Permits, Regulations, Expeditors
At the start of this project, I heard the term Expeditor. Later I learned that we needed one. Last week I actually met one.
Only in New York, and perhaps a couple of other cities in America! What is an Expeditor, and why do we need one? Here in New York, the rules and regulations are so complicated, interwoven, and detailed, that no professional in the building industry can be expected to know them all. It requires a whole profession, whose sole purpose is to understand the regulations and assist other professionals to comply with them.
In my meeting with this Expeditor, I found myself repeatedly saying 'I don't understand'. For instance, there is a paragraph in a clause in a regulation, that has a table, that gives the FAR (the ratio between total floor area of a building, and the size of the plot the building sits on), and is quoted by all in the property world. Basically it tells you how big you can go. Both myself and our architect thought that we understood the table, and were clear that the FAR for buildings like ours, in our location, was 3.44. Finally the Expeditor managed to explain to me that that table referred to the 'Max' FAR, not the 'actual' FAR. The actual FAR was contained in another table in another clause, but to work out the actual FAR for our building, we had to go to yet another table, and work out the height allowance. Are you with me?
In my meeting with the Expeditor, I also learned that the permit we have for removing the asbestos, doesnt cover all the demolition work that has to be done to uncover the asbestos, so technically, we have to reinstate everything as it was, until we have the permit for the new usage.
So, as you can tell, we are now in the thick of property development in New York. Lorna is so horrified by the whole thing that she has gone back to work!
On the up side, I visited a development in Brooklyn that will be eight apartments when finished. It has solar panels all over the roof, and as awnings on the south wall. It will have windmills, it will meet Passive House standards, it will capture rainwater, process and use it, and it will compost all the toilet waste. We are not alone... Yeah!!
Sorry we have no pictures this post. Asbestos is not particularly photogenic. Once we get the demolition permit, we can start knocking some things down. That will surely look interesting.