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Here’s What You Must Do "Step by Step" Before Your Renovation Even Begins

Updated: Oct 4, 2018


You’ve made the decision to renovate your property. Now what? Before even one wall is knocked down, there is an entire “pre-process” that must be implemented. This includes design planning, fulling legal requirements/permitting, obtaining financing, and creating full architectural “before-and-after” drawings.


At first, it seems like a nightmarish maze of paperwork and bureaucracy, but the system actually works to your benefit when you approach it in phases. It’s not overwhelming when you take it step by step; you’ll save time, money, and the need to backtrack.


Here is the pre-process:


Create an existing floor plan. Your designer will take exact measurements of your property and draw it as it exists in its current condition.


Create a proposed floor plan. From there, new floor plans are created. Essentially, these plans will show what your new layout will look like on each floor. Estimated time frame for this initial design process: four weeks.


These existing and proposed plans must be completed before you seek financing from a bank.

Remember that the proposed designs are a starting-off point. More details will be added before it is all finalized.


File these plans with the Department of Buildings. Any type of building or construction in the city requires a work permit. Most often, a New York State licensed Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA) must file plans and pull permits before work begins.

Permit types include construction, boiler, elevator, and plumbing (but there are more!). Keep in mind that there are separate permits for each type of trade work (electrical, mechanical, plumbing, etc.).


The primary permit applications are: New Building (NB) and Alterations Type, 1, 2 and 3:

NB: Construction of new structures

ALT1: Major alterations that will change use, egress or occupancy

ALT2: Multiple types of work, not affecting use, egress or occupancy

ALT3: One type of minor work, not affecting use, egress or occupancy


Click here to find out more (or ask us ! We can help you navigate the bureaucracy!).


Calculate construction budget. Once the floor plans are created, the budgeting can begin. Remember that a budget is not a contract (that comes later). The budget estimates costs and services, which may change as the project takes shape. Estimated time frame: about two weeks.


Seek financing. For timing’s sake, this process actually should begin between the floor planning phase and the budgeting phase. In order to determine how much financing will be granted to you, the bank will need to calculate the property’s value. An inspection of the property and a marketing analysis of the surrounding area will be ordered, and the amount of equity in the property will be considered.


Finalize the design package. Once permits and finances are secured, the design package can be completed, which includes elevation drawings and other additional details. From there, the package goes to your hired architects and engineers for processing.


The difference between elevation drawings and floor plans: Elevation drawings show the front and sides of objects. Floor plans show those objects only from above, as if you are looking down from the ceiling. Elevation drawings, therefore, are more three-dimensional and contain more detail.


Call for proposals. You’ll need the help of an entire team to get the job done, from architect to engineer to designer. A typical proposal from a team should include costs for a protection plan, demolition, rough and finished carpentry, stone and tile work, rough plumbing, electric, and mechanical systems work (and finishes). The finish work should include painting, floor finishing, final touch-ups and other details at the end of the project.


Click here to find out more about our product purchasing service, which helps you choose best options for fixtures and finishes.


Sign contracts. Make sure your contracts are as detailed as can be, containing bullet points describing every category of work. The more detail described in the contract, the clearer the communication will be between you and your contractors. Also, you’ll benefit from having more options if you need to reduce your budget or fine-tune renovation-related tasks.


Schedule demolition. This next step is the first step toward your renovation. The project is ready to begin!


Click here to discover our four non negotiable tips for preparing for your actual renovation.

Need more information or guidance? Click here , the DBe team can help you every step of the way.

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175 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014

81 Prospect Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

27 N. Broad Street, 2nd Floor, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

tel. 718-797-1335
fax.718-797-1368

info@dbe.nyc