Outdoor spaces like balconies, terraces, and roof decks can add a lot of charm and value to your building, as well as providing pleasant spots for residents and their families and guests to take the air and relax. It's just about now - as residents are bringing in plants and re-caulking windows - that co-op owners and boards should consider fixing up balconies and rooftop living areas. While most work should wait until warmer months because of materials' reaction to cold, planning early could save money.
Scheduling work for spring now can help co-op boards secure good prices, while guaranteeing work for construction and repair crews at the beginning of the busy season. Also, preliminary site work can be done during the winter months, often at off-season prices. Planning early also allows for comparison-shopping and eliminates last-minute decisions. Industry specialists say too many property owners don't do their homework before spending.
Outdoor living space considerations range from the practical (is the balcony about to collapse?) to the aesthetic (should a greenhouse be added to the roof?) But basic safety should be the first concern.
"The repairs of these are typically expensive, noisy, dusty and inconvenient for the shareholders. And - like with dental work - most people don't take the steps they need to take, until they must," says Wayne Bellet of Bellet Construction in Manhattan. "Most people do not do preventative work"¦which is why I'm so busy."
Every five years, a general, exterior safety inspection must be completed by an architect or engineer and filed with the city Department of Buildings (DOB). It's called Local Law 11, and most high-rise building in New York City fall under its jurisdiction.