Building construction — See Ch. 32.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 43.
Zoning — See Ch. 85.
§ 31-1Establishment of Building Department.
§ 31-2Appointment of Building Inspector.
§ 31-3Other employees.
§ 31-4Acting Building Inspector.
§ 31-5Restrictions on employees.
§ 31-6Relief from personal responsibility.
§ 31-7Duties And Powers Of Building Inspector.
§ 31-8Department records and reports.
§ 31-9Cooperation of other departments.
§ 31-10Application for building permit.
§ 31-11Issuance of building permit.
§ 31-12Performance of work under building permit.
§ 31-14Revocation of building permit.
§ 31-15Stop-work orders.
§ 31-16Right of entry.
§ 31-17Certificate of occupancy required.
§ 31-18Inspection prior to issuance of certificate.
§ 31-19Issuance of certificate of occupancy.
§ 31-20Temporary certificate of occupancy.
§ 31-22Unsafe buildings.
§ 31-23Penalties for offenses.
§ 31-24Abatement of violation.
§ 31-25Adoption of Fire Prevention and Building Code.
There is hereby established in the Incorporated Village of the Branch a department to be designated as the "Building Department" for the administration and enforcement of the provisions of all laws, ordinances, rules, regulations and orders applicable to the location, design, materials, construction, alteration, repair, equipment, maintenance, use, occupancy, removal and demolition of buildings and structures and their appurtenances located in the Village of the Branch.
The Department of Buildings shall be headed by a Village official designated as the "Building Inspector."
The Building Inspector shall be appointed by the Village Board of Trustees for a term of one year at a compensation to be fixed by the Village Board.
The Building Inspector may appoint such other employees as may be authorized from time to time by the Village Board to carry out the functions of the Building Department.
In the absence of the Building Inspector or in the case of his inability to act for any reason, the Mayor shall have the power, with the consent of the Village Board, to designate a person to act in his behalf and to exercise all of the powers conferred upon him by this chapter.
No officer or employee of the Building Department shall engage in any activity inconsistent with his duties or with the interests of the Building Department, nor shall be, during the term of his employment, be engaged directly or indirectly in any building business, in the furnishing of labor, materials or appliances for the construction, alteration or maintenance of a building or the preparation of plans or specifications thereof within the Village of the Branch, excepting only that this provision shall not prohibit any employee from such activities in connection with the construction of a building or structure owned by him.
No officer or employee of the Building Department shall, while acting pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, be personally liable for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as the result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his official duties, provided that such acts are performed in good faith and without gross negligence.
Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, ordinance or regulation, or except as herein otherwise provided, the Building Inspector shall administer and enforce all of the provisions of laws, ordinances and regulations applicable to the construction, alteration, repair, removal and demolition of buildings and structures and the installation and use of materials and equipment therein and the location, use, occupancy and maintenance thereof.
He shall receive applications and issue permits for the erection, alteration, removal and demolition of buildings or structures or parts thereof, and shall examine the premises for which such applications have been received or such permits have been issued for the purpose of ensuring compliance with laws, ordinances and regulations governing building construction.
He shall issue all appropriate notices or orders to remove illegal or unsafe conditions, to require the necessary safeguards during construction and to ensure compliance during the entire course of construction with the requirements of such laws, ordinances or regulations. He shall make all inspections which are necessary or proper for the carrying out of his duties, except that he may accept written reports of inspection from other Building Inspectors or employees of the Department of Buildings or from generally recognized and authoritative service and inspection bureaus, provided that the same are certified by a responsible official thereof.
Whenever the same may be necessary or appropriate to assure compliance with the provisions of applicable laws, ordinances or regulations covering building construction, he may require the performance of tests in the field by experienced professional persons or by accredited and authoritative testing laboratories or service bureaus or agencies.
The Building Inspector shall keep permanent official records of all transactions and activities of the Building Department, including all applications received, permits and certificates issued, fees charged and collected, inspection reports, and notices and orders issued. All such records shall be public records open to public inspection during business hours.
The Building Inspector shall annually submit to the Village Board of Trustees a written report and summary of all business conducted by the Building Department, including permits and certificates issued, fees collected, orders and notices promulgated, inspections and tests made and appeals or litigation pending.
The Building Inspector may request and shall receive, so far as may be necessary in the discharge of his duties, the assistance and cooperation of the Police, Fire and Health Departments and of all other municipal officials exercising any jurisdiction over the construction, use or occupancy of buildings or the installation of equipment therein.
No person, firm or corporation shall commence the erection, construction, enlargement, alteration, removal, improvement, demolition, conversion or change in the nature of the occupancy of any building or structure, or cause the same to be done, without first obtaining a separate building permit from the Building Department for each such building or structure, except that no building permit shall be required for the performance of ordinary repairs which are not structural in nature.
