Farce and Coincidence
This may be very soon after the last post, but I must write and tell you about our recent experience.
I found this notice stuck to the front door last Monday. This is a very important document from the Department of Buildings, that is addressed to someone we dont know. It refers to the basement extension that was completed in 2008, and a complaint by our neighbor that the builder had installed three windows that look directly into his garden, and is an order to 'stop work'. The previous owner had boarded them up inside, but the openings still exist. You can imagine that the neighbor was worried that, with a new owner, they could be opened up at any time, and wanted to protect his privacy, so he lodged a formal complaint. We learned of the complaint, went around to his garden to see (because there is no evidence on our side) and stated that we would happily block up the openings as part of our building work. An inspector from the city came to view the situation in June and closed the case, and we thought all was fine. It seems the city did some audit and found that the architect (who was also the seller to us) had signed the work off as complying with all regulations (which he was required to do so that we would buy the house), when the complaint had not yet been settled, so they sent an inspector to check. As we havent started work, the building is closed and locked, so the inspector was not able to check. The inspector therefore issued the Stop Work Order. Despite the fact that this refers to work that was finished at least five years ago, by someone else, and is addressed to someone else, and we have owned the building for nine months without word from the Building Department, it has the effect of stopping us doing the work that we havent even started yet. Barmy wouldnt you say?
Its a formality that our wonderful expeditor says can be settled, only our planning application is not directed to the Buildings Department, but to a department Bloomberg set up to circumnavigate the slow response time of the Building Department, called the HUB team. We now have to find out how willing the two departments are to settle this. The worst case would be that we are granted the permit to do the work we want to do (which includes blocking up the openings), but cannot start work because there is a Stop Work Order in place from a different department!
The joys of doing building work in New York City.
Oh, and yesterday, I ran the New York Marathon.