Building a House

Building a house is a large undertaking. As an architect, when people contact me for the first time they always ask "what do we do first?" This article will be 7 first steps or considerations when you are planning to design and build a house. I am not bothering listing hiring an architect as I assume that is obvious, since you are now on an architect's blog.  Building a House, Seven Firs...
R7A Zoning Site Plan

In this article we will be looking at R7A Zoning in NYC. This from a zoning analysis we did for a client. The client was looking to purchase 2 adjacent lots in an R7A Zoning District in Brooklyn, NYC. They wanted to know what the potential for development was on this property.  R7A Zoning R7A is a medium density residential zoning district in New York City. A few examples of neighborhoo...
NYC zoning analysis

People often call us who own a property or are looking to buy a property and want to develop it. They don't know what they can build. They ask: What is the first step? How do we know what we can build? Our response is: Well, you need a zoning analysis.Zoning is a set of laws or codes that set the rules for what one can build on a property. Zoning codes limit the location, size, shape, and use ...
NYC Same Day Plan Exam

Clients are constantly telling me nightmare stories they have heard about how long it takes to get something approved by the NYC Department Of Buildings. In most cases I am going to take the DOB's side on this argument. Simple tiny jobs can get reviewed on the same day they are filed. And approved in a reasonable amount of time depending on the job.The DOB offers an option for architects to fi...
Sliver Law NYC Zoning

The so called "Sliver Law" is a reference to a zoning code in New York City that aims to prevent very tall narrow buildings in certain zoning districts.Here is an example of a development that was prevented by the "sliver law". We looked into possibly developing a property for a client on an R10 lot in Manhattan. As per R10 rules we could enlarge the building by more than twice its existing si...
Removing a wall

This article is based on new York City regulations and general best practices.  This is for residential use. Typically you will need a permit for removing walls. There are certain conditions where you can remove portions of a wall without a permit.  Do I need a permit for removing a wall? The easy answer is most likely yes, but sometimes no. If you intend to remove an entire length of w...
Adding a bedroom

We get lots of inquiries from people who want to add a bedroom to an apartment. This is a relatively common practice. Lets discuss some of the rules and protocols for adding a bedroom to your apartment. The rules listed below are based on New York City regulations.  Adding A Bedroom You will want to make sure your Condo, Co-Op Board, or management company does not have any objections to...
R5 Zoning NYC

In this post we are going to be discussing R5 Zoning in NYC. The R in R5 stands for Residential. First we will look at some general info for this type of zoning. Then an analysis of an actual R5 property in the Bronx. The example is a real property we assessed for one of our clients to determine what they can build on the property.  R5 Zoning in NYC New York City has many different zoni...
Combining Apartments In NYC

It is quite common for people to combine two apartments that are next to each other. Here are some of the protocols for joining apartments in Co-Ops and Condos (in New York City). Before you purchase two adjacent apartments you should always check with the building management company to see if they allow the joining of apartments. You will definitely need to hire an architect and file this work wi...
Concrete House design

Here at Fontan Architecture we have built a few concrete houses. In this article we will discuss why we have built concrete homes and a few advantages to owning a concrete house.  Concrete House Durability has to be the number one advantage to a concrete home. We have built a few in New York and started doing so after Super Storm Sandy. Hundreds of homes were destroyed by the storm and ...