By: Mike Lopez
December 18, 2020
As we close out the year and some of our 2020 projects, we go through our checklists, ensure punch list items are complete, and begin to prepare our Department of Buildings paperwork to close out the project. Even after construction or restoration work has been fully completed, many of these items linger and can prolong the administrative portions of the project schedule. As Building Envelope Consultants, it is important to ensure that projects are closed out as swiftly and expeditiously as possible.
One aspect that is often lengthened is closing out a historic landmark project with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). There are a lot of moving parts when closing out a project, so it is possible to miss this requirement or overlook part of the process. To eliminate the possibility of issues, the LPC has provided an outline of the process to obtain a Notice of Completion. It states: “A Notice of Compliance (NOC) letter or “sign-off” can be issued upon request for approved projects, but LPC does not require an NOC except when addressing open violations and permits issued in connection with related approvals from the City Planning Commission (CPC). However, the DOB often requires an NOC prior to final closeout of the DOB process. Requests for NOCs must be accompanied by clear photos of all approved exterior work, including work not visible from a public thoroughfare, and a list of any “as-built” conditions that differ from the original approval.”
If you are a Building Owner or Property Manager who is not familiar with this requirement, it is easy to determine if this requirement pertains to your project. This item is typically confirmed after the initial filing with the Department of Buildings (DOB); however, you can also check on the DOB Buildings Information System (BIS) website. If LPC sign-off is required, it would be listed as a required item on the DOB BIS’s “Required Items” page for that job number. If LPC sign-off is required, it is important to be proactive so the design professional on the project can plan ahead and prepare the necessary documentation, drawings, photographs of completed work from all vantagepoints, and required project narratives. It is easy to get caught up with tying up loose ends towards the end of the project, but closeout should not be a “last minute” item. Being proactive will make project completion a lot smoother when the time comes.
Not only is preemptive planning important, but so is organization. Keeping all required documents orderly is extremely beneficial to the Preservationist assigned to the project. Staying organized will make closing out the project a smooth process and cut back the overall time that goes into this phase. Good organization should start the moment the project starts. Rather than wait for the request and waste time gathering photos of completed brick installation and mortar repointing, have the documents ready, prepared, and submitted in a timely fashion. The few extra hours spent organizing and preparing for project closeout at the start will save a lot of headache at the end.