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What Happens to Your Building During an Engineer's Diagnostic Probe?

Written by Stephen Varone and Peter Varsalona on March 27, 2014

New York City

Engineers and architects routinely evaluate building systems by examining such visible components as the façade, roofing membrane, parapets, boilers, pipes, etc. But when seeking to determine whether a building's problems may be due to less visible underlying conditions investigative probes are often required.

New York City co-ops, condos and other buildings will soon be able to schedule Dept. of Buildings inspections online in an expansion of the NYC Development Hub. Called Hub Inspection Ready, the new service is scheduled to go live sometime this spring.

We have a board that has trouble meeting.

Not a troubled meeting. Not troubles at meetings. But trouble getting together. Coordinating schedules. Sitting down and talking.

It's not that we don't like meeting. It's just that we're all very busy. "I can meet on Monday or Tuesday," wrote one co-op board member. "I can meet on alternate Wednesdays," wrote another. "I'm available any night except Friday, Saturday, or Sunday — and not this Tuesday or Wednesday," wrote a third. (Translation: "I'm available on Monday or Thursday.")

In the midst of concern over a possible strike by Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union and a probable contract increase, condominium and cooperative homeowners might be wondering what exactly they're paying for when their condo or co-op board hires union employees. The short answer: a lot.

Along with climate change and bicycle lanes, disasters such as blackout, floods and hurricanes have become the new normal. To prepare for the next catastrophe, New York City has adopted several local laws that make it easier for condo and co-op boards and others to deal with the issues.

Services that alert condo and co-op boards and managers about building violations and fines are becoming more sophisticated and ubiquitous. Three years ago, computerized violation-tracking and alert (CVTA) services were considered nonessential by some in the management industry. Today? They've gone from cutting edge to cutting board — just another everyday tool.

As technology improves in leaps and bauds, computerized violation-tracking and alert (CVTA) services have become a veritable Swiss Army knife for managers. Most of the companies that track New York City building violations are now developing mobile apps and adding new sources of data, including some state and federal databases. They're also devising new ways to parse, analyze and present their information for easier understanding —  including "translating" identical things that different agencies call by different terms.

Services that alert condo and co-op boards and managers about building violations and fines are becoming more sophisticated and ubiquitous. Three years ago, computerized violation-tracking and alert (CVTA) services were considered nonessential by some in the management industry. Today? They've gone from cutting edge to cutting board — just another everyday tool.

Along with climate change and bicycle lanes, disasters such as blackout, floods and hurricanes have become the new normal. To prepare for the next catastrophe, New York City has adopted several local laws that make it easier for condo and co-op boards and others to deal with the issues.

We have a board that has trouble meeting.

Not a troubled meeting. Not troubles at meetings. But trouble getting together. Coordinating schedules. Sitting down and talking.

It's not that we don't like meeting. It's just that we're all very busy. "I can meet on Monday or Tuesday," wrote one co-op board member. "I can meet on alternate Wednesdays," wrote another. "I'm available any night except Friday, Saturday, or Sunday — and not this Tuesday or Wednesday," wrote a third. (Translation: "I'm available on Monday or Thursday.")

Ask the Experts

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Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

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