The Plumbing Inspections Office within the Department of Permit and Inspection Services is responsible for inspection, permitting, plan review and enforcement for compliance with the New York State Plumbing and Building Codes and all applicable plumbing codes of the ordinances in the City of Buffalo.

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Should you have any additional questions or need additional assistance, please contact the Department of Permit and Inspection Services Plumbing Inspections Office at 716-851-5067.

  1. All work, materials, parts, elements, components, finishes, equipment and/or fixtures, assemblies and systems shall comply with the requirements of the Plumbing Code of New York State irrespective of the requirement for a plumbing permit or payment of plumbing permit fees.
  2. All work shall comply with the provisions of the codes and ordinances of this Charter irrespective of requirement for a plumbing permit or payment of plumbing permit fees.
  3. All work is subject to all other applicable approvals and reviews and their attendant fees irrespective of requirement for a plumbing permit or payment of plumbing permit fees.
  4. The owner of a building, structure or lot is the primary responsible party in building permit and building permit fee matters. The use or employment of any agent, a licensed design professional, or a licensed contractor does not obviate the owner's responsibilities.

Amended December 9, 2003, Effective December 19, 2003

Plumbing work shall not be commenced until a permit for such work has been issued by the Commissioner. A plumbing permit shall only be issued to a City of Buffalo Licensed Master Plumber. A plumbing permit is not transferable. A plumbing permit may be issued to an individual resident owner, who has proven to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services that they are personally qualified to perform such plumbing work within their own home.

A plumbing permit shall contain a statement directing that all work shall be performed in accordance with the construction documents submitted and accepted as part of the application. In addition, a permit shall include the directive that the government or agency responsible for enforcement of the code shall be notified immediately in the event of changes occurring during construction.

Permits shall be issued in duplicate, one copy to be given to the applicant and one copy to remain on record in the office of the Division of New Construction, upon the applicant's compliance with this article and upon the payment of the fees as provided in Chapter 175, Fees.

Application for a permit for plumbing work shall be made on forms prepared and provided by the Commissioner and shall be accompanied by an adequate description of the proposed plumbing work.

Plumbing Permit Expiration Date

Every permit issued by the Commissioner under the provisions of this article shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the work authorized by such permit is not commenced within one year from the date of issuance of such permit or if the work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned at any time after the work is commenced for a period of one year. Before such work can be recommenced, a new permit shall be obtained.


If a permit is denied, written notice of the reasons for denial shall be provided to the applicant who may submit such revised plans and specifications as are necessary to obtain approval. Commenced within one year from the date of issuance of such permit or if the work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned at any time after the work is commenced for a period of one year. Before such work can be recommenced, a new permit shall be obtained.

Revoked or Suspended Plumbing Permit

When a plumbing permit has been issued in error because of incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete information, or the work for which the permit was issued violates the Uniform Code, such permit shall be revoked or suspended until such time as the permit holder demonstrates that all work completed and all work proposed shall be in compliance with applicable provisions of the code.

Display of Plumbing Permit

Plumbing permits shall be visibly displayed at the work site and to remain visible until the project has been completed.

Construction Inspections & Plumbing Permits

Permitted work shall be required to remain accessible and exposed until inspected and accepted by the City of Buffalo responsible for enforcing the Uniform Code. Permit holders shall be required to notify City of Buffalo Code Enforcement when construction work is ready for inspection.

Provisions shall be made for inspection of the following elements of the construction process, where applicable:

Final Inspection

A final inspection after all work authorized by the plumbing permit has been completed.

After inspection, the work or a portion thereof shall be noted as satisfactory as completed, or the permit holder shall be notified as to where the work fails to comply with the Uniform Code. Construction work not in compliance with code provisions shall be required to remain exposed until it has been brought into compliance with the code, been re inspected, and been found satisfactory as completed.

Stop Work Orders

Stop work orders shall be used to halt work that is determined to be contrary to provisions of the Uniform Code, or is being conducted in a dangerous or unsafe manner, or is being performed without obtaining a required permit. A stop work order shall state the reason for its issuance and the conditions which must be satisfied before work will be permitted to resume.

