The Final Review

Burnham’s Blog

The Final Review shares the knowledge of Burnham’s experts in building permit expediting and code compliance. Learn about different jurisdictional building permit requirements, and stay up-to-date on the Americans with Disabilities Act and local accessibility standards. Follow the latest in sustainability, including building energy codes and sustainability design developments.

New York City’s Solar Incentives Prioritize Drawdown's Rooftop Solar Solution

Aug 14, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Rooftop solar, now ubiquitous in many areas throughout the world, plays an increasing role in both commercial and residential energy generation and storage. While it has a history of implementation in countries such as Germany and Australia, there has been an influx in smaller rooftop installations throughout the world. As of 2015, 20 percent of all photovoltaic (PV) capacity worldwide is smaller-scale, rooftop panel installations.

Part of the Electricity Generation sector, rooftop solar ranks #10 in Project Drawdown’s list of solutions for fighting global warming. If implemented according to their scenario results, growth from .4 percent to 7 percent of worldwide rooftop solar energy generation will net a 24.6 gigatons reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and save $3.4 trillion dollars in home energy costs by 2050. 

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Recent New York State Changes to Increase Energy Efficiency and Storage

May 30, 2018 10:00:00 AM

New York has been at the forefront of state-level work to combat climate change. Recently undertaken initiatives and regulatory changes are part of the state’s aggressive push to increase sustainability and transform the electrical grid. Programs to deploy more energy storage and improve buildings’ energy efficiency are among the 2018 developments in New York State.

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New York City Adopts Laws to Increase Energy Efficiency

Apr 10, 2018 10:00:00 AM

New York City recently enacted several progressive laws to improve buildings’ energy efficiency. These new requirements are in keeping with the City’s commitment to combat climate change. In June 2017, Mayor de Blasio issued the Climate Action Executive Order stating that New York City would adopt the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and directing city agencies to develop plans for reducing greenhouse gas ((GHG) emissions. According to the Inventory of New York City Greenhouse Gas Emissions, buildings are responsible for 67 percent of the City’s GHG emissions, and therefore, it is critical to adopt measures to increase their energy efficiency.

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NYC DOB 2018 Process Updates and Drawing Requirements

Mar 8, 2018 10:30:00 AM

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) continues to streamline plan review for all permits. After the Building One City report was released in 2015, the City implemented a number of changes to customer service and began to update submittal and permit processes. DOB is now making further updates to the existing DOB Now system to make more project eligible for electronic submittal, with an eventual goal of all project submitted electronically. We’re taking a look at the current drawing requirements as well as changes to the DOB’s submittal processes this year. 

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New Limits for New York City After-Hours Construction Noise

Jan 30, 2018 10:00:00 AM

New York Mayor de Blasio signed into law new construction noise mitigation requirements on January 18, 2018. The legislation, sponsored by City Councilman Ben Kallos, is a response to the dramatic increase in complaints over that last few years, especially those resulting from after-hours construction noise. It is important to be aware of these new requirements that will impact the New York City construction industry.

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Car Bans, Congestion Pricing Plans Target City Traffic

Jan 26, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Transportation researcher Anthony Downs introduced his traffic equilibrium theory, the Law of Peak-Hour Expressway Congestion (Law), in a 1962 paper. Citing that “on urban commuter expressways, peak-hour traffic congestion rises to meet maximum capacity", the Law is applied to urban roads as whole: no matter if a road is widened or additional lanes are “built in and around American cities, you can’t stop cars from jamming them up.” image by Daryan Shamkhali

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New York City Takes Bold Steps to Meet Paris Climate Agreement Goals

Oct 4, 2017 8:00:00 AM

New York City Mayor de Blasio is following through on his commitment to adopt the Paris Climate Agreement targets. The Mayor announced on September 14, 2017, a progressive proposal requiring New York City’s existing buildings to undertake significant reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions. If the Mayor’s plan becomes law, it will move New York City to the forefront of United States cities pushing for improved building energy efficiency and use.

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New York City Zoning: Major Changes for East Midtown Manhattan

Aug 15, 2017 8:00:00 AM

New York City has undertaken a number of significant rezoning efforts in recent years. The latest change received City Council approval on August 9, 2017, the rezoning of a section of Midtown Manhattan known as East Midtown.The amendment of the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York is intended to encourage development in a major business center. The inability to construct larger-scale office towers has slowed growth in East Midtown. Rezoning the area to encourage development while accounting for the needs of different stakeholders has been a number of years in the making.

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Key Steps to Support Battery Energy Storage System Adoption in NYC

Apr 18, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Burnham attended the NYC Solar Installers Workshop held on March 1, 2017. Battery energy storage systems were a major focus of the Sustainable CUNY of the City University of New York organized workshop, particularly fire safety concerns relating to batteries. Although there has been significant progress in removing obstacles to energy storage system deployment in in New York City, fire safety issues need to be fully understood and protocols developed to allow for an efficient battery installation process. 

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Mayor de Blasio Signs Laws to Prevent New York City Gas Explosions

Dec 7, 2016 7:00:00 AM

New York City’s Mayor de Blasio signed legislation yesterday responding to a number of recent horrific New York City gas explosions.The blasts, resulting in deaths and injuries, brought to light some major problems with the city’s system for installing and inspecting gas connections. The ten new laws use a multifaceted approach to increasing the safety of New York City’s gas infrastructure.

