made in a building or structure, the reestablishment of a prior use that is not legal in a new building of the same type of construction is prohibited unless the building complies with all applicable provisions of the regulations.  A change from one prohibited use for which a permit has been granted to another prohibited use shall be deemed a violation of the regulations.

    (c) Temporary certificate of occupany: Upon the request of a holder of a permit, the construction official may issue a temporary certificate of occupancy for a building or structure or part thereof before the entire work covered by the permit shall have been completed, provided such portion or portions may be occupied safely prior to full completion of the building or structure without endangering life or public welfare.

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    NJAC 5:23 - 2.31(b)

    (b) Penalties;

    1.  Any person or corporation, including an officer, director or employee of a corporation, shall be subject to a penalty of not more than $500.00 if that person:
    i.  Violates any of the provisions of the act or the regulations;
    ii.  Constructs a structure or building in violation of a condition of a building permit;
            iii.  Fails to comply with any order issued by an enforcing agency or the department.
            iv.  Makes a false or misleading written statement, or omits any required information or statement in any application or request for approval to an enforcing agency or the department.

    2.  Anyone who knowingly refused entry or access to an inspector lawfully authorized to inspect any premises, building or structure pursuant to the act or the regulations, or ho unreasonably interferes with such an inspection, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $250.00.

    3.  With respect to (b)1iii above, a person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each day that he fails to comply with a stop construction order validly issued by an enforcing agency or the department and for each week that he fails to comply with any other order validly issued by an enforcing agent or the department.
    With respect to (b)1i and iv above, a person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each violation of any provision of the act or the regulations and for each false or misleading written statement or omission of required information or statement made in any application or request for approval to an enforcing agency or the department.
    With respect to (b)1ii above, a person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each violation of conditions of a construction permit.

    4.  No such penalty shall be assessed except upon notice of violation and orders to terminate and upon the expiration of the time period delineated in the notice; except that in a case of a false or misleading statement pursuant to (b)1iv above, the failure to obtain a construction permit or request required inspections, or allowance of occupancy prior to receipt of a certificate of occupancy, an order to pay a penalty shall be issued immediately upon the discovery of the violation.

    5.  The construction official may separately serve a notice of penalty assessment and order to pay a penalty, whenever he shall not have done so in the original notice and orders.

    6.  The penalties pursuant to this section may be collected in a summary proceeding pursuant to the "Penalty Enforcement Law" (NJSA 2A:58-1 et seq.).  Jurisdiction to enforce such penalties is conferred upon judges of the municipal court in addition to the courts specified by NJSA 2A:58-2.  Suit may be brought by a municipality of the State of New Jersey.  Payment of a money judgment pursuant hereto shall be remitted in the case of a suit brought by a municipality to the municipal treasurer and in the case of a suit brought by the State of New Jersey to the State Treasurer.

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    NJAC 5:23-2.35 (a through d)

    Applicant's Right of Appeal; Procedure

    (a) Whenever an enforcing agency shall deny an application for a construction permit, fail to act upon an application for a construction permit, fail to act upon an application for a certificate of occupany, refuse to grant a variation pursuant to this subchapter, or make any other decision pursuant or related to the act or the regulations, including the assessment of any monetary penalties, an owner or his authorized agent may appeal to the construction board of appeals.

    (b) The application for appeal shall be taken within 20 business days of the receipt of written notice of the denial or other decision of the enforcing agency.

    (c) The application for appeal shall be in writing, filed with the board, briefly setting forth the appellant's position.  Such application shall state the name and address of the appellant, the address of the building or site in question, the permit number, and shall reference the specific sections of the regulations in question, and the extent and nature of the appellant's reliance on them.  The appellant may append to his written application any data or information that he may deep appropriate to his cause.

    1.  The enforcing agency shall make available to the board the full record of the application below, which shall include a detailed information of the reasons for the denial of the appellant's request.

    (d) The application shall be accompanied by a fee in the sum of $50.00 unless established otherwise by the local or county governing body.  An application shall not be considered complete unless accompanied by the appeal fee.  In the case of appeal based on the failure of the enforcing agency to act within any time frame specified, the fee shall be waived.

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    Department of Community Affairs
    Bureau of Regulatory Affairs
    CN 816
    Trenton, NJ 08625
    (609) 530-8848

    Department of Community Affairs
    Bureau of Technical Services
    CN 816
    Trenton, NJ 08625
    (609) 530-8797

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    NJ Department of Community Affairs
    Division of Codes and Standards
    Attn: Cecilia Heredia
    CN 816
    Trenton, NJ 08625-0816

    BOCA International
    4051 W. Flossmoor Road
    County Club Hills, Il 60478-5795
    1-708-799-2300 ext. 242 or 248

    National Fire Protection Association
    1 Batterymarch Park
    PO Box 9101
    Quincy, MA 02269-9101

    National Standard Plumbing Code
    PO Box 6808
    Falls Church, VA 22046

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