By Mary Marvin, Bronxville Mayor
Jul. 8, 2020: Now that Westchester County is in the phase that allows nonessential construction projects, I thought it appropriate to share some of the procedures and processes of our building department.
Though actual construction was halted, our department made processing permits a high priority, so when the industry opened up again, projects could start immediately. As a result, we do not have a backlog in the department.
Before starting a project, we encourage all property owners to call the Building Department at 914-337-3750 to see if there is a permit required as work started without a permit will be stopped with substantial monetary penalties to attach.
All of our applications can be found on the Village website, and all fees and requirements are listed there as well. An application completed in its entirety with a phone number and email of a primary contact for the work being done will greatly speed up processing. Completed applications may be dropped off at the main entrance of Village Hall or by mail.
The normal turnaround time for plan review for most applications is three weeks, but the department makes every effort to process the applications as quickly as possible. The more complete the application, the sooner it is processed.
The Building Department updates its website often, and most questions can be answered there. All of our applications are also found on the website, with all fees and requirements listed.
The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions directed to the Building Department:
-Construction work is prohibited between 6 PM and 8 AM weekdays and on weekends per Village Code Chapter 210-8E. However, any work producing excessive noise may violate the village noise ordinance regardless of whether the work required a permit if done after hours or on weekends.
-Emergency work requires approval from the building department. Call 914-337-3750, leave a message with a callback number and address of work if you need assistance. The building inspector will respond to your request.
-Contractors may purchase buyouts for parking spaces for the duration of small projects.
-The importance of hiring a very reputable and skilled contractor is paramount to ensure the safety of any construction project. Issues to clarify with a prospective contractor include:
*Verify that the contractor is properly licensed for all the work to be undertaken.
*Check how many building permits the contractor has obtained in the Village in the past two years. This is important as contractors familiar with local building code requirements and permitting processes always have a better understanding of the requirements.
*Require proof of general liability insurance and Workmen's Comp. Insurance before signing documents.
*Ask for a list of past clients.
*Check whether subs will be involved, their competency, agree on a payment schedule, and designate a point person as the project supervisor.
-Ask for a pre-project meeting with the Building Department so you are fully versed as to what building permits will be required. Permits are always needed, even for small projects, if related to plumbing, electrical and mechanical changes.
-They are also needed for walkways, patios, sheds, emergency generators, roof replacements, new and replacement fences and swimming pools holding more than two feet of water.
-As to walkways, residents are responsible for the sidewalks that abut one's property, including re-pavement. If you notice a village sidewalk needing repair, contact the Village Building Department, and staff will send a notice to cure. No monetary penalties will attach unless the notice is ignored.
-When undertaking projects, it is important to be guided by home safety, be it electrical, structural, water-related, or fireproofing, not only for your family's well-being but also for your neighbors. It is especially important in a village such as ours as 40% of our residents live in multifamily units, and one neighbor's unsafe remodeling could directly impact another's home safety.
Some of the guideposts for good home safety include:
-The need for smoke alarms on every floor and inside each bedroom. They should be tested monthly.
-Electrical cords should be regularly inspected and, if cracked or frayed, thrown away immediately. They should also never run under rugs or across doorways.
-Carbon monoxide alarms should be outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home and tested monthly.
-All emergency numbers and medical needs for everyone in your family should be posted in an obvious place, such as on the refrigerator door or bulletin board. This can be a lifesaver for EMTs should there be an emergency.
-Plan a location away from your home in the event of any fire or gas emergency. By meeting at the designated point, it will become quite clear who is or who is not safely out of the house. Also, have a plan as to pet rescue.
Net-net, reach out to the Building Department before starting any project if you have any questions. It will be a timesaver in the long run.
Photo by A. Warner
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.