Application for a building permit shall be made to the Building Inspector on forms provided by the Building Department, and shall contain the following information:
A description of the land on which the proposed work is to be done.
A statement of the use or occupancy of all parts of the land and of the buildings or structures.
The valuation of the proposed work.
The full names and addresses of the owner and the applicant; the full names and addresses of the officers, directors and stockholders if either is a corporation, and a brief statement regarding their blood or marital relationship to a Village official, if any.
A brief description of the nature of the proposed work.
Such other information as may reasonably be required by the Building Inspector to establish compliance of the proposed work with the requirements of the applicable building laws, ordinances and regulations.
Applications shall be made by the owner or lessee, or agent of either, or by the architect, engineer or builder employed in connection with the proposed work. Where such application is made by a person other than the owner, it shall be accompanied by an affidavit of the owner or applicant that the proposed work is authorized by the owner and that the applicant is authorized to make such application.
Plans and specifications.
Each application for a building permit shall be accompanied by duplicate copies of plans and specifications, including a plot plan, drawn to scale, stamped with the seal of a licensed architect or a licensed professional engineer in the manner prescribed by law, showing the location and size of all proposed new construction and all existing structures on the site, the nature and character of the work to be performed and the materials to be incorporated, distance from lot lines, the relationship of structures on adjoining properties, widths and grades of adjoining streets, walks and alleys and, where required by the Building Inspector, details of structural, mechanical and electrical work, including computations, stress diagrams and other essential technical data.
Plans and specifications shall bear the signature of the person responsible for the design and drawings.
The Building Inspector may waive the requirement for filing plans.
Amendments to the application or to the plans and specifications accompanying the same may be filed at any time prior to the completion of the work, subject to the approval of the Building Inspector.
The Building Inspector shall examine or cause to be examined all applications for permits and the plans, specifications and documents filed therewith. He shall approve or disapprove the application within a reasonable time.
The Building Inspector shall not issue a building permit for the construction, erection or alteration of any building unless the street, road or highway giving access to the proposed structure is suitably improved and maintained to provide a safe, convenient and passable means of ingress and egress to the premises for all private, public and emergency vehicles. In the alternative, and in the disretion of the Planning Board, a performance bond sufficient to cover the full cost of the improvement of such street, road or highway, as estimated by the Board of Trustees, shall be furnished to the Village by the owner or owners of the property to be improved, as provided in § 179 of the Village Law.
Upon approval of the application and upon receipt of the legal fees therefor, the Building Inspector shall issue a building permit to the applicant upon the form prescribed by him and shall affix his signature or cause his signature to be affixed thereto.
Upon approval of the application, both sets of plans and specifications shall be endorsed with the word "approved." One set of such approved plans and specifications shall be retained in the files of the Department of Buildings, and the other set shall be returned to the applicant, together with the building permit, and shall be kept at the building site open to inspection by the Building Inspector or his authorized representative at all reasonable times.
If the application, together with plans, specifications and other documents filed therewith, describes proposed work which does not conform to all of the requirements of the applicable building regulations, the Building Inspector shall disapprove the same and shall return the plans and specifications to the applicant. Upon the request of the applicant, the Building Inspector shall cause such refusal, together with the reasons therefor, to be transmitted to the applicant in writing.
Any applicant for a building permit for new construction, where the property which is the subject of the permit has frontage on a street or road which has already been dedicated and accepted and is owned by the Village of the Branch, may be required to post a cash bond, when determined by the Building Inspector, in an amount to be set by the Village Engineer of the Village of the Branch. Said bond shall be used to ensure that no damage is done to a Village street or road during the course of construction, and should any damage be done to a Village street or road, the amount of said bond may be used by the Village as liquidated damages to return the Village street or road to a condition substantially similar to that existing prior to said construction.
A building permit shall be effective to authorize the commencing of work in accordance with the application, plans and specifications on which it is based for a period of six months after the date of its issuance. For good cause, the Building Inspector may allow a maximum of two extensions for periods not exceeding three months each.
The issuance of a building permit shall constitute authority to the applicant to proceed with the work in accordance with the approved plans and specifications and in accordance with the applicable building laws, ordinances or regulations. All work shall conform to the approved application, plans and specifications, except that no building permit shall be valid insofar as it authorizes the performance of work or the use of materials which are not in accordance with the requirements of the applicable building regulations.
Upon the filing of an application for a building permit, fees as set by the Board of Trustees shall be paid to the Building Department. No permits shall be issued until such fees have been paid.
Permit for new construction and alterations, including garage area and/or deck area.
