ContentsUnderstand Building Permits and InspectionsMake Your Site ADA CompliantMeet State Requirements for Air Pollution When Doing ConstructionMeet State Requirements for Land Use and Water ProtectionUnderstand Development Restrictions for Regional and Special Development AreasObtain Miscellaneous Traffic Permits for Access to State RoadwaysObtain a Certificate of Need Program for Facilities that Meet Community NeedsLearn About Life Hazard Use and Non-Life Hazard Use Registration
Navigating the government permitting process can be challenging even for a commercial real estate professional. The New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) is dedicated to assisting businesses and their representatives to navigate the permitting process by getting answers from government agencies, directing businesses to appropriate officials and contacts, and facilitating meetings and follow-ups from regulatory bodies.
Recent Regulations and Resources
Understand Building Permits and Inspections
You've found a space zoned for your business, but before you start renovating to make it your own find out if you need a building permit. Building permits are required for building, structural, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing projects. They help ensure your space is safe for your team and your customers.
Make Your Site ADA Compliant
Making your business accessible not only helps your customers, but it’s also federal and state law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and New Jersey state requirements are in place to ensure people with disabilities or other impairments have equal access to businesses and other public facilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a Federal civil rights law designed to ensure equal access, full inclusion, and participation for people with disabilities or impairments. Under the law, people with disabilities are entitled to full and equal access to places of public accommodation, transportation carriers, lodging places, recreation, amusement facilities, and other business establishments where the general public is invited.
The Federal ADA regulations require all new construction for public accommodations comply with the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards. In addition, the ADA says a public accommodation has a continuing obligation to remove architectural barriers (barrier removal) to make sure your business is accessible, even when your business is not otherwise contemplating construction. This includes existing barriers at entrances, aisles, bathrooms, and service counters that may have predated the ADA and your ownership of the business.
Be sure to learn about the requirements upfront to make it easier for your customers and protect yourself from potential lawsuits.
Meet State Requirements for Air Pollution When Doing Construction
The Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Stationary Sources is responsible for permitting stationary sources of air pollution (e.g., factories, power plants, etc.)—both old sources (those already constructed) and newer facilities—to ensure they do not adversely affect air quality in your neighborhood or anywhere in the state. Some businesses will require air permits for their business operations.
Meet State Requirements for Land Use and Water Protection
The Department of Environmental Protection's strategy is to manage New Jersey's land. This allows the department to protect the quality of our drinking water, other waterways, and wildlife. There are a variety of regulations that could apply to your project, including the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act, Flood Hazard Area Control Act, Wetlands Act of 1970, Coastal Area Facility Review Act, Waterfront Development Law, Tidelands Act, NJ Water Pollution Control Act, and the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act.
The NJBAC can assist you in navigating the difficult process and keep you in compliance.
Understand Development Restrictions for Regional and Special Development Areas
There are additional development restrictions in regions administered by the Pinelands Commission and The Hackensack Meadowlands District. If your property is within a special planning region the NJBAC can assist you in navigating the regulatory process.
Obtain Miscellaneous Traffic Permits for Access to State Roadways
Property owners seeking traffic access to state roadways and transportation infrastructures must submit applications for access to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). Access issues affect:
- Persons seeking new access to State highways.
- Persons seeking to modify existing access to State highways.
- Persons seeking to renovate existing access to State highways.
- Telecommunication carriers seeking access for tower sites.
Obtain a Certificate of Need Program for Facilities that Meet Community Needs
A Certificate of Need is a regulatory process governing the construction, relocation, or renovation of certain healthcare facilities. The Certificate of Need program helps ensure new facilities, or the expansion of existing facilities, meet the needs of the community. This helps to avoid investment in duplicate facilities.
Learn About Life Hazard Use and Non-Life Hazard Use Registration
Businesses in New Jersey must register as a Life Hazard Use or Non-Life Hazard Use to operate. These classifications help make sure a building or property has the right fire safety measures in place based on how they are used.
Life Hazard Use
A Life Hazard Use business poses a higher risk to human life during fires and other emergencies. Examples include daycare centers, shopping malls, and manufacturing plants.
There are different types of Life Hazard Uses listed in the Uniform Fire Code. These are based on several factors including:
- The type of business
- The building or property’s characteristics (size, layout, capacity, etc.)
- The use or storage of hazardous materials
A fire inspector will tell you if you need to register as a Life Hazard Use and what type of Life Hazard Use your business is. This determines your registration and application fees and how often your inspections will occur: once, twice, or four times a year.
If your business is a Life Hazard Use, you must register with the state Division of Fire Safety and pay a registration fee on their online service portal after signing up for an account and searching for your building or property. You can also use the portal to renew your registration and pay the fee each year.
Non-Life Hazard Use
If a fire inspector determines that your business is a Non-Life Hazard Use, you must register with the state Division of Fire Safety or your local fire prevention office. Who you register with depends on who is enforcing the Uniform Fire Code in your town. This also determines specific regulations you must follow, like required fees and inspections.
To get started, contact your local fire official. They will help you figure out how to register and what regulations may apply.