Rescinding Stop Work Orders with Common Sense



This is a couple of stories about the use of common sense, staying calm, clear headed, and moving towards a solution without hesitation…

One summer I got word that a Stop Work Order issued by the NYC Dept of Buildings (DOB) was rescinded. The week before I received a call from a panicked contractor saying that he got a stop work order on a kitchen renovation he was doing. After a site visit, and with the knowledge that the HomeOwner was a retired NYC Police detective that was now blind, I presented an argument to the DOB about how the contractor was not changing anything in terms of location but instead only replacing old cabinets and countertops, etc., despite the fact that the conscientious contractor had rebuilt some stud walls and put up new sheetrock. And my proof? It was that the owner was blind and actually required that everything be put back where it was originally. The DOB agreed and issued the rescind order which meant they could finish the renovation. Common sense goes a long way, but only in combination with mutual respect.

That marked the second time I’ve been confronted with a Stop Work Order and the second time I’ve been able to have it rescinded within a few days.

The first Stop Work Order happened on one of my renovation and addition Townhouse projects, and it was received because the zoning in New York City had changed and all projects in NYC were to automatically get the SWO. What I did, understanding that the zoning ruling applied to projects not yet under construction or not far enough along for the project to not be able to comply, was take some photographs of my particular project, make some quick prints and walk them down to the NYC Department of Buildings. Initially the inspector was reluctant to talk about the order, but with a little common sense I was able to convince him that the SWO was really not applicable to my project and that I had very anxious homeowners that were just about to move into their newly renovated home. With that, he issued a rescind order and our contractors returned the next day to continue work. Needless to say the Owners, who were in a total panic the day before were eternally grateful.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.