Permit for additions, garage conversions or construction of accessory structures.
Plumbing, heating or air-conditioning permits, for first fixture and additional fee for each additional fixture.
Permit for repair of fire damage.
Permit for construction and additions up to 30,000 square feet and additional fee per square foot for each additional square foot.
Permit for interior alterations, per square foot of floor area.
Plumbing, heating or air-conditioning permits for first fixture and additional fee for each additional fixture.
Permit for repair of fire damage.
For any and all commercial alterations or additions not necessitating a performance bond, there shall be an inspection fee, to be determined by the Village Engineer and approved by the Planning Board, based on the Engineer's cost estimate.
All other uses.
In the event that an application for a building permit shall not be approved, the applicant shall be entitled to a refund of 50% of the fee paid, provided that no construction shall have been commenced. If construction work shall have been commenced and the application shall not be approved, or if a permit shall be rescinded for any reason, the fees paid shall not be refunded.
The following nonrefundable fees shall be paid to the Building Department where required by this chapter or the Zoning Law.
For the issuance of a demolition permit.
For the issuance of a permit to move an existing structure.
For the renewal of a building permit which has expired, after the passage of one year from its issuance.
For the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
For the issuance of a use permit.
For the issuance of a duplicate certificate or permit of any kind.
The Building Inspector may revoke a building permit theretofore issued and approved in the following instances:
Where he finds that there has been any false statement or misrepresentation as to a material fact in the application, plan or specifications on which the building permit was based.
Where he finds that the building permit was issued in error and should not have been issued in accordance with the applicable law.
Where he finds that the work performed under the permit is not being prosecuted in accordance with the provisions of the application, plans or specifications.
Where the person to whom a building permit has been issued fails or refuses to comply with a stop-work order issued by the Building Inspector.
Whenever the Building Inspector has reasonable grounds to believe that work on any building or structure is being prosecuted in violation of the provisions of the applicable building laws, ordinances or regulations, or not in conformity with the provisions of an application, plans or specifications on the basis of which a building permit was issued, or in an unsafe and dangerous manner, he shall notify the owner of the property, or the owner's agent or the person performing the work, to suspend all work, and any such persons shall forthwith stop such work and suspend all building activities until the stopwork order has been rescinded. Such order and notice shall be in writing, shall state the conditions under which the work may be resumed, and may be served upon a person to whom it is directed either by delivering it personally to him or by posting the same upon a conspicuous portion of the building under construction and sending a copy of the same by registered mail.
Any employee of the Department of Buildings, upon the showing of proper credentials and in the discharge of his duties, may enter upon any building, structure or premises at any reasonable hour, and no person shall interfere with or prevent such entry.
No building hereafter erected shall be used or occupied in whole or in part until a certificate of occupancy shall have been issued by the Building Inspector.
No building hereafter enlarged, extended or altered or upon which work has been performed which required the issuance of a building permit shall continue to be occupied or used for more than 30 days after the completion of the alteration or work unless a certificate of occupancy shall have been issued by the Building Inspector.
No change shall be made in the use or type of occupancy of an existing building unless a certificate of occupancy shall have been issued by the Building Inspector.
The Building Inspector shall not issue a certificate of occupancy unless he is satisfied that the street, road or highway giving access to the structure has been suitably improved and maintained to provide a safe, convenient and passable means of ingress and egress to the premises for all private, public and emergency vehicles, or, in the alternative, that a bond, in the manner and form as provided in § 31-11B, to ensure the improvement of such street, road or highway, has been duly filed with the Village and approved by the Board of Trustees.
Before issuing a certificate of occupancy, the Building Inspector shall examine or cause to be examined all buildings, structures and sites for which an application has been filed for a building permit to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, demolish to change the use of occupancy; and he may conduct such inspections as he deems appropriate from time to time during and upon completion of the work for which a building permit has been issued.
Provided the Building Inspector cannot discern the location or legality of any existing or proposed buildings, improvements or accessory uses which require a certificate of compliance or certificate of occupancy, it shall be within the Building Inspector's discretion to require a new or updated survey.
There shall be maintained in the Building Department a record of all such examinations and inspections, together with a record of findings of violations of the law.
When, after final inspection, it is found that the proposed work has been completed in accordance with the applicable building laws, ordinances and regulations, and also in accordance with the application, plans and specifications filed in connection with the issuance of the building permit, the Building Inspector shall issue a certificate of occupancy upon the form provided by him. If it is found that the proposed work has not been properly completed, the Building Inspector shall refuse to issue a certificate of occupancy and shall order the work completed in conformity with the building permit and in conformity with the applicable building regulations.
