A gut renovation usually requires acquiring a permit (Alteration Type 2) from the Department Of Building (DOB). It may include:
- Stripping down walls
- Changing the plumbing
- Replacing/altering electric wiring
- Changing the visible surfaces within the apartment
- Altering the load-bearing structure of the apartment
- Changing the layout of the apartment
- Replacing/modifying insulation for heating and cooling system
Gut Renovation vs. Partial or Cosmetic Renovation
The differences between a complete gut renovation and partial renovation are:
Cost: A gut renovation can be significantly costlier, based on the scope of the work.
Challenges: Partial renovations usually come with more predictable challenges, but when you do a complete gut renovation, you may run into unique/hidden problems that may drive up the cost of renovation.
Permissions: Both partial and gut renovations will require board approval, but the consent for gut renovation might be more challenging to obtain due to the scope of work and the disturbance it might cause the neighbors (some of whom may be board members). Stricter co-op boards may even deny gut renovations.
Permit: A partial renovation may or may not require a DOB permit, but a gut renovation most likely will. However, your condo or co-op board may force you to obtain a permit for partial renovations as well.
Neighbor Relationships: Both partial and gut renovations may annoy your neighbors, especially if the sound easily passes through walls. A gut renovation can be significantly louder (due to the use of power tools), and it may also last longer than a partial renovation.
Pros and Cons of Gut Renovation
- You can rebuild/redesign the apartment to exactly match your vision.
- A gut renovation can add value to the property (but that depends on the cost of renovation).
- You can create a more comfortable and classy living environment.
- A gut renovation can be more affordable than a new apartment.
- A good layout may result in more efficient use of your space.
- The cost can be quite high – Maybe between $250,000 and $500,000 for a 2,500 square foot apartment, though some sources put the cost much higher.
- Getting permits from DOB and permission from your co-op and condo board can be challenging and add to the time needed for a gut renovation.
- You will not be able to occupy the space during this renovation.
- It may strain your relationship with your neighbors and the board (especially if you don’t get permission).
- Gut renovation can easily go over budget if you face unforeseen circumstances.