Chris Ragalie

In early 2018 the Regional Plan Association (RPA) put forward its solution to New York’s longtime affordable housing crisis—remove residential FAR limitations in Manhattan. On its face the idea seems radical. The FAR cap, a New York State addition to the Multiple Dwelling Law, prevents developers from building to the sun, peppering medium density to mid-rise districts with Towers of Babel. Upon closer look, the idea to remove FAR caps in Manhattan attempts to pick up where the recently passed Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) falls short. (more...)

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New York City Buildings in occupancy group E over 100 feet in height will soon have a building code fire to put out. Local Law 26 of 2004 mandates that these large office buildings be equip with a full system of automatic sprinklers by July 1, 2019. Local Law 26 applies retroactively. That means a lot of buildings in Manhattan will be installing fully automatic sprinklers in 2018-19. (more...)

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In its ongoing effort to increase construction safety, the DOB is increasing penalties for work without permit violations and stop work orders with a series of Local Laws.

Local Law 156 increases work without a permit fees. Work without a permit fees for one or two-family homes will increase from the current four times cost of the permit to six. The minimum penalty for work without a permit also increases from $500 to $600. (more...)

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The DOB released two local laws that will move buildings with high ECB fines closer to foreclosure. Tax liens and distressed properties were previously limited to owners that defaulted payment.

Local Law 152 changes the definition of “distressed property” to include not just tax liens as a result of DOF fines owed, but “a tax lien or liens that result from an environmental control board judgment against the owner.” The lien or liens to value threshold remains at 25%, as determined by the DOF. (more...)

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New York City building owners owing heavy ECB fines will now have a tougher time pulling permits due to recently passed Local Law 160. If building owners owe more than $25,000 in “covered arrears” the DOB will not issue permits for new buildings, demolition, place of assembly or major alterations that will change use, egress or occupancy.

The DOB defines “covered arrears” as the following:

  • Unpaid fines, civil penalties or judgments entered by a court of competent jurisdiction or the environmental control board.
  • (more...)

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    In 2012, New York City’s Zone Green program amended the Zoning Code to allow wall thickness to be deducted from floor area provided the walls are energy efficient. City Planning claims New York buildings are responsible for 80 percent of the city’s carbon emissions. This floor area deduction gives both older and newer buildings an opportunity to insulate their walls and save on energy costs.

    Zoning computes floor area from the outside of the building’s edge, encompassing the entire thickness of the wall. (more...)

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    City Council passed its construction safety bill on September 27th, 2017. The bill makes additions to the Administrative and Building Codes to mandate worker safety training, creates a task force and imposes penalties for failure to comply.

    Newly created Building Code Section 3321 presents requirements for Site Safety Training (SST). The rollout for worker Site Safety Training comes in three phases, referred to as “compliance dates.”

    First Compliance Date: March 1, 2018

    Second Compliance Date: December 1, 2018 or, if determined by the DOB, a later date, but no later than June 1, 2019. (more...)

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