The certificate of occupancy shall certify that the work has been completed and that the proposed use and occupancy are in conformity with the provisions of the applicable building laws, ordinances and regulations, and shall specify the use or uses and the extent thereof to which the building or structure or its several parts may be put.
Upon request, the Building Inspector may issue a temporary certificate of occupancy for a building or structure or part thereof before the entire work covered by the building permit shall have been completed, provided that such portion or portions as have been completed may be occupied safely without endangering life or the public welfare.
Whenever there are reasonable grounds to believe that any material, construction, equipment or assembly does not conform with the requirements of the applicable building laws, ordinances or regulations, the Building Inspector may require the same to be subjected to tests in order to furnish proof of such compliance.
All buildings or structures which are structurally unsafe, unsanitary or not provided with adequate egress, or which constitute a fire hazard or are otherwise dangerous to human life, or which in relation to existing use constitute a hazard to safety or health by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment are, severally, for the purpose of this section, unsafe buildings. All such unsafe buildings are hereby declared to be illegal and shall be abated by repair and rehabilitation or by demolition in accordance with the procedures of this section.
The Building Inspector shall examine or cause to be examined every building reported as unsafe or damaged and shall make a written record of such examination.
Whenever the Building Inspector shall find any building or structure or portion thereof to be an unsafe building as defined in this section, he shall, in the same manner as provided for the service of stop-work orders in § 31-15 of this chapter, give to the owner, agent or person in control of such building or structure written notice stating the defects thereof. This notice shall require the owner within a stated time either to complete specified repairs or improvements or to demolish and remove the building or structure or portion thereof.
If the Building Inspector finds that there is actual and immediate danger of failure or collapse so as to endanger life, such notice shall also require the building, structure or portion thereof to be vacated forthwith and not reoccupied until the specified repairs and improvements are completed, inspected and approved by the Building Inspector. The Building Inspector shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such building a notice: "This building is unsafe, and its use or occupancy has been prohibited by the Building Department." Such notice shall remain posted until the required repairs are made or demolition is completed. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation, or their agents or other servants, to remove such notice without written permission of the Building Inspector, or for any person to enter the building except for the purpose of making the required repairs or of demolishing same.
In case the owner, agent or person in control cannot be found within the stated time limit, or if such owner, agent or person in control shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with notice to repair, rehabilitate or to demolish and remove said building or structure or portion thereof, the Village Counsel shall be advised of all the facts in the case and shall institute an appropriate action in the courts to compel compliance.
In cases of emergency which, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, involve imminent danger to human life or health, he shall promptly cause such building, structure or portion thereof to be made safe or removed. For this purpose he may at once enter such structure or land on which it stands, or abutting land or structure, with such assistance and at such cost as may be necessary. He may vacate adjacent structures and protect the public by appropriate barricades or such other means as may be necessary and, for this purpose, may close a public or private way.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to construct, alter, repair, move, remove, demolish, equip, use, occupy or maintain any building or structure or portion thereof in violation of any of this chapter, or to fail in any manner to comply with a notice, directive or order of the Building Inspector, or to construct, alter or use and occupy any building or structure or part thereof in a manner not permitted by an approved building permit or certificate of occupancy.
Any person who shall fail to comply with a written order of the Building Department within the time fixed for compliance therewith, and any owner, builder, architect, tenant, contractor, subcontractor, construction superintendent or their agents or any other person taking part or assisting in the construction or use of any building who shall knowingly violate any of the applicable provisions of this chapter or any lawful order, notice, directive, permit or certificate of the Building Department made thereunder, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $100 or 30 days in jail, or both. Each day that a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.
Any violation of this chapter or any part thereof shall constitute the offense of disorderly conduct, and the person or persons violating the same shall and are hereby declared to be disorderly persons.
Except as provided otherwise by law, such a violation shall not be a crime, and the penalty or punishment imposed therefor shall not be deemed for any purpose a penal or criminal penalty or punishment and shall not impose any disability upon or affect or impair the credibility as a witness, or otherwise, of any person convicted thereof.
This section shall not apply to violations of the provisions of the State Building Construction Code punishable under § 385 of the Executive Law of the State of New York, nor to violations of the provisions of the Multiple Residence Law punishable under § 304 of the Multiple Residence Law of the State of New York.
Appropriate actions and proceedings may be taken at law or in equity to prevent unlawful construction, or to restrain, correct or abate a violation, or to prevent illegal occupancy of a building, structure or premises, or to prevent illegal acts, conduct or business in or about any premises; and these remedies shall be in addition to the penalties prescribed in the preceding section.
The Board of Trustees of the Incorporated Village of the Branch has adopted, in its entirety, as if more specifically set forth herein, the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, as applicable for all structures in the Village.