Mezzanine Codes in NYC(Last Updated On: August 22, 2018)
A mezzanine is an elevated space that is considered part of the story below. By code a mezzanine is not a story in a mezzanine will contribute to a building’s floor area ratio for zoning purposes.
Mezzanines in NYC
People often want to add mezzanines to their buildings whether a new building or a building addition / building alteration. There are many advantages in both situations. If you have an existing building with high ceilings you can add a mezzanine to make better use of the space. Adding a mezzanine will require an Alteration Type 1 application with the DOB in NYC. If you are building a new building a mezzanine may help you if you are trying to avoid hitting a certain number of stories.
I will review one project we are doing for an 8 unit building in Brooklyn that will have 2 mezzanines. This building is technically a building enlargement. We are basically demolishing most of the existing building. The enlargement is to an extent that the building will be required to follow all code requirements for new buildings.
Advantages Of A Mezzanine
The biggest reason we are putting mezzanines in this building is that the client wants as much residential floor area without requiring an elevator in the building. In this case we are building 4 stories plus a mezzanine. A 5 story building requires an elevator by adding a mezzanine we do not have a 5 story building as per NYC Building Codes and the building is exempt from the elevator requirement.
Mezzanines Count For FAR
Mezzanines will count for the building Floor Area Ratio. You need to calculate the mezzanine when doing your FAR calculations on your building. Even though the building code has some language stating a mezzanine does not count for floor area that does not apply to Zoning. Zoning Code and Building Code are 2 different things. The Building Code stating mezzanines do not apply to floor area is for a different purpose.
A Mezzanine is 33 1/3% of the floor below. If you are building a mezzanine in an apartment the mezzanine must be less then 33 1/3% of the apartment it is within. Mezzanines on the top floor of a building may also affect the Rooftop Structure code. This code states that all structures on the roof cannot exceed 33 1/3% of the roof area. I always refer to zoning as a balancing act. You will need to comply with all the applicable codes. If you are good on one but not the other you will not be able to build the mezzanine.
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Author Jorge Fontan AIA
This post was written by Jorge Fontan, a Registered Architect and owner of Fontan Architecture.