Q: We’ve got two rooftop lounges on prime of our Hell’s Kitchen condominium constructing, the place I serve on the board. Residents use them and typically lease them for personal occasions. There are most capacities for the lounges listed within the constructing’s providing plans, however they appear too low — the areas have double doorways and double exits for simple evacuation in case of emergency. We have been by no means informed to submit capability limits for the residents, as public locations are. How will we learn how many individuals can legally be in these lounges on the identical time?
A: For a rooftop lounge or patio to be authorized, it should be listed on the constructing’s certificates of occupancy, together with the aim of the area, the utmost variety of individuals allowed and cargo limits. You could find your constructing’s certificates of occupancy on the Division of Buildings’ web site underneath Constructing Data System, or on DOB NOW for certificates issued as of February 2021.
(In case your constructing was constructed earlier than 1938, the 12 months New York Metropolis started requiring the certificates, you can verify with the Division of Buildings to see whether it is authorized via a Letter of No Objection.)
Town determines most occupancy utilizing a variety of elements. These embody dividing the sq. footage by the occupant load issue listed in chapter 10 of the town’s constructing code. The formulation sometimes yields a smaller capability for a rooftop area in comparison with an identical indoor area, for security causes. One other issue is the width of the steps, for speedier exits throughout emergencies.
Having a rooftop capability that exceeds 74 individuals most certainly triggers a requirement for a spot of meeting certificates, which entails extra fireplace security necessities and doubtlessly better insurance coverage prices, stated David Maggiotto, deputy press secretary for the Division of Buildings.
It’s doable that the listed limits in your providing plans are certainly decrease than what metropolis code permits. Maybe the board, years in the past, needed to maintain exercise and noise on the roof to a minimal, or keep away from the prices related to the town’s place of meeting necessities.
“The board has a proper to be restrictive,” stated Bruce Cholst, a associate who practices actual property legislation with Herrick in Manhattan.
In case your rooftop lounge shouldn’t be permitted, you’ll be able to rent an architect or engineer to attract plans for the area, and have these accredited by the town. After development, your constructing may be issued a brand new certificates of occupancy that features the rooftop lounge.
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