[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Bethlehem 2-28-1968. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 56.
[Amended 3-23-1988 by L.L. No. 2-1988]
The purpose and intent of this chapter is to provide for the enforcement of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.
[Amended 3-23-1988 by L.L. No. 2-1988]
Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, the Building Inspector of the Town of Bethlehem and his deputies and assistants 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 regulation, use, occupancy and maintenance thereof, as provided for in the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.
The Chief of each of the five Fire Departments currently existing within the Town of Bethlehem shall serve and are hereby appointed as Fire Inspectors, to serve as such within the boundaries of their individual fire districts. The Fire Inspectors shall be charged with the responsibility of reporting any and all violations of Chapter C, Fire Prevention, of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code brought to their attention within their fire districts to the Building Inspector for such action as he may deem necessary for the enforcement of said Chapter C.
The Building Inspector shall receive applications and issue permits for the construction, 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.
The Building Inspector shall issue all appropriate notices or orders to require the necessary safeguards during construction and to ensure compliance during the entire course of construction with the requirements of such laws, ordinances and regulations. He shall make all inspections which are necessary or proper for the carrying out of his duties, except that he may accept reports of inspection from his assistants and other employees of the Building Department.
Whenever the same may be necessary or appropriate to assure compliance with the provisions of applicable laws, ordinances and regulations governing building construction, the Building Inspector may require the performance of tests in the field by experienced persons or by accredited and authoritative testing laboratories or agencies.
The Building Inspector shall keep permanent official records of all transactions and activities conducted by him, 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.
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 Inspector 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.
Applications for building permits 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. The application shall be made to the Building Inspector on forms provided by him 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 the proposed building or structure.
The valuation of the proposed work.
The full name and address of the owner and of the applicant, and the names and addresses of their responsible officers if any of them are corporations.
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.
Each application for a building permit shall be accompanied by duplicate copies of plans and specifications, including a plot plan, drawn to scale, 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 property; 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 and, where required by § 7302, as amended, of Article 147 of the Education Law of the State of New York, the seal of a licensed architect or a licensed professional engineer. The Building Inspector may waive the requirements for filing plans and specifications for minor alterations.
Amendments, if any, to the application or to the plans and specifications accompanying the same shall be filed with the Building Department and approval received from the Building Inspector prior to the commencement of such change of work.
[Amended 3-23-1988 by L.L. No. 2-1988; 7-13-1988 by L.L. No. 3-1988; 1-13-1999 by L.L. No. 1-1999]
The Town Board shall establish or set rates and fees for services rendered by the Building Department.
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.
Upon approval of the application and upon receipt of the legal fees therefor, he 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 Building Department 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.
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 and regulations. All work shall conform to the approved application, plans and specifications.
Building permits shall be prominently displayed on the jobsite at all times during the progress of construction so as to be readily seen from adjacent thoroughfares.
The Building Inspector may revoke a building permit theretofore issued in the following instances:
Where he finds that there has been any false statement or misrepresentation as to a material fact in the application, plans 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 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 stop 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.
The Building Inspector and assistants, upon the showing of proper credentials and in the discharge of their 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 authorizing such change shall have been issued by the Building Inspector.
The owner or his agent shall make application for a certificate of occupancy. Accompanying this application and before the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, there shall be filed with the Building Inspector an affidavit of the registered architect or licensed professional engineer who filed the original plans, or of the registered architect or licensed professional engineer who supervised the construction of the work, or of the superintendent of construction who supervised the work and who, by reason of his experience, is qualified to superintend the work for which the certificate of occupancy is sought. This affidavit shall state that the deponent has examined the approved plans of the structure for which a certificate of occupancy is sought and that the structure has been erected in accordance with the approved plans and, as erected, complies with the law governing building construction except insofar as variations therefrom have been legally authorized. Such variations shall be specified in the affidavit.
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 or change the use or 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.
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.
A certificate of occupancy shall be issued, where appropriate, within 30 days after application therefor is made. Failure to act upon such application within 30 days shall constitute approval of such application and the building or portion thereof may thereafter be occupied as though a certificate of occupancy had been issued.
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. A temporary certificate of occupancy shall remain effective for a period not exceeding three months from its date of issuance. For good cause the Building Inspector may allow a maximum of two extensions for periods not exceeding three months each.
Whenever there are reasonable grounds to believe that any material, construction, equipment or assembly does not conform to 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.
In accordance with § 382 of Article 18 of the Executive Law of the State of New York:
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 provision of law or rule promulgated by the Building Department in accordance with applicable laws, or to fail in any manner to comply with a notice, directive or order of the Building Inspector, or to construct, alter, use or 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 Inspector 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 law or any lawful order, notice, directive, permit or certificate of the Building Inspector made thereunder, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 per day of violation or by imprisonment not exceeding one-year, or both.
[Amended 3-23-1988 by L.L. No. 2-1988]
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 penalties otherwise prescribed by law.