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Building Permits in New York City's Historic Districts

Nov 29, 2016 8:00:00 AM

New York City has 35,000 landmark properties and most are located in 139 historic districts and historic district extensions across the five boroughs. These properties also include individual, interior, and scenic landmarks. With that in mind, it is natural to wonder how to obtain permits for alterations and improvements in New York City’s historic buildings. We decided to dive into the details of New York City’s landmark preservation requirements and show how renovations in historic districts may receive approval.

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The Economic and Resiliency Value of Pairing Solar and Storage: New York City

Sep 27, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory published a report in June 2016 that examines the resiliency value of pairing solar and storage. The report, New York Solar Smart DG Hub-Resilient Solar Project: Economic and Resiliency Impact of PV and Storage on New York Critical Infrastructure (Resilient PV and Storage Report), is based on a study jointly conducted by NREL and the City University of New York (CUNY). It is part of a larger initiative run by Sustainable CUNY, the NY Solar Smart Distributed Generation (DG) Hub - Resilient Solar Project. The Resilient PV and Storage Report makes the case for using solar combined with storage to provide resiliency in addition to reducing greenhouse gases and lowering energy costs.

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A Look at Hoboken, New Jersey’s Resilient Building Design Guidelines

Sep 15, 2016 8:00:00 AM

In October 2015, Hoboken, New Jersey published its Resilient Building Design Guidelines, intended to increase protection against flooding. Hoboken was severely flooded during Hurricane Sandy, and since that time, has been proactively working to design and build a more resilient city. In our recent post about President Obama’s initiative to promote resilient building codes to respond to climate change, we described a number of national programs supporting ways to mitigate climate change’s impact. We thought we would take a closer look at Hoboken’s Resilient Building Design Guidelines as an example of one program component of a city’s strategy to improve building resiliency.

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Updated New York City Energy Conservation Code

Sep 6, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Last month, New York City enacted amendments to its administrative code that would update the New York City Energy Conservation Code. The New York City changes are intended to conform the city’s code with recent revisions to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code that incorporated the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code. The effective date of the updated New York City Energy Conservation Code is October 3, 2016, so any applications filed on or after that date must be in compliance with the updated code.

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Burnham Helps the Show Go On at Lincoln Center

Aug 3, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Burnham is managing the process of issuing a Final Certificate of Occupancy (CO) for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (Lincoln Center), a 16.3-acre complex of buildings in Manhattan in New York City. A Certificate of Occupancy establishes the legal occupancy limits and allowable use of a building. All buildings require a CO and existing buildings are required to get a new or amended CO when construction will change their use, egress or type of occupancy. Additionally, no one may legally occupy a building until the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) has issued a CO or Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO).

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Streamlining New York City Building Permits: DOB Now

Jul 26, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The New York City Department of Building (DOB) is moving to a completely digital system for processing building permits and inspections. The new online portal, called DOB Now, will streamline DOB’s procedure for approving construction projects. DOB Now is currently being phased in and is an exciting development. We at Burnham are looking forward to using our own state-of-the-art electronic database to interface with DOB Now and believe it will expedite the entire approval process for New York City building permits.

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Understanding the Solarize Community Solar Programs in New York City and State

Jun 7, 2016 8:00:00 AM

New York City and State Solarize programs are locally organized community outreach efforts aimed at getting a group of homes and businesses in one area to install solar energy. New York State supports Solarize community solar programs as part of the NY-Sun Incentive Program. The NY-Sun is Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion initiative to advance solar energy. In his 2016 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo set the goal to install solar projects in 150,000 new homes and businesses by 2020. In this post we’ll share how the Solarize program is performing across the state as well as share updates to the New York shared renewables program and Solarize NYC.

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Historic Zoning Changes: New York City Zoning for Quality and Affordability

May 19, 2016 8:00:00 AM

This past March, New York City adopted amendments that are major changes to its zoning regulations, Zoning Resolution of the City of New York. These amendments seek to increase the amount of affordable housing in all five boroughs and improve the quality of the city’s housing. We at Burnham have been following the process for the adoption of the changes to New York City’s zoning regulations and are providing an overview of Zoning for Quality and Affordability, some of the complex amendments to New York City’s zoning regulations.

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What You Need to Know About the Department of Buildings in New York City

Apr 27, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The new year brings some much needed contemporary changes at the Department of Buildings (DOB) in New York City. The DOB is in the midst of fundamental reform in an effort to increase transparency, enhance public safety, and improve customer service throughout the Big Apple. In this blog post, we highlight some of the most important changes to the New York City Department of Buildings in 2016.

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Improved Fire Code Guidelines for New York City Solar Installers

Apr 12, 2016 8:00:00 AM

New York City solar installations must comply with the Fire Department, City of New York’s (FDNY) code requirements. In a prior post, we discussed some of the New York City Fire Code provisions that cause delays and increase the cost of installing solar in the city. Based on our experience assisting clients with solar permits, we also recommended possible solutions to the issues posed by the New York City Fire Code. We are pleased FDNY recently took steps to resolve some of the problems faced by New York City solar installers and will review these improvements in this post.

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