Turning Your New York City Roof Into a Terrace Garden

Terrace Garden Design in NYC

In New York, there’s a lot you can do with your roof or terrace design from green roofs to full-scale commercial-use outdoor terrace lounges. For some roof and terrace renovations permits are required, and for others such as a some green roof options, permits may not be required. If what you are considering for your roof or terrace is on a more major level of construction, keep reading to find out what steps you need to take in obtaining proper building permits for your project.

First and foremost, any roof terrace garden with decking, a floating deck, and outdoor luxuries like outdoor kitchens, gas grills, spas and fireplaces all required formal design plans. Licensed engineers and architects will work with you create an up-to-code plan that can be submitted on your behalf by S & M Expediting services. Once we obtain plan approval from the DOB we can then obtain the necessary permits for you and your general contractor so construction can start right away.

What kind of permits do I need for a roof or terrace renovation?
Renovating your terrace or rooftop in New York is a lot like renovating any other part of your home. There is no blanket “roof” or “terrace” permit, but yet a general construction permit for any decking that is fully anchored to your roof or terrace. There is such a thing as a floating deck that is not anchored to your property and in some cases can be considered patio furniture and this type of deck may not require a permit. If a floating deck is something you are considering you should still have an engineer submit plans on your design before you begin any DIY installation. If the size of deck exceeds New York’s combustable materials limits you could be left dealing with an expensive violation removal in the future.

Adding a spa with a hot tub and outdoor shower is a popular option for some of New York’s more upscale properties. For this addition to your design, plumbing permits are required. A plumbing permit is also required for any kind of outdoor grill running from a building’s main gas line. This is a great option for roofs and terraces with outdoor kitchens. For other wood burning fireplace options permits are likely required as well.

Other things to keep in mind when planning a terrace or rooftop overhaul are the fire and safety codes if what you are remodeling has customary all-occupant access. Your insurance company will need to know about any construction for community areas especially in the case of a business–like a rooftop bar and lounge. They will adjust your policy and rates accordingly.

Before you go any further with your design plans, your first step will be to have a licensed engineer certify the roof as being capable of carrying the extra load of decking, stone pavers, seating, accessories and the people who will use the space. This is usually required for anything that’s added to a roof including AC units and other mechanical units.

For terrace design specifically
Any terrace enclosure made of waterproof and weather resistant materials such as glass or solid walls always requires a permit. For open-air terrace enclosures such as screens, a permit is required for construction above 40 feet.

And lastly, many green roofing options (a popular option that can help keep your building cooler in the summer and is tax exempt in some cases) do not require a permit if the green material used is no more than 4 inches thick.

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