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Tracking number

Need a tracking number? Start by watching the video below.


This video briefly describes how to get a tracking number from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) so you can pull construction permits. It also talks about the Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) and Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS) licenses offered by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).

What is a tracking number?

A tracking number is the most basic license offered to contractors by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). Tracking numbers are used by contractors to conduct renovation projects and additions up to 25% of the existing floor area.

When do you need a tracking number?

Any construction project that disturbs the existing building material requires a general construction permit. To pull a permit, you need a tracking number. Cosmetic work (e.g. tiling, painting, cabinetry) does not require a permit. Note that you can’t pull a permit until an architect/engineer gets a job approved at the DOB.

What can you do with a tracking number?

A tracking number is used to pull permits for most renovation projects. As the contractor, you would be pulling the general construction permit with your tracking number. You can also pull the mechanical work permit (if applicable). Other permits that you can pull would be construction equipment permits (e.g. temporary construction fence) and structural permits.

Besides renovation projects, a tracking number can be used to pull general construction permits for:

  • Vertical and horizontal additions up to 25% of an existing building’s floor area.

  • Adding up to two stories to an existing building.

  • Altering or demolishing less than 50% of an existing building’s floor area.

How do you obtain a tracking number?

You’ll need to bring the documents listed below to the DOB’s Licensing Unit to obtain a tracking number. Note that the DOB requires these certificates to be formatted in a specific way. The rules are constantly changing so they are not listed below. We assist contractor’s with getting their certs formatted correctly and then take them down to the DOB for them.

Documents needed:

  1. Your company’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

  2. General liability

  3. Workers’ compensation

  4. Disability

Your company’s EIN letter must be submitted along with all three insurance certificates. If you aren’t able to locate your EIN letter, you can request a copy be sent to you by the IRS. You do not have to submit the original EIN letter.

General Liability insurance must be submitted on an Acord form and show liability insurance of $1m per occurrence.

Workers’ Compensation is required to obtain a tracking number. Even if you are the only employee in your company, you need WC to get a tracking number.

Disability is the final piece of insurance required to obtain a tracking number.

How long does it take to get a tracking number?

On average, it takes 2-3 days for someone to get a tracking number. That’s because we usually have some notes for your insurance broker on the initial certs and it takes them a day or so to revise them. Once the certs are formatted correctly, we almost always take them down to the DOB the next business day. If all goes well, your tracking number will be issued on the spot and you can pull permits right away.

Does a tracking number expire?

No. Once your company has been issued a tracking number, that is your permanent number. You’ll have to update your insurance file as your certs expire. They do not get updated automatically with the DOB. Either you, your insurance broker, or an expediter will have to submit your latest certs as you renew your policies.


What are the other licenses offered to contractors by the DOB?

The DOB has two other licenses they offer contractors:

  1. GC Registration

  2. Safety Registration Number

The GC Registration license is used to build 1-, 2-, and 3-family homes. And a Safety Registration Number is used to do all other projects that fall outside the work covered by a tracking number or GC Registration (e.g. demolition of a building). See the memos below from the DOB for more details on those two licenses.

Still need help?

We have helped HUNDREDS of contractors get registered at the DOB and obtain their tracking number. We’d be more than happy to assist you with this process. We’ll work with you and your insurance broker to make sure your certificates are formatted correctly. Once everything is set, we’ll take them down to the DOB’s Licensing Unit and submit them for you. If all goes well, your tracking number will be issued on the spot and you can pull permits right away. Everything is done through email or over the phone - no need to come to our office.

Contact us at (212) 400-4836 ext. 2 or via email at info@gcexpediting.com to get started.