The Client

The family was in a hurry. School was starting in a matter of months, and they had a massive project ahead of them. The homeowner faced the challenge of transforming two separate cooperative apartments into a single, expansive family home in their family's new school district. All in a historic district of the Upper West Side.

The homeowner knew that this couldn’t be done alone. The project required the expertise of a seasoned architect, an engineer, and an experienced permit consultant. The homeowner, new to the renovation scene, relied heavily on this team to navigate the project of combining living spaces in a historic building. Thankfully, they had an experienced network of support. The architect, having worked with Nexus on over 200 projects in 11 years, confidently recommended them for their proficiency in handling the intricate permit process.

The homeowner trusted the architect and their decision to engage Nexus. This project was not just about creating a larger living space; it was about crafting a home that would meet the family's needs while preserving the historical integrity of the building. The collaboration between the homeowner, Nexus, and the architect was a blend of vision, expertise, and trust, setting the stage for a successful renovation journey.

The Problem

Even a small home renovation can leave someone drowning in permits. But this wasn’t a small renovation. The project's scope included obtaining landmark permits, an asbestos report, and a range of DOB permits for general construction, structural modifications, plumbing, and mechanical work. The introduction of a new heating and cooling system added an extra challenge to the mix.

The potential for delays was high, with each permit and approval being a potential roadblock. The homeowner and the architect would need a water-tight plan to avoid project delays, as the family was eager to move into their new home in time for the school year.

The Solution

Nexus Consulting's response had to be swift and strategic. They looked over the requirements and crafted an efficient filing strategy, leaving enough time for each agency’s permit issuance without risking delays. Their experience helped them anticipate and prevent potential issues with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. In fact, they were able to obtain a waiver for energy code compliance, which significantly speeded up the approval process.

The team used the provisions of TPPN 3 of 1997 to allow for the combination of apartments without the lengthy process of acquiring a new certificate of occupancy, which could take up to a year. If the team had decided to go that route, they would have risked months of delays and further coding complications, putting the family at risk of missing the start of the new school year. They also thought ahead to prepare the asbestos report ahead of time so they could file it as soon as they had Landmarks' approval. 

Big projects aren’t always simple, and this one had its rejections. However, what matters most is how they’re handled. Nexus kept things moving by presenting well-researched documentation, arguing for the waiver of layout-related objections. This was the move that saved the client from making extensive and costly layout changes. Their comprehensive approach, from strategic planning to meticulous execution, was instrumental.

The Results

This project could have easily taken a year or more, just in permitting. However, the homeowner's vision of their new family home on the Upper West Side became a reality much sooner than anticipated. The permits from all the different agencies could have been a nightmarish project. But, all permits were approved and secured in only one month, a testament to Nexus's strategic planning and deep understanding of the New York City permit process. This swift acquisition of permits allowed the renovation to commence without delay, aligning perfectly with the family's timeline and enabling them to move in by the start of the school year.

The project's success was not just in its timely completion but also in the seamless coordination and communication among all parties involved. Nexus's role in this project went well beyond permit acquisition; they were the link between the homeowner, architect, and regulatory bodies that let them all work faster. Their technique and planning helped everyone collaborate on the project without facing regulatory snares. The gains weren’t just in time, though. The energy code waiver and use of building code exceptions also brought the homeowner significant cost savings. The project’s architect and Nexus Consulting continue to work together, with their projects topping 20 per year.

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