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If your project is expected to include work outside the existing structure, you will likely need to submit a Site Plan as part of the permit application. The site plan should show the location and size of the building itself, and any other relevant features on the property such as detached structures (like a garage, for instance), property lines, utilities, drainage features, decks, patios, walkways, steps, walls, and fences. The Site Plan will show both existing features and the location and nature of the proposed work.

Details of the existing features are generally taken from a Survey, a stamped original copy of which you will probably also need to include with your permit application. Or, especially in larger projects, the site plan itelf may be prepared by a Licensed Land Surveyor.


The Site Plan will serve to:

  1. Demonstrate compliance with zoning and building regulations: It will show the location of the proposed structure and how it complies with zoning and building regulations, such as setback requirements and maximum building height.

  2. Show the relationship of the building to the property: The location of the building in relation to the property lines and other structures on the property will be shown and dimensioned.

  3. Provide information for utilities: It will detail the location of existing known* utilities, to ensure that they will not be impacted by the construction; And, proposed utilities, such as water and sewer lines, so that they may be correctly located and installed.

  4. Facilitate construction: It will provide important information to the contractor and other trades involved in the construction process, such as the location of existing trees, slopes, impervious areas and other features that may impact the construction.


The site plan should be as detailed and accurate as possible to ensure that the building permit application process runs smoothly and that the construction can proceed without unexpected issues.

You likely obtained a Survey of your property when you first purchased your home. Look in your closing documents or ask your attorney. Even an old survey is a valuable document, though – especially if features were added to the property – it may need to be updated and recertified. In the case of older surveys that need to be updated, it may be worthwhile contacting the Surveying Company who produced the original document. Even if that company no longer exists, it’s likely that their records will still exist in the archives of another surveyor.

Note that only a Licensed Land Surveyor – registered in the relevant state – will have the education, experience, and expertise to provide you with the services you need to accurately determine and mark your property boundaries.

If you need to find a Licensed Land Surveyor, the New York State Association of Licensed Land Surveyors features a searchable database of their members which is available to the public.

And, for more information on the Licensed Practice of Land Surveying, visit the  New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions, online.

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