When you hire a contractor to do some work in your condo, co-op or HOA development, whether that work is lobby renovation, installing new windows, repairing elevators or fixing the roof, you and the contractor have two other partners: the state of New Jersey and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
There are all sorts of state laws, codes and procedures that contractors have to follow, most of them under the aegis of New Jersey's Division of Codes and Standards, part of the multi-faceted Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The New Jersey State Uniform Construction Code (UCC) Act, which was signed into law in 1975, authorizes the department's commissioner to adopt and enforce rules.
The UCC itself is comprised of four basic subcodes for construction: building, electrical, fire protection and plumbing. "We were the first state that had a statewide code at a local level," says Michael Ticktin, an attorney and chief of legislative analysis for DCA.
This means, as the state's web-site dealing with the code (www.nj.gov/dca/codes) says that "The UCC provides one-stop service at the local level. A construction permit is required for a construction project," or at least projects that aren't classified as "ordinary maintenance," or routine repairs.
The needed permits include subcode applications for building, electrical, fire protection, mechanical or plumbing work. Most of the various codes that have been adopted through the UCC have their origins in industry accreditation bodies, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).