The road to renovation is a long one, and in New York City, the thick red tape you’ll have to cut through before you can sling a hammer may require some strategy. Enter the expediter.
If you’re not familiar with the term, an expediter is a sort of middleman between you, your project team (architect, designer, general contractor) and the Department of Buildings. You’ll require a building permit to begin construction and the expediter secures the necessary paperwork so you don’t have to. Sound like snap? Think again. Just one day at the office of the DOB and you’ll easily understand these six reasons you should hire an expediter.
1. Expediters know the drill.
They’ve been dealing with the DOB and know what’s required to secure the necessary permits. They’re familiar with the permitting process in New York City, familiar with building codes and what the DOB expects.
2. Expediters can evaluate architectural plans.
These guys (and gals) are building consultants, and not merely people who wait in line to be seen and heard. A good expediter can analyze your plans before they ever intend to pay a visit to the DOB. In the end, going in with a complete set of drawings with all the necessary information will save you time and money.
3. Expediters are connected.
They spend much of their time meeting with the people employed by the DOB. They know them, their quirks, and what it takes to get your plans approved so construction can begin. They’ve built relationships with them, and this will only expedite the process and get your project underway sooner rather than later.
4. Expediters can alleviate stress for you.
Renovating is a stressful process and you’ll have enough decisions to make. You’ll also probably have to go to work to pay for the renovation. You probably won’t have the liberty of ignoring your job or calling in sick for a week so you can wait in line as your workload piles up, only to try and decipher what’s needed to get a building permit. Leave it to the pros.
5. Getting a permit takes the time you probably don’t have.
According to an article in the New York Times from December 2014, the average wait from the time the building package is filed with the DOB and the time the expediter meets with an examiner is 3.8 days. Note that this time is only for the initial meeting and not follow-up meetings.
6. Expediters will make it happen faster.
Because of items 1, 2, and 3 mentioned above, your expediter would secure the permit faster than you could. This means one thing: your project will finish sooner because it will begin earlier.
Know that you’ll still need to be involved with the expediter. Although your architect may recommend someone, if you choose to wash your hands of the process, he or your contractor may charge you an additional fee, which could be as much as 10 percent.