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Building Permits and ADA Compliance

You've found a great building for your business and now you want to make it your own. Find out if you need a building permit and if there are any accessibility upgrades necessary to become ADA compliant.
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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.


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.

Building Permits and Inspections

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, such as 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.

Determine If Your Business Requires Air Permits

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.

Additional Information and Application Forms

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.

Certificate of Need Forms and Applications

Ensure Your Site Meets Fire Safety Requirements

Once you've completed site construction or renovation and passed all building inspections, register your business with the state Division of Fire Safety or your Local Enforcing Agency (LEA) to operate. LEAs, such as a fire prevention bureau, fire department, or fire district, enforce state and local fire safety regulations in their town. 

Find your town’s LEA and contact them to determine if you need to register with the State or LEA and how to register. Don’t forget to ask your LEA how often your business needs to be inspected after opening so you can stay compliant with regulations.

Find Your Local Enforcing Agency