DesignAndBuildLaw Firm Updates: Fall 2017
"Build On A Solid Legal Foundation" is a phrase I coined in 2003 to describe my law Firm's design and construction law practice. I continue to specialize in construction law. However, I also do a fair amount of real estate transactional work. For example, this past year, I represented sellers of a mixed use commercial building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I am currently representing a buyer of a residential co-op in Manhattan. I also am co-op counsel and transfer agent for a Murray Hill co-op. So ... perhaps "Build, Buy & Sell On A Solid Legal Foundation" more accurately describes the breadth of my Firm's construction law and real estate transactional practice. Let me know what you think. Enjoy the newsletter below. And look out for some exciting new developments soon.
Dealing with an ECB Violation: Opportunity to Enhance Safeguards During Construction or Demolition
Construction clients are familiar with receiving violations from Building Code Department inspectors who visit active construction sites. The variety of issues involved can range from a relatively minor infraction such as removal of shed or protective measure without DOB approval (a Class 2 violation with a standard penalty of $800) to a much more serious violation like a failure to safeguard person and property affected by construction operations (a Class 1 violation with a standard penalty of $10,000). In each case, the contractor is required to correct the condition causing the violation and submit detailed documentary proof certifying correction and obtain approval from DOB. For more serious Class I violations, the contractor is required to appear before the ECB for a hearing, even if it wishes to please guilty to the violation. The process, which is time consuming, and perhaps perceived by some involved as tedious, provides the responding party with a unique opportunity to refresh itself (or perhaps even become familiar) with DOB rules and important DOB safety regulations which have not been fully implemented and/or are not being fully complied with. For example, for construction of a new building and demolition of an existing building DOB regulations require a superintendent to maintain a log book at the job site. 1 RCNY 3301-02(d). The log must include eight specific categories of information information including identification of superintendent, arrival and departure time from site, general progress and summary of work, and the name of the "competent person" along with that person's signature. Id. If a superintendent receives a violation for not properly maintaining such log book, there may be no option other than to pay the fine. However, the superintendent also needs to make changes to the log book going forward to avoid repeated such violations and improve best practices for safeguarding all persons and property during construction.
Building A Passive House Is Anything But Passive
We are representing a Brooklyn-based developer of a passive house project. Many people have no idea what a passive house means. According to Wikipedia, the concept of a passive house, which started in 1988, comes from the German passivhaus and "is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling." Passive homes incorporate passive solar design and landscape, superinsultation, advanced window technology, airtightness, ventilation, space heating, daylighting and Energy Star appliances. The end product is a smartly designed and well built structure that minimizes reliance on expensive and climate polluting fossil fuels.
* This newsletter contains general information. No information available in this newsletter may be considered or acted upon as legal advice.