Why would I need to notify the FAA about my construction project?
You are required to notify the FAA if your construction project could potentially affect navigable airspace.
How would I know if my project could potentially affect navigable airspace?
The requirements for filing this form vary based on a number of factors including height, proximity to an airport, and type of structure. In general, this applies to projects that will be built on or near airport property (typically within 4 miles) as well as any structure, regardless of location, that is more than 200 feet above ground level (AGL). The specific guidelines are:
- If the height of the structure, or any object on top of the structure (e.g., solar panels), will exceed 200 feet AGL.
- If construction will occur on airport property. This applies to public airports, public or military airports under construction, an airport operated by the U.S. Department of Defense or another federal agency, or any airport or heliport with at least one FAA-approved instrument approach procedure.
- If construction will exceed an imaginary surface extending outward and upward at any of the following slopes:
- 100 to 1 for a horizontal distance of 20,000 feet from any of the airport's runways if the airport has a runway longer than 3,200 feet in actual length.
- 50 to 1 for a horizontal distance of 10,000 feet from any of the airport's runways if the airport's runways are all 3,200 feet in actual length or shorter.
- 25 to 1 for a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet from any of a heliport's landing or takeoff areas.
- If you are building a road, bridge, or other type of traverseway (e.g., highway, railroad, waterway) and the height of the vehicles using it would meet any of the previously mentioned conditions. For example, if you are constructing a private road located 1/2-mile away from an airport runway (for airports meeting the minimum runway length requirement of 3,200 feet), you will need to notify the FAA if the road's elevation, plus the height of the vehicles using that road, would be at least 26 1/2-feet above the nearest point of any of the airport's runways.
- If you are altering an existing structure that meets or will meet any of these requirements.
Is there a simpler way to determine if my project meets these requirements?
Yes, you can use the FAA's Notice Criteria Tool will help you evaluate if your proposed structure will penetrate the airspace of any nearby airports so you can determine if your project meets the notification requirements.
Am I required by law to notify the FAA or is it more of a recommendation?
This notice is required by Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 77, and you can be subject to a civil penalty of $1,000 per day until the notification is received.
How do I notify the FAA?
You will need to file Form 7460-1 known as a Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration. Filing this form electronically is the preferred method but it can also be printed and mailed.
When do I need to notify the FAA?
You are required to file Form 7460-1 at least 45 days before construction is scheduled to begin. However, to account for the possibility that your project might require a 30-day public notice period as part of the determination process, the FAA recommends filing 60-90 days beforehand.
If you apply for your construction permit before the 45-day deadline, you should file Form 7460-1 when you apply for your construction permit. If your project requires you to meet Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing requirements, you should file Form 7460-1 when you submit your FCC application if you submit your application prior to the 45-day deadline.
What if there's an emergency, and my project can't wait 45 days?
The FAA will waive the 45-day requirement if construction must begin immediately because there is an emergency involving essential public services, public health, or public safety. You should notify the FAA ASAP; in the case of an after-hours emergency, contact the nearest flight station. After this initial notification, you are required to file Form 7460-1 within five days.
What happens once I notify the FAA?
The FAA will conduct an aeronautical study to determine if the structure would be a hazard to air navigation. If the structure is determined to not present a hazard, the FAA will issue a Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation, and the notification requirement is complete. However, this determination may include conditions you must comply with such as the requirement for your structure to be properly marked or lighted or for you to notify the nearby airport manager prior to construction. Marking and lighting standards are detailed in FAA Advisory Circular 70/7460-1M, Obstruction Marking and Lighting.
What if my structure doesn't meet those requirements, but my project temporarily requires a crane that does?
You must follow the same guidelines for temporary structures as you would for permanent structures. However, it's important to know that the FAA will not normally issue a determination for a crane unless the permanent structure either (1) doesn't meet the notification requirements, or (2) a Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation has already been issued for the permanent structure. You should include this information in the Description of Proposal field when completing Form 7460-1 for the crane.
What if I accidently provide incorrect information or if my form is missing important details?
As part of the aeronautical survey, an FAA technician will need to verify the information you submitted. If the information is inaccurate or incomplete, it can cause your determination to be delayed or even denied.
If you receive a determination that your project would be a hazard to air navigation, you can submit a petition for discretionary review within 30 days after the issuance date of the determination. However, these involve a significant amount of time and evidence in order to prove the project is not actually a hazard.
What is the best way to successfully complete the notification process?
The process used to determine if a project will affect the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS) is often misunderstood or even unknown to builders, developers, and contractors. If a project is located on or near an airport or could potentially meet the 200-foot requirement, developers should consult with an aviation expert early in the planning process to avoid the risk of the project being denied on the grounds that it will be a hazard to airspace. An engineer who specializes in aviation planning and design will also understand how any additional local and state requirements could potentially impact your building plans.
By involving someone who has a thorough understanding of the process, and who knows how to prevent a project from being rejected by the FAA, you can avoid making costly mistakes that result in unexpected budget and schedule overruns. An expert can also help by properly evaluating and verifying the required information before you submit Form 7460-1 to the FAA to avoid delays or denial due to insufficient or incorrect information.
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