Our Government > Departments > Building & Zoning > Building Permit Information

Building Permits

When Do I Need a Building Permit?

Common Procedures that Require a Building Permit:

  • Above & Below Ground Swimming Pools
  • Contractor Licensing
  • Decks & Patios
  • Demolition of Structures
  • Fences
  • Finished Basement 
  • Fireplaces & Chimneys  
  • Hot Tubs
  • Large Tool Sheds 
  • New Additions & Interior Alterations
  • New Homes & Buildings
  • Oil & Gas Heating Units and Tanks
  • Plumbing
  • Public Assembly
  • Radio & Television Disk Antennas
  • Rental Permit
  • Retaining Walls
  • Signs
  • Temporary Structure
  • Tennis Courts
  • Tree Removal
  • Use Permit (Change in Use)


Information contained on this website is provided solely for general guidance and preliminary inquiry.  It does not constitute a conclusive representation of the applicable laws, including the Code of the Town of North Hempstead.  It is incumbent upon any person, party, or entity seeking to commence work within the Town of North Hempstead to consult the governing law to determine whether a building permit is required.  This information is not a substitute for consultation with a professional architect, engineer, or legal adviser.  Although every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein, the Town of North Hempstead makes no representation for any omission or error contained on this website. Failure to obtain a requisite permit may result in criminal prosecution.

Remember....... Applying for a permit after the work is done will result in double permit fees!

Building Permit’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Access to Building Dept. Records 

1) Q: What do I need to look at my building file?
 A: You will need your Section, Block and Lot Number (S,B,L) and the address of the property to look at your building file.

2) Q: Where can I find my S,B,L?
 A: You can find your SBL either on your tax bill or you can go online to “MyNassauProperty.com.”

3) Q: When can I look at my building file?
 A: You can view your building file Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.

4) Q: What is in my building file?
 A: Your “historical” building file contains information on any prior applications, permits, certificates, building plans and surveys.

5) Q: Do I need to come in to get information?
 A: Yes, you need to come in and fill out a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) application. It is easy to fill out and takes only a few minutes.

6) Q: How long does it take to get a building file?
 A: A building file can be accessed immediately as long as it is available. If your file is not immediately available, a clerk will make arrangements to contact you when the file becomes available.

7) Q: How long after my project has been finished and “signed off” by the inspector can I expect to receive a Certificate of Occupancy, Certificate of Completion or Certificate of Approval?
 A: Every project that has been ‘signed off” by an inspector receives a further “back end” review by the inspector. The “back end” review ensures Building Code and Zoning compliance, and verifies that all portions of the work have been filed, approved, and completed appropriately. You can call your Building Inspector or 311 to check Permit / Certificate status, check if your inspector has signed off on your project, and determine any additional requirements of the “back end” review process.

Building Dept. Approvals

8) Q: What do I do if my house does not have a certificate of occupancy?
 A: If your house was built prior to 1929 you would not have a Certificate of Occupancy. It may have a Certificate of Existing Use. If your house was built prior to 1929 and you do not have a Certificate of Existing Use, you can apply for one. If your house was built after 1929 and does not have a Certificate of Occupancy or you are unsure when your house was built, you should contact the Intake Section of the Building Department and be guided accordingly.

9) Q: What do I do if the construction on my house takes over 2 years to complete?
 A: A Renewal of Building Application must be submitted and a fee needs to be paid if the construction on your house takes over 2 years to complete.

Central A/C Units 

10) Q: How far from my property line can I install an HVAC unit (such as an A/C condensing unit)?
 A: HVAC units must be a minimum of 3 feet from the side and rear lot lines of the side and rear yards in all Residential Zoning Districts, however if they are less than 5 feet from the property lines, they must be screened from view by evergreen plantings or fencing. HVAC units may also be located in the front yard only within the 5 foot permitted encroachment area, and only when screened by evergreen plantings. HVAC units may not be located greater than 3 feet from the house. A permit is required for both the HVAC unit and the ductwork installed within the house.


11) Q: Are there specific hours that contractors may work?
 A: Yes, Work that requires a permit from the Town may be performed Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:30am until 6:00pm. However, you can request a special permit from the Building Dept. to work on weekends. All the necessary information concerning waivers for weekend work is found in Town Code Section 38-3, subdivision (B)(7)(a)(1). Such waivers are not issued unless the underlying circumstances are consistent with the requirements of the Town Code.


