Engineering Services Unit

Who We Are

The Engineering Services Unit (ESU) provides engineering support to the Division of Safety and Health programs. The Engineering Services Unit staff:

  • Reviews plans
  • Approves applications
  • Issues variances dealing with Department of Labor Code Rules.

Services We Provide

The Engineering Services Unit reviews and approves applications for:

  • Places of public assembly
  • Ski tows and passenger tramways
  • Elevators and escalators in factory and mercantile establishments
  • Tents and bleachers for 300 or more occupants
  • Window-cleaning equipment and other devices


Engineering Services also issues variances for:

  • Storage of explosives
  • Boilers
  • Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) programs
  • Asbestos abatement

Public Assembly

The Engineering Services Unit reviews and approves applications for places of public assembly.

Regulation: State Standard Building Code for Places of Public Assembly (Code Rule 36)

Application Form: Application for Examination of Plans SH 700

Ski Tows and Passenger Tramways

The Engineering Services Unit reviews and approves applications for ski tows and passenger tramways.

Regulation: Ski Tows and Other Passenger Tramways Code Rule 32

Application Form: Application for Approval of Plans for Aerial Tramway, Chair or Gondola, J-Bar, T- Bar, Rope Tow, Poma Lift, Skimobile, Etc. SH 706

Elevators and Escalators in Factory and Mercantile Establishments

Tents and Bleachers for 300 or More Occupants

Window-Cleaning Equipment

The Engineering Services Unit reviews and approves applications for window-cleaning equipment.

We developed "Window-Cleaning Equipment Requirements Guidance" to help in the window-cleaning equipment approval process.

Window-Cleaning Equipment Requirements Guidance: In New York State, window-cleaning equipment is subject to approval by the Engineering Services Unit. We encourage applicants to meet with Engineering Services Unit representatives before designing, purchasing, and installing window-cleaning equipment. Contact the Engineering Services Unit office at 518-457-1536 to schedule a pre-application meeting or to ask questions about the approval process.

Guidance Documents:

Regulation: Protection of Persons Employed at Window Cleaning Structural Requirements, Equipment and Procedures Code Rule 21

Application Form: Application for Approval of Material or Device SH 753

Storage of Explosives

The Engineering Services Unit issues variances for the storage of explosives,

Regulation: Possession, Handling, Storage and Transportation of Explosives Code Rule 39

Application Form: Petition for a Variance or Other Relief SH 751

Boiler Installation Variance

The Engineering Services Unit provides support to the Boiler Safety Bureau by issuing variances for boiler installations.



Application Form: Petition for a Variance or Other Relief SH 751

Applicable Variances:

Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) Programs

The Engineering Services Unit provides support to the Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) Bureau by issuing variances and alternative compliance agreements to public employers.

Regulation: PESH

Application Form: Petition for a Permanent Variance or Alternative Compliance Agreement SH 780

Asbestos Abatement

The Engineering Services Unit provides support to the Asbestos Control Bureau by issuing variances for asbestos abatement projects. The Engineering Services Unit has issued Applicable Variances for some asbestos abatement projects.

We developed a Guidance Document (AGD-v2.0) on ICR 56 that offers details on variances and how to comply with the asbestos regulation, including the latest Code Rule 56 Revision.

Regulation: Asbestos Code Rule 56

Guidance & Information on Variances for Asbestos Projects: Guidance and Variance Information Code Rule 56

Application Form: Petition for an Asbestos Variance SH 752

Applicable Variances:

  • Controlled Demolition (Municipal) AV-A-1
  • Negative Air Ventilation Exhaust AV-A-2
  • Non-friable ACM Floor Covering Mastic removal Using Chemical Methods along with Low-speed Floor Buffers AV-A-3
  • Removal or Cleanup of Intact Minor Size Non-friable ACM Floor Tile AV-A-4

Fast-Track Variances

The Engineering Services Unit (ESU) is launching a pilot program for certain site-specific variances (SSVs). These new variances will be called "Fast-Track Variances" (FTVs). These are common variances that are issued on a regular basis. At the start of the program, there will be 10 of the variances available, each with an assigned number (see list below). Over time, more FTVs might be added.

The established process for variance application can result in approval turnaround times of two to three weeks depending on the current workload at the Engineering Services Unit. Variance applications are typically processed in the order received. With the FTV process, routine variances could potentially be issued the same day as they are received by the Engineering Services Unit. The goal is to speed up the review process for these routine variances.

To make this process work, several guidelines must be followed. These are guidelines for getting an FTV:

  • A completed SH 752 form must be submitted. The form must include all the necessary information for obtaining a variance, including the hardship. No information about the work plan should be included with the application.
  • The SH 752 form must be submitted by a certified Project Designer working on behalf of the Petitioner.
  • The variance fee of $350 must be included.
  • In Section 9 of the SH 752 form, the Petitioner's Agent must write in the number of the FTV that is requested.
  • The FTV will be issued as it is written. If some part of the FTV doesn't meet the project's needs, then a standard SSV is required.
  • Other relief cannot be added to the FTV.
  • No re-openings or amendments are allowed.
  • Termination date extension requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • These FTVs have no bearing on notification times.


Below is a list of FTVs that will be available initially.

Available Fast-Track Variances
FTV Number
FTV Name
FTV-1 Negative Air Shutdown
FTV-2 Exhausting to An Interior Space
FTV-3 Elevator Door Removal
FTV-4 Fire Door Removal
FTV-5 Crawlspace with Dirt Floor
FTV-6 Intact Component Removal
FTV-7 Buried Cementitious (e.g. Transite) Pipe
FTV-8 HEPA Drilling Spot Removal
FTV-9 Air Sampling at Elevated Exhaust Duct Locations
FTV-10 Controlled Demolition with Non-Friable in Place


By selecting the relevant FTV links above, PDF samples of the conditions in each FTV are provided to show the type of relief which is granted. Project Designers should verify that the relief granted by the FTV meets the project's need.

As mentioned, the goal is to speed up the variance process for projects that require minimal ICR-56 relief.

For suggestions on how to improve this process, please send an email to the ESU.