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Postby Gaia » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:28 am

TenantNet wrote:One Stop Work Order states:

Re: CALLER STATES THE RESTAURANT HAS CREATED AN ILLEGAL CHIMNEY WITHIN THE AIR SHAFT.THIS CONDITION IS A FIRE HAZARD, VIOLATIONS ISSUED PREVIOUSLY BUT CONDITION HAS NOT BEEN CORRECTED

Last Inspection:  02/22/2010 - - BY BADGE # ____
Disposition:  02/25/2010 - A3 - FULL STOP WORK ORDER SERVED
Comments:  REVOKED PERMIT #_________ NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH MULTI DWELLING LAW 213 - FAIL TO MAINTAIN EXHAUST AT ROOF - NOT SECURE

Are you aware of this?


I sure am. It would've been more useful had the SWO been issued BEFORE the ductwork was finished. This came 6 months after the restaurant opened for business. At the time Bryan Winter (I even spoke to him over the phone) was the DBC and he issued the second SWO on 9/24/2010 and sent a Commissioners Order To Remove.

THEN the restaurant's owner phoned me because he wanted to have a meeting between himself, his architect, and me. So I brought two of my building neighbors with me. And I brought with me the Commissioner's letter as well as all the information I'd accumulated up to that point. Those two guys, as they have done before, just sat there trying to convince us that the situation they created in our homes (noise, vibration, smells (in the top floors), and a serious fire hazard) was the best they could do. And won't the tenants be happy with that?

Of course we weren't satisfied with the lame efforts made on the part of the restaurant's people (owner, architect, workmen) to [fake] correct these problems. Because the  documents and CDs acquired through FOIL requests had already proven they'd lied about several things.

We were aware early on after inviting the architect to one of our tenant meetings that he would maintain to DOB that the (vented skylight-coverered) shaft was not intended to provide air and light to apartments. And that's the road they went down.
Gaia
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Postby Sky » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:35 am

The owner will likely need to demonstrate compliance before the SWO is removed. If the permit is revoked no work can legally take place and if work does go forward, you should call in immediately to 311 to make at least two separate complaints to DOB, 1) for working in violation of a SWO, 2) illegally performing work without a permit. The money fines for violating a SWO become progressively higher with each additional violation of the SWO and in itself the fines can represent a real world deterrent as they escalate. The Full SWO also prevents ANY permit-based work from being performed on the premises until the SWO is rescinded, so it places the premisses on 'lockdown' so to speak.

Does the actual permit and/or DOB job application specify that your windows will be sealed in? Or is it covered by another permit? If there's no permit for the actual filling in of the windows than it is beyond the scope of permitted work and is illegal.

If the job is classified as a Directive 14 job, it is self certified by the architect, and it's the architect, not DOB, who assumes responsibility for the correctness of the plans. You can tell if it is a Directive #14 job by looking at the DOB job application and if that box is checked. In such an application DOB does not do a careful review of the plans and the architect assumes responsibility for all compliance, including inspections. There's a doc called the TR1 which should be in the virtual job folder (declares who will assume Technical Responsibility for the job).

Have you got a certified copy of the actual violation report for the SWO, the one that TenantNet included in his post? An actual violation report is more detailed than the line of text entered on the computer system.

BTW, if I were you I'd call DOH anyway, even though you think they will not find issue with the venting. It cannot hurt to have them out and they may not see things in the manner you see them and they may see other things entirely unrelated and comment upon them. If they inspect the shaft and say it all looks good, you can show them a choice doc or two from the DOB that demonstrates a problem with the shaft. Maybe they wish to take a look inside the restaurant as well (include the restaurant's name and address in your complaint). Just having a DOH inspector poking around will be unnerving for a restaurant. The point is to get more eyes on this and to start applying more pressure on the parties. It costs you nothing but a free phone call.

From my experience a SWO can last indefinitely if the owner refuses to correct the condition and pay the fines. If your owner is one who knew the vent would be a problem and knew there would be tenant/DOB opposition, knew there'd be consequences and went forward anyway, then after already receiving a SWO intends to seal over your windows ... I would not hold my breath for his voluntary compliance with the law.

I think you are barking up the wrong tree if you intend to wait for DOB to remedy this. DOB can issue violations and fines, as they have already, but that's likely as much as they can do within their statutory authority. DOB cannot order the LL to correct this, only a court can. From what has already been posted, it appears that the DOB has done what they should be doing and they do no appear to be the primary party to apply pressure to (your own architect can verify this).
Without either voluntary compliance by the owner or an enforceable court order this can easily exist for the next decade, or indefinitely, at the status quo.

I believe this is destined for court in order to get your bedrooms back.


The owner and the restauranteur are the beneficiaries of this ventilation system. One other tactic that is worth considering before you dive into the big money of a lawsuit is guerilla action. Get a handful of tenants armed with placards (huge hairy cockroach crawling in grease? large headshot of the restaurant owner and building owner & people chocking to death by asphyxiation others in gas masks, get creative) and big mouths to picket the restaurant. Do it during the restaurant's busiest hours (friday or saturday at dinner?) and make a huge commotion. Make an impact on the restaurant owner and his wallet, his customers enjoyment of their dining experience, and the building owner. Maybe get a little more organized and get all your friends to commit to an evening of protests and picketing. Have your sealed over bedroom windows ready for viewing and try to get the media involved. Have a small concise handout to give to passersby about your bedrooms, the restaurant and DOB, and asking them to withhold their patronage. If you bring real heat onto the restauranteur and create a real or perceived impact on his business's reputation/profits, you may get lucky and compel him to act in his self interest.

