How Vidaris Helps Developers & Designers Understand Building & Zoning Codes
Robert, a former New York City Department of Buildings commissioner, allows Vidaris to offer unmatched expertise for clients attempting to navigate the often confusing maze of zoning codes and regulations.
“My intention was always to come into the private sector,” Robert tells us. “What interested me at the DOB was that the architecture community was using the department as a consultant.”
Robert says plenty of members of the development community are “very qualified”; however, as the rules get more complicated, it becomes difficult for these seasoned professionals to stay ahead of the learning curve.
Robert and his team at Vidaris can help them keep pace with all of the current rules and interpretations of the municipality.
“Sometimes clients are so far along in the process they can’t see the forest through the trees,” he continued. “What most people can’t do, is they can’t look at building code, zoning resolution, and the multiple dwelling law at the same time. That’s our value proposition.”
New York City adopted a new building code in 2008.
"It was the first time there was a major overhaul in over 40 years; and then it was updated again in 2014,” Robert tells Bisnow. He points out that the most recent updates were the result of Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s hard for developers to keep up to speed on the changes. I thought it was a great opportunity for us to provide deep knowledge in these specific areas,” Robert says.
Robert's division at Vidaris also reviews plans for clients before they are presented to the city in an effort to cut down on unnecessary delays by catching potential problems before they are even sent out.
“Most of the established firms in New York, they have a group of people that they work with," he says. "They have their typical architects and engineers. They have their expeditor and they have their attorney. Major firms in New York City are calling us and we’re working alongside of those people because they need assistance.”
Robert says he and his team look at the details that surround zoning and building codes and often are able to decipher the more intricate parts of a regulation. The result is sometimes a simple fix the client may not have found on their own.
“A well-established developer came to us the other day and said, ‘Listen, I’m in trouble. I can’t get this approved by the building department and I don’t have the appropriate 'light and air,' according to the Multiple Dwelling Law in these rooms,'” Robert tells us. "We gave his architect options that would work with minimal redesign."
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