Master Plumber

  1. License required.
    1. Plumbing work by unlicensed person(s) is prohibited.
    2. No person shall hereafter engage in, carry on, or conduct the business of master plumber or do, or perform, or offer, or undertake, or contract to do the work of a master plumber within the City of Buffalo unless holding such master plumber license.
    3. No person not the holder of such license shall use in advertising the words "Master Plumber" or any words of similar meaning; or imprint on any card, sign, or letterhead the same for the purpose of plumbing in the City of Buffalo in whole or part.
    4. No person or company shall cause to be done, or engage to do, any plumbing work by unlicensed plumber.
    5. No person may obtain license without first procuring a master plumber certificate of competency issued by the Examining Board of Plumbers, and registering with same Board in accordance with the General City Law.
  2. B. Duties; responsibilities.
    1. Master plumber to ensure current license status of any journeyman plumber in their employ.
    2. Master plumber shall not file for, or procure plumbing permit for others, or for any work not contracted by and done by said master plumber.
    3. Master plumbers shall operate their business in accordance with the acceptable practices of the trade.
    4. Master plumbers shall not charge for their services grossly excessive rates, or otherwise take undue advantage of an unsuspecting public.
    5. Master plumbers shall not cause to be done any work not necessary to a specific plumbing project, either intentionally or by neglect. They shall incorporate into any contract a warning as to potential additional work, which may be reasonably anticipated to complete said project, along with an approximation of cost of said additional work, especially insofar as piping, which is buried or otherwise hidden from view.
    6. Master plumbers shall include all probable permit fees for any estimate or contract.
    7. Master plumbers, when bidding or contracting to do, or in the course of actual work, shall comply with the provisions of this chapter, and the Codes of New York. They shall not knowingly precede with any project whose contract provisions are not in compliance either actually, or by omission.
    8. Master plumbers are required by law to register with the Examining Board of Plumbers of the City of Buffalo. Registration for licensed master plumbers must be made in person and shall occur on the first day of each year, or during the month of December prior thereto. Registration compliance shall consist of signing the master plumber registration book during said dates.
    9. Persons who have a certificate of competency and do not take out a license shall register in the same manner as master plumbers and pay a fee of $50, to keep certificate active. An active certificate is required to take out a license for master plumber.
    10. Master plumbers shall not allow any apprentice plumber, or unlicensed journeyman plumber, in their employ or otherwise under their supervision, to do plumbing work of any kind, including repairs and clearing stoppages of drains, unless said master plumber is physically present and taking an active part in said work.

Written notice of any violation of this article shall be given any violators thereof, and upon his failure to remove the violation within a reasonable time but not more than seven days, prosecution for violation of this article shall be commenced against him.

The Commissioner shall condemn any used plumbing material or equipment which is as worn, damaged, defective or constructed as to constitute a sanitary or safety hazard, and such condemned material or equipment shall not be reused for plumbing purposes.

Inspections & Tests

  1. It shall be the duty of the Commissioner to enforce the provisions of this article and to make such inspections and tests as may be required under Chapter 249, Inspections.
  2. The Commissioner or his authorized representative shall carry proper credentials of his respective office for the purpose of inspecting any and all buildings and premises in the performance of his duties under this article during usual business hours.

Payment of Fees

A permit to begin work for new construction or alteration shall not be issued until the fees prescribed have been paid, nor shall an amendment to a permit necessitating an additional fee because of the additional work involved be approved until the additional fee shall have been paid.

Approval in-Part

Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent the Commissioner from issuing a permit for the installation of part of a plumbing system before the entire plans and specifications of said plumbing system have been submitted or approved, if adequate information and detailed statements have been presented for the same and have been found to comply with this article.

Plans & Specifications

The Commissioner may require the submission and approval of plans and specifications in triplicate showing the nature and extent of the proposed work before a permit is issued. If, in the course of the work, it is found necessary to make any change from the approved plans and specifications on which a permit has been issued, amended plans and specifications shall be submitted; and, if approved, a supplementary permit shall be issued to cover the change after the same conditions required to secure the original permit have been satisfied.

