The latest news on New York architecture.

  • Understanding Local Law 84

    Understanding Local Law 84

    If you own a large building, then you should already be aware of Local Law 84, also known as the NYC Benchmarking Law. This law holds you responsible for reporting the water and energy consumption of your property.

    Starting in 2018, Local Law 84 is expanding to include mid-size buildings that are larger than 25,000 square feet, but less than 50,000 square feet. This means that a whole new range of properties will now be required to comply with Local Law 84. Because of this, it is very important owners of mid-size buildings are able to understand and provide the necessary information to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s online portal, because a failure to comply will result in a penalty.  

    The purpose of this law is not only to help the local authorities understand the consumption of water and energy, but allow for an increased amount of transparency. This is of particular importance because many people, when looking for a place to live, take into consideration the energy efficiency of the building. By collecting this data, the city will be able to provide both landlords and renters with the information they need in order to make more sustainable choices. 

    The Process

    If you’re a mid-size building owner and you aren't sure how to comply with the new annual benchmarking process, we’re here to help. Below, please find the necessary steps we’ve provided, which will help you understand the necessary forms to complete and how to get your building information registered:

    1. Check the Covered Buildings List online for your property every year.

    2. Set up an account in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®, if you don't already have one.

    3. Enter or review the characteristics and uses of your building.

    4. Collect every bit of energy and water data from your utilities provider for the entire building.

    5. Record your energy and water usage in the Portfolio Manager® account you created in step 2 above.

    6. Confirm and enter your BBL and BIN information.

    7. Check your data for errors and completeness, and make adjustments as needed.

    8. Submit usage data to the City by May 1 of every year through your profile.

    This process will help the New York City better plan energy uses in the future. Environmental protection remains a priority in the entire city, the stakeholders of which realize the importance of being as responsible as possible with energy and water. By knowing your energy consumption, you can then work towards making positive changes and reduce the energy used by your building. 

    If you own a building, you already know that there are a variety of inspections and laws you need to adhere to on a continuous basis. Local Law 84 is just one of them. But you don't need to panic; instead, simply work with experts that are there to help you navigate through the laws. If you have any questions, or need help in getting started, please contact us.

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  • The Case for Contract Procurement Services

    The Case for Contract Procurement Services

    When choosing a contractor for a building project, it seems so simple to choose the company with the lowest estimate and get to work. However, the contractor with the lowest price tag may not be the most qualified for the job. When choosing between contractors seems daunting, hiring an Architect to perform Contract Procurement Services may be the best course of action.

    A “qualified contractor” can only be defined in the context of the job to be performed. For example, a simple exterior renovation may only require a contractor who can cut and repoint masonry and replace facebrick with typical brick, however, the skillset required would increase drastically if it were an exterior restoration of a landmarked building which required mortar matching, historic sensitivity and coordination with the Landmarks Preservation Committee. Reaching out to an Architect who truly comprehends all of the factors governing a project can simplify process of choosing an appropriate contractor.

    Evaluating a contractor’s qualifications becomes easier when you have multiple points of comparison. Once hired for Contract Procurement Services, the Architect will reach out to trusted contractors and obtain three or more qualified bids. An initial walkthrough of the building and scope of work with all of the bidding contractors allows for more consistent bids. Before dismissing any proposals, the Architect will reach out to the Contractors and answer all relevant questions, to ensure that they are fully aware of the scope of work involved.

    When it comes to assessing bids, the estimated costs can be the fastest way to filter out sub-standard contractors. Contractors that fall into an average price range are probably looking at the job in a similar way and may offer comparable quality. However, a bid that falls way above or below the average could display signs of a gross miscalculation, which could mean disaster further down the road.

    Once the bids are initially narrowed down, contractor interviews help make a final decision easier. The Architect will help mediate interviews between the Client and the chosen bidders to assess whether their past work experience is applicable to the project’s scope of work. If the contractor’s experience and price seem like a good fit, the bid can be awarded and work can begin.

    As a full-service architectural firm, Scott Henson Architects is qualified to assist clients in choosing the best contractors for any kind of project. From facade repairs to interior renovations, we can help balance the quality and cost associated with a project. Contact us to learn how we can offer peace of mind in this important step of your valued job.

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