The Ups and the Downs
On the up side, we have been approached by the New York Times to do a piece about our project. In fact, the reporter is starting off including us in an article about the Living Building Challenge, and wants to possibly do more than one article on our project, focusing one on the building techniques we will use, and one on the educational outreach we are including, with maybe a third on the integration of the sustainability and the high standards of design, materials and features.
Now the down side.
This is the comedy that is the New York Building Code. My experience of the first meeting with the examiner, and then the comments from the examiners, is that it is both farcical and horrifying. In this country, that has the technology and financial resources to spy on the whole of the rest of the world, the regulations for what you can and cant do to buildings is the most complicated, overlapping, and unwieldy set of rules I have ever encountered. As I wrote in an earlier post, not only did the examiner tell us we are non-compliant with the width of our lot, they have told us that we must produce evidence that the lot has been the same width since the building was created, over a hundred years ago. This is when the lot width is the same as all the others in the street, most of which have had to do the same when applying for permission to do building work.
We also have to prove that there is already a tree infront of our property (in order to comply with the requirement to plant a tree if there isnt one) when every photo of the house is viewed thru the branches of the tree directly infront of us. The Parks Department have agreed to do some tree surgery that I agitated for, so they know that there is a tree there, but the Building Department dont talk to them, do they! So we have to pay a surveying company $500 to prove the existence of a tree, when it would take a few seconds on Google Street View to see that there sure is a tree there.
In my exasperation, I could go on with more examples, but I will be kinder to you than that. Lets go back to the ups shall we.
Property prices in New York are rising...Hey yes.