Amended July 20, 2004, effective August 2, 2004

  1. Plans and specifications where required by the administrative authority in Subsection A shall include a plan view and a riser diagram showing the work. Such plans shall show the direction of flow, pipe size, grade of horizontal piping, elevations and drainage fixture unit loading of both stacks and drains on drain, waste and vents, and the supply fixture unit load for water system and any branch supplies which serve more than one plumbing fixture, appliance or hose outlet. Symbols used thereon shall be in accordance with accepted engineering practice. In addition, submissions shall conform to the following:
    [Amended July 20, 2004, effective August 2, 2004]
    1. Site work. Plans shall show all water, sanitary, storm, and gas piping for any work on the building exterior or paved areas, and shall show any work on exterior and interior downspouts. All work must be shown on drawings labeled "site drawing."
      1. All roof, pavement, or storm piping must list the total square footage of drainage being picked up by each individual section of piping being run. The piping pitch, in inches per foot, for piping being installed shall be included.
      2. All catch basins for pavement drainage must be five feet by three feet exterior dimensions. If site conditions preclude this size (for example bedrock), prior permission must be received by the Plumbing Department. All catch basins must list the square footage of area collected. All catch basins must be piped off the main storm line. Piping may only exit a catch basin, not enter it. Prior approval from the Plumbing Department is required for any design with piping entering a catch basin. Catch basins shall be centrally located to the area being drained whenever possible, to prevent rainwater from having to run long distances. Catch basins shall be trapped internally according to catch basin details standards acceptable to the Plumbing Department.
      3. Conductor piping, when entering a City combination sewer, must be trapped, either individually or a single trap not to exceed 10 inches in diameter. These traps shall include a cleanout to grade. Single traps shall be installed, whenever possible, within five feet of the outside of exterior walls.
      4. Storm and sanitary piping shall not be combined without approval of the Buffalo Sewer Authority and the Plumbing Department. 
      5. Plans and calculations for storm water retention must be submitted to the Buffalo Sewer Authority for approval. The Plumbing Department requires retention systems to be made via oversized piping or a piping field. Any alternate systems must first receive permission from the Buffalo Sewer Authority and the Plumbing Department.
      6. All site sanitary piping shall show the total fixture load being conveyed, as well as the pitch per foot of each run of piping. (Exception: Fixture counts are not required for one- or two-family dwellings). 
      7. All required cleanouts and manholes must be shown on the site drawing.
      8. Standard Buffalo Sewer Authority detail must be shown for any tie-ins to the sewer authority system.
      9. Water main location and size for potable water must be shown. Water fixture unit count for the incoming service shall be listed.
      10. Gas service piping, and size, for the building must be shown.
      11. Any utilization of existing services shall be noted on drawing, including the size. Utilization of existing services must be approved by the Plumbing Department. (Where applicable, approval by the Buffalo Sewer Authority or Buffalo Water Department for using existing services is required.) Existing services shall not be used for new one- or two-family homes, or for townhouses capable of being individually owned.
    2. Interior or building plumbing. All the following must be shown on listed P-drawings (but may also be shown on the architectural or floor plan drawings):
      1. A piping plan, with sizes, for all water, drainage, vent, and gas piping shall be shown. Additionally, a detailed isometric drawing for same shall be shown. The fixture unit count for all stacks, building drains and building drain branches shall be listed.
      2. All required shutoffs shall be shown.
      3. A detailed drawing of the mechanical room, with emphasis on the incoming water service, including meter and RPZ valve details, shall be shown. The hot water tank and recirculation system, where applicable, must be detailed. 
      4. All cleanouts as required shall be shown. Cleanouts shall not be installed in any overhead location. Cleanouts shall not be installed in a crawlspace with less than a four-foot clearance. Such clearance must be direct, with no floor height or overhead obstructions to impede transfer or rodding equipment. Excluding one- or two-family dwellings, cleanouts on horizontal runs shall be installed above the flood level of the highest fixture whenever possible.
      5. Except for residential use, all plumbing drawings shall list the use/occupancy classification, including the anticipated number of patrons and employees expected during periods of peak use.
      6. All building serving food of any kind (which has not been purchased and sold prepackaged) with disposable eating utensils shall have a three-compartment sink and separate hand sink for employee use, in the kitchen area. An adequately sized grease trap shall be required for establishments serving any grease- or oil-containing foods, or such used in food preparation.
      7. Sump pumps shall be indirectly installed into a conductor line. Any other tie-in must receive prior permission from the Plumbing Department.
  2. All plans and specifications required to be submitted shall be examined by the Commissioner for conformance with the provisions of this article.