Other renovation costs

Beyond construction costs, be aware of these potential budget factors:


The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) considers two types of renovations: A “Type II Alteration” or an “LAA” (Limited Alteration Application). I can advise which filing yours is likely to be.

Type II: Anticipate roughly $7–10K in filing fees, full architectural blueprints, and additional time for processing.

LAA: If your renovation is considered a “repair” you’ll only have to file the plumbing and electric, which is cheaper and faster.

LPC: In certain areas, you may also be subject to review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, even if you are not altering the exterior of your building. Anticipate additional time and fees.

Let's discuss your renovation: Schedule a call. 


Most co-ops and condos require a non-refundable fee to review your alteration application, usually a few hundred dollars.

In addition they usually require a refundable security deposit. These can range from $1,500 to a percentage of your construction costs, which means it could run upwards of $10K.

Certain buildings also require you to take on specific homeowner and liability policies. Check with your managing agent on all of this.

You may also have to undergo an asbestos test, which can run from $500–$3000.


In addition to other and official costs, anticipate the unspoken costs of tipping your super and building staff copiously before, during and after your renovation. Woe to the homeowner who neglects this tradition; you may find the service elevator frequently unavailable to your contractor when he needs to move materials upstairs. And to be fair, your doormen and package room will be dealing with an extraordinary level of deliveries on your behalf. Treat them well.


You'll need to anticipate moving out if you are: Renovating your only bathroom; doing a gut renovation; suffer from chemical sensitivity; are pregnant or have young children; have pets that cannot be boarded.

Likewise, if the amount of possessions will impede construction, that will need to move to storage.


While labor prices have barely kept pace with inflation, the cost to do a renovation in NYC has risen substantially over the last 20 years, largely due to the requirements of co-op and condo boards and DOB rules. Requirements for licensing, insurance, certifications, and workman’s comp add to construction costs. 

Most buildings require $1-5 million in liability insurance to protect the interiors of the building from damage; they may additionally require riders to protect curbside trees and property. 

If your building requires an “Action Over” policy, you may have a very hard time finding a contractor to take on anything less than a $1 million project.

"I so loved working with Clare! I especially loved her intuitive, present ability to key in to my tastes and visions." - Mac

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