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How to Obtain Equipment Use Permits: When are Equipment Use Permits Required?



Equipment Use Permits

One commonly unknown type of permit is the “Equipment Use Permit”. A permit to operate an Air Conditioning and Ventilating Equipment requires an “Equipment Use Permit” prior to operation of the machinery.


Most but not all air conditioning systems require this type of permit. The New York City Building Code exempts only the following:

27-105.4 and 1 RCNY 101-14 EXEMPTIONS FROM PERMIT REQUIREMENT. An equipment work permit shall not be required in any of the following cases: Air conditioning and ventilating systems. Air conditioning and ventilating system installed as a voluntary system, serving only one floor of a building, and that: (1) does not use lot line openings for the intake or exhaust of air or the mounting of equipment; and (2) is not installed in any public hallway, passageway, or stairway; and (3) does not in any way reduce the ventilation of any room or space below that required by code provisions; and (4) does not penetrate any fire division, roof, floor, or wall. 2. Packaged air-conditioning unit. Packaged air-conditioning unit not exceeding 3 tons rated capacity, installed in an existing building, including installations in existing windows or in existing sleeves under windows, and that is not part of an alteration that otherwise requires a permit.

Simply stated, any package system under 3 tons which fits in a window or in a wall sleeve is exempt. A split system which is on a roof, or penetrates any fire division, roof, or wall, does require an Equipment Use Permit.


After plans are approved for the installation of and air conditioning system, a permit is obtained by the contractor and the equipment is installed. After installation is complete, an application for an Equipment Use Permit is made by the registered professional. Special and Progress Inspections are filed. The requirements for inspection are as follows:

INSPECTIONS AND TESTS. No equipment use permit shall be issued unless and until the equipment shall have been inspected and tested to determine proper functioning and compliance with the provisions of this code and other applicable laws and regulations. All inspections and tests shall be conducted in accordance with required inspection and test procedures; and signed copies of all required inspection and test reports shall be filed with the department and form part of the papers accompanying the permit application. In the case of heating systems, a signed statement by an architect or engineer shall be submitted with the permit application, stating that the system has been operated and functions satisfactorily and that, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, the system will meet code temperature requirements.


A plan examiner reviews the Equipment Use Permit Application and compares the data to the approved plans. If the data is consistent it is approved for issuance of a permit. The application is then given to a clerk for review and issuance. For a more detailed explanation see:


A copy of the Equipment Use Permit must be posted on the equipment for inspection.

Both the Building Department and the Fire Department inspect Air Conditioning and Ventilation systems. If a Use Card is not posted a violation is usually issued. Violations for lack of Equipment Permits are one of the most common violation seen in our office.

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