What You Need to Know About NY Roof Deck Regulations

It’s very common for most buildings to have decks on the roof in NYC. There are various purposes that decks serve. Besides adding to the beauty and aesthetics of the house, they can also be used for recreational purposes. It’s no wonder why most buildings today are being constructed with a roof deck in New York City.

However, there are specific guidelines given by the Department of Building in New York if you are looking to have a roof deck on your building. As mentioned, roof decks are popular amenity spaces found mostly in commercial office buildings as well as some residential buildings and they are beneficial to both the owners, employees, visitors, customers as well as occupants.

The Department of Building in New York City had to review outdoor terraces in May of 2017 since the Zoning Resolution made in 1961 was viewed as unclear and confusing. The review saw the Department of Building later issue new guidelines regarding roof decks and terraces. Roof decks that are open to occupants residing in a building must be built in accordance with the

Construction Codes of NYC.

In addition, builders should give special attention to the egress (occupant loads, egress widths, number of exits, lighting, travel distances, etc.), loading (wind loads, dead and live things, etc.) as well as other safety requirements such as the height of the guardrail and parapet and their weight.

Compliance and Alterations

Roof decks and rooftops also need to comply with the Zoning Resolution. However, in certain zoning districts, property owners will be required to enclose their roof decks or terraces unless where regulations allow for it not to be enclosed due to the use such as in eating and drinking establishments or those that have outdoor table services.

For New Building (NB) and Alteration type 1filing, the occupied roof deck should be built in compliance with the NYC Construction Codes or then prior codes where permitted. The roof deck should be indicated on the permit form just the same way that other floors are indicated. This is to ensure that the information is reflected on the Certificate of Occupancy.

Those who need to make alterations to an already existing building will file for Alteration type 2 construction permit. If you are looking to convert your rooftop to an occupancy or use such as a deck, greenhouse, rooftop garden, etc. the conversion will be allowed and should be filed as an Alteration type 2 but there won’t be any need to amend or get a new Certificate of Occupancy as long as all the requirements are met.

Most importantly, when constructing a roof deck, you have to factor in the number of occupants especially for commercial buildings, the zoning use group and the building code occupancy, structural load as well as means of accessibility and egress. Adding a swimming pool on a deck is also not permitted unless the building has been structurally engineered to support that weight. Remember, for your roof deck construction; you still need to get a permit from the Department of Building before any work can commence.

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