Construction and renovation projects are necessary, but often troublesome—especially when they're occurring next door. For many residents and building owners adjacent to an ongoing project, noise, debris and construction zones diminish respective quality of life. The list of grievances fielded by property managers can be long, varied and in some cases include damages, or worse.
It Ain't Pretty
“For the most part, these construction projects badly affect neighbors,” says Marc Luxemburg, president of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums (CNYC) and a partner at the Manhattan-based law firm of Gallet Dreyer & Berkey. “The problems most often include dirt, dust, noise, rodents, loss of light or view and scaffolding,” he continues. “The main problem for residents is that it impacts their quality of life.”
While the recession has hampered many would be new construction projects in Manhattan and surrounding boroughs in recent years, there has been an uptick in activity. Larger projects, such as International Gem Tower at 55 West 46th Street, the Four Seasons Hotel and Tower at 99 Church Street, and Fiterman Hall at 30 West Broadway are among a number of projects currently under construction. New Yorkers living on Second Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan are also acutely aware of how disruptive a project like the construction of the Second Avenue subway can be on daily life.
“The goals of the parties who are actually doing the construction next door are usually much different than those who are either residing in the building or on the board of the building,” says Mark Levine, vice president of business development for Excel Bradshaw Management Group in Manhattan. “Quality of life can take a drastic turn for the worse with the noisy, messy work that is ongoing, so it really is important for the developer or contractor of the offending work next door or above to have open lines of communication with the building that we’re managing so that we have an idea of timetables, expectations of noise and debris and any other pertinent information that may help ease the process.”
Renovation projects are usually shorter in duration and thus produce smaller issues, such as the aforementioned dust, odors and debris. However, no matter the size of the project, the presence of construction crews and equipment can disrupt neighboring residents’ lifestyle. “In the case of air, space and views being infringed upon,” says Levine, “some residents will have more of an issue than others and property values may take a hit as well. It’s a multi-faceted issue that we’re dealing with.”