Building Permit Information

City of Ithaca Permit Wizard

The Building Division is now accepting building, electrical, demolition, tent, and sign permit applications online. The Permit Wizard can be accessed 24/7 from a desktop computer.

Submitting an application does not constitute an issued permit or permission to proceed with the proposed work. The City cannot accept credit card payment at this time. A check or money order payable to the City of Ithaca must be received prior to processing your application.

Remit check or money order to:
                                     City of Ithaca
                                     Attn: Building Division- 4th Floor
                                     108 E. Green Street
                                     Ithaca, NY 14850

The check or money order can be mailed or placed in the drop box at City Hall. The property address must be noted on the check or money order. Failure to do so will result in processing delays.

NOTE: The permit wizard is not compatible with mobile devices. The Mozilla Firefox web browser is not supported.

Applying In-Person

Please Note: In order to protect city staff and the public, submission and review of building permit applications will be by appointment only. Someone will escort you in and out of the building. Masks are required and social distancing must be maintained.

Please bring one set of paper drawings to your appointment. An electronic copy of your drawings must also be submitted with your application.

Contact us for an appointment

Building Division Main Office - (607) 274-6508
Building Code/ Inspections/ Permits - William Epthimiatos (607) 274-6523
Electrical Inspections/ Permits - Carol Marion (607) 274-6411
Exterior Property Maintenance -Martin Love (607) 274-6515
Housing Code/ Inspections - James Gatch (607) 274-6524
Plumbing Inspections/ Permits - Tom Hayward (607) 227-7386

Obtaining a Permit

Permit forms may be downloaded and printed. Building permit applications can be submitted by mail or at the time of your appointment. Permit applications must contain the required information and forms or they will not be processed.

When an Architect is Required

The New York State Education Law requires that architectural drawings be submitted for projects affecting structural safety and/or public safety, costing more than $20,000 or for construction of residential buildings of more than 1,500 square feet. Drawings prepared by a New York State registered architect or licensed professional engineer whose signature and seal of registration in New York State shall be legibly imprinted on the plans.

When Building Permits Are Not Required

No building permit shall be required for work in any of the following categories except where such work is located within a designated historic district or in a designated landmark structure or site (see: Chapter § 228):

  • Construction or installation of one-story detached structures associated with one- or two-family dwellings or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) which are used for tool and storage sheds, playhouses or similar uses, provided the gross floor area does not exceed 144 square feet (13.38 square meters), and where no plumbing, electrical or heating equipment service or system is provided, and that the structure complies with the area and setback requirements of Chapter §325-25
  • Installation of swings and other playground equipment
  • Installation of swimming pools associated with 1- or 2-family dwellings or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) where such pools are designed for a water depth 24 inches or less and have a water surface area of 100 square feet or less, and are installed entirely above ground
  • Installation of fences can be found in Chapter 146 of City Code
  • Construction of retaining walls less than four feet in height from grade to the top of the wall for the entire length of the wall unless such walls support a surcharge of soil or impound Class I, II or IIIA liquids
  • Construction of temporary motion-picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery remaining in place for fewer than 180 days
  • Installation of window awnings supported by an exterior wall of a one- or two-family dwelling or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses), provided such awnings do not encroach on any right-of-way or project beyond property lines, and are in compliance with the setback requirements of Chapter §325-8 (see: District Regulations Chart)
  • Installation of partitions or movable cases less than 5 feet 9 inches in height
  • Painting, wallpapering, tiling, floor covering and other similar finish work
  • Installation of listed portable electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation or cooling equipment or appliances where such installation requires no extension of permanently installed building electrical, plumbing or HVAC systems
  • Repairs that use like material provided that the repairs do not involve:
    • The removal or cutting away of a load-bearing wall, partition, or portion thereof, or of any structural beam or load-bearing component
    • The removal or change of any required stairs or means of egress, or the rearrangement of parts of a structure in a manner which affects egress
    • Alteration of fire protections systems, or the removal from service of all or part of a fire protection system for any period of time
    • The alteration or removal of required fire separations
    • The installation, enlargement, alteration, relocation, or extension of electrical or plumbing systems
    • The alteration, relocation or installation of solid-fuel-burning heating appliances and associated chimneys or flues
    • The removal or abatement of asbestos or other hazardous material except for paint