Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tax Photographs of Buildings from the NYC Municipal Archives

Another useful City resource for Owners and Architects are the Tax Photographs available from the NYC Municipal Archives. Between 1939 and 1941, and again in the mid-1980s, the city photographed every house and building in the five boroughs. These photos are now available for purchase from NYC.

To obtain a copy, you can go to the Archives in person (31 Chambers Street, NY, NY-check their web site for hours and details before going), or you can order a copy online.

Here's a link to the web page, which explains more about the history of the photos and has instructions for ordering online: NYC.GOV/RECORDS

The Tax Photo might be useful for permitting purposes:
This resource may be helpful to illustrate an existing non-compliance to remain to a DOB Plan Examiner, such as a projecting stoop that may require reconstruction.

Have a question? E-mail Permitadvisor

Friday, September 11, 2009

HPD I-Cards Available Online

Check out the HPD I-Card for the building, now available for free download on the HPD Website.

This is a great way to get useful historical information for Multiple Dwellings in the City. This comes in especially handy for old buildings with little or no DOB Actions/Filings, which I commonly find to be the case for brownstones in Brooklyn.

You might need this information if you need to prove the existing legal use/occupancy of a building. Or, if you need to know the Multiple Dwelling Classification of an old building.

Sometimes there are even schematic plans of the building on the I-Card, which can be useful in proving the 'Existing Legal Layout' of an unaltered building to a Plan Examiner when no DOB-approved plans are on file.

Follow these steps:
Go to the
HPD Website Home Page

Enter the address of the property in the light blue search box:

If the property is found in HPD's Database, there will be a series of links listed on the left side of the page. Towards the bottom, there is a link 'I-Card Images'. Click on it:

If an I-Card is found, it will be listed towards the bottom of the page with a link that says 'View'. Click on it. You may need to install a plug-in when prompted:

That's it, you should see the I-Card, which you can print on your printer, or print to Adobe PDF & save to your computer.

Have a question? E-mail Permitadvisor

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings for Residential and Institutional Occupancies

Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings are required in the New NYC Construction Code as per Section BC 1025 in R (Residential) and Group I-1 (Institutional) Occupancies.

Sleeping Rooms below the fourth story above grade shall have at least one emergency escape and rescue opening.

Where below-grade stories contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency escape and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room and shall open directly in to a public street, public alley, yard or court.

  • The minimum size of such openings is a minimum net clear opening of 6 square feet.
  • The net clear opening height dimension shall not be less than 30"
  • The net clear opening width dimension shall not be less than 24"
  • The bottom of the clear opening shall not be more than 36" above the floor.
  • The opening shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools.
  • An emergency escape and rescue opening below the adjacent ground level shall be provided with a window well with a minimum horizontal area of 9 Sq Ft, with a minimum dimension of 36".
  • Window wells with a depth of more than 44" shall be equipped with an approved permanent ladder or steps.

There are exceptions listed in the Code under Section 1025.1. The above is an abbreviation/summary of the full Code requirement. Please refer to the Building Code Text for full details.

Have a question? E-mail Permitadvisor

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

2008 Occupancy Group Classifications

Below is a list comparing the 1968 Building Code Occupancy Group Classifications to those of the new NYC Construction Codes

The 1968 Code classified Occupancies in decending order from higher to lower hazard in terms of Life Safety. The 2008 Code classifies Occupancies according to logical reference, where the Occupancy Group Letter matches the Description (ex: R=Residential)

1968 Code -->2008 Code

A-High Hazard-->H-High Hazard (H-1 thru H-5)

B-Storage-->S-Storage (S-1 & S-2)

C-Mercantile-->M-Mercantile-Display and Sale of Merchandise

D-Industrial-->F-Factory and Industrial (F-1 & F-2)

E-Business-->B-Business (Office, Professional, Service-type transaction, Public or Civic Services)

F-Assembly-->A-Assembly (A-1 thru A-5)

G-Education-->E-Educational (5 or more persons)

H-Institutional-->I-Institutional (I-1 thru I-4)

J-Residential-->R-Residential (R-1 thru R-3)

K-Miscellaneous-->U-Utility and Miscellaneous (Accessory Structures or not classified in any specific occupancy)

Description of 2008 Sub-Occupancies:

A-1=Assembly with Fixed seating, intended for production and viewing of the Performance Arts or Motion Pictures.
A-2=Food and/or Drink Consumption.
A-3=Worship, Recreation or Amusement (Physically active), and other assembly uses not classified elsewhere in Group A.
A-4=Indoor Sporting Events with Spectator Seating.
A-5=Participation in or viewing Outdoor Activities.

Factory and Industrial (F):
F-1=Moderate Hazard.
F-2=Involves Non-Combustible, Non-Flammable Materials, or Low-Hazard Production.

High Hazard (H):
H-1=Materials that present a Detonation Hazard.
H-2=Uses Present a Deflagration Hazard or a Hazard from Accelerated Burning.
H-3=Materials that readily support combustion or present a Physical Hazard.
H-4=Materials that are Health Hazards.
H-5=Semiconductor Fabrication Facilities using excessive Hazardous Production Materials (HPM) in excess of the permitted aggregate quantity.

Institutional (I):
I-1=Housing persons, on a 24-hour basis, capable of self-preservation and responding to an emergency situation without physical assistance from staff.
I-2=Medical, Surgical, Nursing, or Custodial Care, on a 24-hour basis, of more than 3 persons who are not capable of self-preservation or responding to an emergency situation without physical assistance from staff.
I-3=More than 5 persons who are detained under restraint or for security reasons.
I-4=Day Care Facilities occupied by persons of any age who receive custodial care (without overnight) by individuals other than parents, guardians, or relatives in a place other than home.

Residential (R):
R-1=Residences occupied Transiently (for less than 1 Month).
R-2=Residences containing more than 2 Dwelling Units and occupied on a Long term basis (for a month or more).
R-3=Residences containing not more than 2 Dwelling Units and occupied on a Long term basis (for a month or more).

Storage (S):
S-1=Moderate Hazard Storage Occupancy for any Flammable or Combustible Materials.
S-2=Low Hazard Storage Occupancy for Non-Combustible Materials.

This list is for informational purposes only. Refer to the 2008 Code Text for the official reading.

Also see the DOB Fact Sheet

Have a question? E-mail Permitadvisor