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Building Code

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People
How important is it to have a city permit to an extension to a house – before we decide to buy it? I understand there are many properties with extensions built without permit but I want to weigh pros and cons before putting down an offer. Any insights from people here would be welcome.
thanks

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We have a fire escape that was built over the top of a new extension to our house back in the 80’s. The fire escape was placed on top of a concrete platform on the roof of the extension. Now the roof needs to be replaced / repaired but to do so likely would entail tearing down the concrete slab that serves as the base for the fire escape.

Any idea if the concrete base for the fire escape would still be required? What we’d like to do is install a new fire escape that is not attached to the roof of the extension and extends out to two poles that provide egress to the back yard via a ladder. The house dates back to the 1860s.

If you’ve been able to follow along so far, we’d appreciate any insights or advice you have to offer.

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Has anybody run in to this: I’m trying to refinance a 2 family brownstone, but the bank is stuck on the window ironwork. They see it as a fire safety problem even though the apartment in question (garden) has two means of egress-front and back doors. They’re demanding a letter from someone official that this is compliant with the NYC building code (it is: only one form of egress required). My architect (RA) wrote one letter but it’s not “official” enough. Who could write such a thing?

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I’ve just finished a gut reno of my building and am trying pass my last inspection to get my C/O. I just failed the electrical inspection because I do not have an outlet on the FRONT of my building. Can this be true? Is this code? The inspector said something about how his wife likes to do holiday lights… so its very important. I received the follow-up letter after the inspection, and this was still listed as a must-fix. It seems unsafe to me! Has anyone else dealt with this? (My building is a 2-family if that matters.)

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Am recovering from an incredibly depressing meeting with an expediter regarding my renovation. To recap–we are currently living in a four story brownstone occupying bottom three floors with renter on top floor. We want to flip the configuration putting renter on garden floor and occupying top three floors as a triplex. We have a lot of intact detail on parlor floor. We are currently taxed as a 4 family and want to file a change of C of O to a 2. We have a fire escape at the back of the building. Our budget is tight but realistic. I did not, however, budget for sprinklers or think I would need to create a lot of holes to run these incredibly ugly things through my house, but apparently the code changed two years ago and is now necessary given the parameters of both building height and width of our street. The expediter is recommending we go for a waiver based on economic hardship (??) This sounds far-fetched to me but I am wondering if anyone has ever had success with this tactic? Or maybe I could just bake a cake for the inspector with $2,000 hidden in the center? Kidding!

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Does anyone know the NYC code for placement of an exterior fire alarm bell for the sprinkler system?
Our architect put it 8 ft up on our brownstone and I’d prefer to have it somewhere less conspicuous.
What about changing the fire red color?
Would like to keep to code, but this eyesore is not growing on me.

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Hi all,
We are looking to build wire cage storage units in the basement of our 16 unit condo building (not new construction). There is a sprinkler system in this portion of the basement and I’ve heard that any “construction” must leave an 18″ space below the sprinkler heads. The sprinkler heads would not end up being IN the cages, but would be in the “alleyways” – but would still need to be 18″ above the top of construction. We had wanted to build the cages to the ceiling but this throws off our plans. It’s really hard to find out what the actual building regulations are. Can anyone spare any knowledge, or suggest where to look for definitive NYC building/fire codes (even the “codes” we’ve found are not that specific, or we don’t know if they are the ACTUAL codes). The vendor/builder does not want to commit (i.e. be responsible) for advising us in this area.
Thanks!

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Hi,

We’ve put in an offer on a new construction condo in Brooklyn which includes a room designated as an “attic” space. The room is finished (floors, electrical, heat). Ceilings are pitched from about ~6’6″ to ~8′. Our assumption is this was a way for the builder to slightly exceed the FAR with an attic allowance (which lines up with our reading of the regs). We’re wondering what the legal/code/zoning issues might be surrounding putting windows in such a space. Googling as proved futile. Any tips for how to figure this out?