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DOB consultants?

Postby WalterK » Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:48 am


We're in process of scouting commercial spaces to build out a small restaurant that will require venting for cooking. In examining the DOB code requirements, it's difficult at times to figure out exactly what the various code requirements actually stipulate - not only for venting, but for other issues, as well. It seems as if many of the requirements are subject to varying interpretations.

Working with architects hasn't always helped to clarify these issues. Obviously, we don't want to sign a lease and THEN find out that a particular renovation to meet code requirements is either exorbitantly expensive or not even permitted.

Are there DOB consultants - such as former DOB inspectors - who are very knowledgeable and who might still have access to current DOB personnel to get clarification in advance of certain key questions? Please understand, we are not looking for anyone to "schmear" anyone to look the other way, or sign off on contracting work that is illegal or subpar - but rather to get some clear-cut answers IN ADVANCE as to what is likely to be permissible under the code for the specific location...

Thanks in advance for your advice...
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:56 am

Wrong web site. We deal with residential tenants, not commercial tenants. That said, a registered architect should be familiar with DOB rules and codes. Make sure the zoning allows commercial first floor use.

For restaurants, there needs to be a chimney/vent that rises to at least three feet above the roof of the building, possibly higher if three feet is still within a certain distance of an "open receptor" (window) of the same or adjoining building. The lease should provide for the installation of such a vent. But get professional help and don't sign anything unless all the requirements are written in the lease. '

And a word to the wise, don't even think about opening up a noisy bar if you have nearby residential neighbors. You will save a lot of time and effort by approaching and working with those who live nearby (not the community boards which are often corrupt, but the real neighbors). Otherwise you may get tenants or a block group organizing against you. Be a good neighbor.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:59 am

Hi All
Just my view, I would think the DOB is the source for clarification on their own codes?
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Postby WalterK » Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:33 am

Thanks for your replies. Sorry if I've posted on the wrong forum...

As to the DOB being best clarifiers of their own rules, one would like to think so, but in reality we've gotten 3 or 4 different interpretations of a given rule - it all depends who you speak to on a given day. Many of these rules were codified many years ago, and now everyone has to read the tea leaves as best they can.

By way of example, even the description of the venting requirements as alluded to by the moderator has varied by DOB staffer. One has said that the vent itself -not the vent opening - cannot be within 3 feet of any existing window - so that simply elevating the riser by a few more feet on the roof would not bring the vent into compliance. Running a vent up 5 stories is not a trivial or inexpensive task, and to sign a lease without such ADVANCE clarification brings heartache to all involved. I had been a NYC renter for many, many years and have lived with dubious alterations by LLs and commercial business tenants that seriously impacted the quality of life in my apartment. I do not want to inflict the same on anyone.

Thanks again..
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