Do You Need an Architect for a Renovation in NYC

by | Last updated Jul 8, 2023 | Architectural Services, New York City, Renovations

Many people in New York City want to renovate, whether it’s doing a full gut renovation or just remodeling your kitchen and bathrooms there are lots of questions you will need answered. One of the first is going to be: Do I need an architect for a renovation in NYC?

If you are removing or building new walls, relocating, or adding plumbing fixtures, and making any type of significant alterations, you will need an architect to acquire approvals from the NYC Department of Buildings to obtain permits to renovate in New York City. The architect will assess the existing conditions, design the proposed renovation, and assist during construction. 

I am Jorge Fontan, an architect in New York and owner of NYC based architecture firm Fontan Architecture. At our office we work on lots of renovations. In this post, I will go over some of the reasons you may need or may want to hire an architect for your renovation.


Renovation Design Architect  

I want to start explaining why you may want to hire an architect for your renovation in NYC by discussing the most basic principle: the design. An architect will assess the existing conditions and discuss your goals for the project, the architect will then come up with some design options and work with you throughout the process. Different architects offer different levels of service. At our firm we provide full service, so we help our clients with everything from the layout to selecting grout for the bathroom floor.


DOB Filing and Approvals

Many renovations in NYC require filing with the Department of Buildings, this depends on the scope of work. If you are building new walls, removing walls, moving plumbing fixtures etc… You will need an architect to file with the DOB. If you are changing the use, occupancy, or means of egress, you will need an architect and a new Certificate of Occupancy. If your property is in a Landmark Building or Landmark District you will also need an architect to obtain Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approvals.


Building Management Review

If you are in a Co-Op building, a Condominium, or leasing a commercial space you will need approval from your building management company and Board of Directors. Often the management of the building will request an architect for the project. In many cases they may have their own architect or engineer review your architect’s work. We have more information on this process in a post where we discuss Alteration Agreements.


Hiring an Architect for a Renovation in NYC

There are many reasons to hire an architect for a renovation project in New York City. If you are going to embark on a project to renovate you should start it off on the right foot, put together a well-qualified and trustworthy team that will be there to guide you through the process and make sure your project is a success.


Thank You for Reading Our Blog Post on Hiring An Architect for Your Renovation in NYC.

I hope this was helpful. If you would like to speak with an architect about a potential project, you can contact us at Fontan Architecture directly.


Contact Fontan Architecture

Jorge Fontan

Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.