Face facts: you are going to have to rock the boat one way or another, and you are going to have to rock the boat so that it impacts their on their wallets. Otherwise they will not act. Nice gentlemen armed with volumes of facts and greatly annoyed but who refuse to take significant action pose no economic threat and can be thoroughly ignored.
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Postby Gaia » Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:17 pm

Sky wrote:The owner will likely need to demonstrate compliance before the SWO is removed. If the permit is revoked no work can legally take place...


Well, the work the LL is doing on the shaft is under a different job number than that done by the restaurant two years ago. So the SWO, which I THOUGHT would prevent ANY work under ANY permit going forward...does not. New job numbers are not affected (I'm told by DOB) by SWO's on other job numbers.

Sky wrote:... you should call in immediately to 311 to make at least two separate complaints to DOB, 1) for working in violation of a SWO, 2) illegally performing work without a permit.


I did this a while back and that's how I found out that a SWO on one job doesn't keep another from going forward.

Sky wrote:The Full SWO also prevents ANY permit-based work from being performed on the premises until the SWO is rescinded, so it places the premisses on 'lockdown' so to speak.


That's what I thought. And I did check the DOB site for an explanation on this.
Full Stop Work Order
Stops all work on a construction site or building, excluding any necessary remedial work to make the site safe.

Sky wrote:Does the actual permit and/or DOB job application specify that your windows will be sealed in?


Job Description on the application
HEREWITH APPLICATION IS FILED TO CONVERT ADJACENT TO SHAFT BEDROOMS TO STORAGE CLOSETS AND CLOSE WINDOWS OPENING TO NOT-COMPLAINT COURT YARD AIR/LIGHT SHAFT PER MDL :213(5) LAWS. LAW APPLIES TO NOT COMPLIANT CONDITION RETROACTIVELY. WORK INCLUDES GENERAL CONSTRUCTION ONLY. NO CHANGE IN EGRESS, OR OCCUPANCY THIS APPLICATION


Sky wrote:If the job is classified as a Directive 14 job, it is self certified by the architect, and it's the architect, not DOB, who assumes responsibility for the correctness of the plans. You can tell if it is a Directive #14 job by looking at the DOB job application and if that box is checked.


I'm not seeing anywhere on the TR1 the words, "Directive 14." But under item 7 Inspection Applicant's Identification of Responsibilities, the second box is checked: I certify that I am conducting Small Building Inspections and assume the responsibility for special inspections specified in section 3 above...

Sky wrote:Have you got a certified copy of the actual violation report for the SWO, the one that TenantNet included in his post?


I do not. I can see that violation (among others) is still active and no ECB violation has been issued. Seems it went nowhere.

Sky wrote:BTW, if I were you I'd call DOH anyway, even though you think they will not find issue with the venting. It cannot hurt to have them out and they may not see things in the manner you see them and they may see other things entirely unrelated and comment upon them....


Good idea. Thanks.

Sky wrote:I think you are barking up the wrong tree if you intend to wait for DOB to remedy this.
...
I believe this is destined for court in order to get your bedrooms back.


Me too.

Thanks again for all your attention to this.
Gaia
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Postby Sky » Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:49 pm

Well, the work the LL is doing on the shaft is under a different job number than that done by the restaurant two years ago. So the SWO, which I THOUGHT would prevent ANY work under ANY permit going forward...does not. New job numbers are not affected (I'm told by DOB) by SWO's on other job numbers.

I did this a while back and that's how I found out that a SWO on one job doesn't keep another from going forward.


A PARTIAL Stop Work Order limits where work cannot be performed. A FULL Stop Work Order prevents ANY permit-based work from proceeding (except emergency make-safe stuff).

I'm not seeing anywhere on the TR1 the words, "Directive 14." But under item 7 Inspection Applicant's Identification of Responsibilities, the second box is checked: I certify that I am conducting Small Building Inspections and assume the responsibility for special inspections specified in section 3 above...


It's on the original main job application form (I forgot the nomenclature, PB1?), look at item #2 perhaps on such a form.


I do not. I can see that violation (among others) is still active and no ECB violation has been issued. Seems it went nowhere.


GO to DOB and get a certified copy of the hand written SWO violation or FOIL it. Violations/SWO do not go 'nowhere'. They remain active, are dismissed, are brought into to compliance, fines paid, rescinded, etc. The DOB computer system is limited in text entry space and is usually a very abbreviated version of the actual violation report, often omitting primary, critical, or supporting info ... there's just not enough space on the line or two allowed on the computer entry. You need to consult the full report for reliable data.
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Postby Gaia » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:12 pm

Sky wrote:A FULL Stop Work Order prevents ANY permit-based work from proceeding (except emergency make-safe stuff)


There are indeed two FULL STOP WORK ORDERS on this property.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:42 pm

Hi All
Make a commotion......I agree with Sky........not such small spuds & did say 60 Min prior. NY Post loves this kind of story. FDNY Comissioner & Mayor's Office notice as well. Make it known that the DOB accepts false documentation. Strike while public memory of DOB is still somewhat fresh.
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Postby goodluckcharlie » Sat May 14, 2011 4:00 pm

since its a corner lot, you probably have another window which is keeping the room legal. why they filed it as making the bedroom into a closet, who knows.

probably the dob's letter is your best reponse of action. the landlord had a contractual obligation with you. the lease. by altering the substance of what you are receiving, they have affected that contractual obligation.
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Postby TenantNet » Sat May 14, 2011 4:18 pm

Hey Charlie, you have a shift key on your computer?
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