12) Q: Why can’t I do my own electrical work in my home?
 A: The Town Code states that a license electrician must be hired for electrical work in order for the NYS Underwriters to certify the work performed by the electrician.

13) Q: Do I have to take out an electrical permit with the Town?
 A: No, but the Town requires an original Electrical Underwriter’s Certificate be submitted to the Town after any electrical work has been performed.

14) Q: How do I find a company that is authorized to issue an Electrical Underwriter’s Certificate?
 A: Your licensed electrician should be able to direct you to an Electrical Underwriting Agency that is licensed to do business in the Town of North Hempstead. A list of licensed Electrical Underwriting Agencies can be found on the Town’s website.


15) Q: Do I need a permit for a fence?
 A: Yes, you need a permit for a fence.

16) Q: How tall can the fence be?
 A: Fences may be a maximum of four feet in height except that a fence along the side lot line may be a maximum of five feet in height and a fence along the rear lot line may be a maximum of six feet in height. No fences are permitted in the front yard of the dwelling.

17) Q: How would I go about getting a permit for a fence taller than noted in paragraph 16 above?
 A: An application needs to be made to the permit division for the nonconforming fence. Since the proposed fencing does not comply with the Town Code, the application will be denied by the Permit Division. The denial letter issued by the Building Department provides you with the opportunity to make an application to the Board of Zoning and Appeals for a “variance” from the requirements of the Town Code. The Board of Zoning Appeals will hear the facts and circumstances surrounding your request at a public hearing. All interested parties will have the opportunity to be heard. After all the evidence is presented, a decision to grant or deny the variance will be made.

18) Q: Who determines if a fence is on my property or my neighbors?
 A: Whether a fence is located on your property or your neighbor's property is a civil matter between you and your neighbor, the Town of North Hempstead has no involvement. A property survey from a licensed land surveyor can help to locate a fence in proximity to a property line. However, a fence permit will only be issued to the property owner upon whose property the fence is located.

19) Q: If I am hiring a fence contractor, does he need to be licensed in the Town of North Hempstead?
 A: Yes, any fence contractor needs to be licensed in the Town of North Hempstead.


20) Q: Do I need a permit to replace the siding on my home or replace the roof?
 A: No, you don't need a permit to replace siding on your home or replace the shingles on your roof. However, a permit is required before you replace the sheathing to which the shingles are attached. A permit is also required when you alter or replace any structural component of the roof.

21) Q: Can I remove trees in my backyard without permits?
 A: Yes, you can remove trees from the side and rear yard of your property without a permit. However you can not remove any tree in the front of your property without a permit. A permit is also required to remove any tree which is associated with any other activity for which a permit is required, regardless of the location.

22) Q: Do I need a permit to put up an above ground pool?
 A: Yes, a permit is required if the above ground pool that is in excess of 100 square feet of surface area or 24” or more in depth. Additionally, above ground pools that are less than 46” in height from grade requires a 6’ fence. Above ground pools 46” or greater above grade do not require a fence, but the access ladder for the pool must be capable of being removed or locked to prevent unauthorized access. All requirements for above ground pools are provided with the proper application in the Building Department’s Intake Section. If you have any doubt concerning the requirements of installing an above ground pool, please visit the Intake Section of the Building Department for guidance.

23) Q: Do I need a permit to do a full interior demo on my own house?
 A: Yes, you need a permit to do a full or partial interior demo on your house.

24) Q: Do I need a permit to finish my basement?
 A: Yes, you need a permit to finish your basement.

25) Q: If I replace all my windows, do I need a permit?
 A: No, you do not need a permit for the direct replacement of windows of the same size and location. However if you wish to install larger or smaller windows and reframe the openings, a permit is required.

26) Q: If I have an existing in-ground pool and it is leaking and cracking and I want to demo it and replace it, do I need a permit?
 A: Yes, you need a permit to demo or replace an existing in-ground pool.

27) Q: What is the status of the application I filed?
 A: You need to call 311 from within the Town or 516-869-6311 if outside the Town to get the status of your filed application.

28) Q: How do I close out permits on my property?
 A: You need to go to our records room to do a file search. The records within your file will determine the course of action that is required to close out the permit.


29) Q: Can I do my own plumbing in my own house?
 A: Yes, but the Town requires the homeowner successfully complete a plumbing competency exam prior to starting any work. You can contact the Building Department Licensing Division for further information at 869-7806 for specific information.

