We got a VERY good call today… After a lot of frustration earlier, our PAA was approved! There’s still some paperwork that has to be processed before it’s all finalized in the system, but it’s been a world of difference dealing with our new expediter / code reviewer – Levi Reznicek of William Vitacco Associates (lreznicek @ vitacco . com). He knows his stuff, and he and his company are trusted by the plan examiners. That makes all the difference. They know how to book appointments closer together, the plan examiners don’t mind if they stop by for quick things without an appointment, etc. It’s a completely different experience working with them. DOB used to scare me – it seemed so arbitrary. But now I feel like we have someone on board who can truly expedite things.
At the end of the day the solution to our construction classification problem was to revert back to the previous building classification, which was a 1938 classification. That means we’re now being reviewed under 1938 code. 1938 code requires 5 story buildings to have a 3 hour separation between the basement and upper floors (e.g. a thick concrete floor). But we got around that by being fully sprinklered (sprinklers didn’t exist in 1938).
The one thing we’ll have to change is that the rear deck has to be fully non-combustible. There was some question as to whether Trex (the plastic wood) was non-combustible. Some of it has a Class A fire rating, but it’s not quite “non-combustible”. So we’ll have to go with an all-steel deck.
I should mention that our architect has worked with a lot of big expediting firms. The reason why he had us go with William Vitacco is because to him they seemed like the most responsive and proactive of the big firms. And that impression was confirmed as we worked with Levi to prep for today’s meeting.
We’re using Levi / William Vitacco for our C of O process – so hopefully that will be smooth sailing as well…