30) Q: Can I have a bathroom in my basement?
 A: Yes, you can have a bathroom in your basement. However, a permit is required for a bathroom anywhere in the house.

31) Q: Is there a list of contractors that are in good standing?
 A: No, it is a conflict of interest for the town to provide a list of contractors that are in good standing.

32) Q: Can the Town or inspector recommend a contractor?
 A: No, neither the Town nor the inspector will recommend a contractor.

33) Q: Can I change my plumbing contractor in the middle of the job?
A: Yes, there is a form that has to be filled out in the permit division when changing plumbers.

34) Q: Do I need to install dry wells on my property when there’s an extension on my house?
 A: You must provide a method of on-site storm water control when there is an extension and/or paving of greater than 250 square feet added to the property. In most cases, drywells are utilized, however other options are permitted by the Town code, such as rain gardens, rain barrels, etc. A registered design professional can help you in determining the best course of action.

35) Q: Do I need to have a gas pressure test performed when gas piping is altered?
 A: Yes, you need to have all the gas piping tested when gas piping is installed or altered. Improperly installed or modified gas piping creates serious life safety issues. Getting the lines tested can save lives.

36) Q: Am I going to receive a certificate from the Building Dept. when my plumbing job is completed?
 A: Yes. You will receive your Certificate of Approval only when all your inspections are completed, and a final review of your file is complete.

37) Q: How many hours in advance do I need to call to arrange for an appointment for a plumbing inspection?
 A: Please call 72 hours in advance to arrange a plumbing inspection appointment.

38) Q: Do I need a licensed plumber to install gas piping?
 A: Yes, you need a licensed plumber to install gas piping.

39) Q: Where can I get NYS code books for plumbing?
 A: You get NYS code books for plumbing from NYS Dept. of State - 41 State Street, Albany, NY 12231

40) Q: I am the plumbing contractor of record, should any other contractor be on my permit?
 A: No, if you are the plumber of record then no other contractor should be on the permit.

Rental Registration 

41) Q: Why do I need a permit to rent my house?
 A: A permit is needed to protect against overcrowded rentals and to ensure safety and code compliance for the tenants and owners alike.

42) Q: What do I need to apply for Rental Registration? How long does a Permit last?
 A: To receive a Rental Registration Permit the property owner must submit an original, completed application, survey and Certificate of Occupancy/Certificate of Existing Use for the property he/she would like to rent. The permit is valid for two (2) years from the date the application is filed with the Town.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors 

43) Q: Where should I install my smoke detectors in a dwelling?
 A: Smoke detectors are required in each bedroom or sleeping room, outside of but within the immediate vicinity of all bedrooms, and at least one per floor.

44) Q: Where should I install carbon monoxide detectors in a dwelling?
 A: Carbon monoxide detectors are required within 15 feet of every bedroom or sleeping room, and at least one on every floor where there is a carbon monoxide source. Carbon monoxide sources include all fuel (gas or oil) burning equipment, along with fire places, attached garages, and any other place where combustion occurs.

Septic Systems

45) Q: How can I find out where my cesspool or septic system is located?
 A: Cesspools and Septic Systems have had various regulations throughout the years which can make them difficult to locate. Sometimes a diagram can be found in the historic records of the property with the Town or County Health Department. A plumber may also be able to help you find your system. An old cesspool under a lawn may often leave a tell-tale circular area of deep green growth.

46) Q: May I directly replace my collapsed or poorly functioning cesspool?
 A: No, cesspools are no longer permitted by Nassau County regulations. If an old cesspool must be replaced, a new system consisting of a septic tank and a leeching pool must be installed to replace the cesspool.

47) Q: Do I have a septic tank or a sewer system?
 A: Please contact Nassau County Dept. of Public Works at (516) 571-9600 to find out if you have a septic tank or sewer system.

48) Q: If I am installing a septic system, do I need to install the system in the front yard?
 A: Yes, when installing a septic system, you need to install the system in the front yard.

49) Q: Do I need a permit for a new septic system?
 A: Yes, you need a permit for a new septic system.

Property Maintenance 

50) Q: My neighbor's property is in total disrepair, the grass has not been cut in weeks, who handles this issue?
 A: If your neighbor’s property is in total disrepair, it is a Code Enforcement issue. Please call 311 from within the Town or 516-869-6311 if outside of town.