City Council members vent Sandy frustrations

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A frustrated group of City council members liberally peppered officials from the mayor’s Office of Management and Budget with questions during a Wednesday hearing about the pace of spending of Superstorm Sandy recovery money. The members urged the agency, if nothing else, simply to comply with a recently passed law that requires the city to track where the cash is going.

“There are people suffering,” said City Councilman Mark Treyger, chair of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency, which held a joint hearing with the Committee on Finance. He noted that delays in repairing homes and businesses are sapping the last financial wherewithal of residents in storm-affected areas.

The city spent more than $2.3 billion on the recovery efforts, according to the latest figures from the end of 2013, which it hopes to fully recoup from federal funding sources. But additional billions of dollars coming from the Department of Housing and Urban Development has yet to make its way to individual homeowners.

While the administration notched up several victories with the Federal Emergency Management Agency-including launching the successful Rapid Repairs program and recouping the maximum reimbursement on several initiatives-there have also been a host of programmatic and management challenges.

Those challenges have proven more acute with the HUD money, which must be allocated according to a laundry list of specific regulations that lawmakers have blamed for delays.

“We are in conversation with senior staff at HUD and at FEMA about how best to streamline the federal coordination issues,” Mr. Grathwol said, indicating that the city hoped the talks would result in a quicker approval of federal funding.

And on a city level, Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to announce a comprehensive reforms to Sandy spending Friday, though the administration has already retooled programs like Build it Back, which has helped thousands of residents reach the final steps of beginning work on their homes.

Councilmembers also chided the office for not posting all of the information required by a recent law to an informational website called the Sandy Tracker.

“It’s not a suggestion,” said City Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), who was a cosponsor of the legislation. “It’s a law of the city.”

Mr. Grathwol said issues of privacy for individual homeowners and businesses, for example, have hindered the office’s efforts to provide all of the information outlined in the law, but that the Office of Management and Budget would work with the Council on the sticking points.

Source: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20140409/REAL_ESTATE/140409861/city-council-members-vent-sandy-frustrations

Here Are 8 Fascinating Projects Aimed At Protecting NYC From The Next Superstorm Sandy

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Adaptation measures would strengthen local resilience to sea level rise and the next Superstorm Sandy.

Ten proposals are vying for funding to prepare the New York metro region for disasters like Superstorm Sandy and make recovery from such events easier, cheaper, and faster. Organized by a project called Rebuild By Design, some of the plans have evocative names, like “Blue Dunes,” while others hit the conceptual nail on the head: “Commercial Corridor Resiliency Project,” anyone? But they share a bottom-up approach for creating urban and regional design solutions that invest in the concerns and needs of local communities.

The project accomplished this by organizing multi-day tours and meetings last fall that brought its design-build teams, selected from architecture and consulting firms worldwide, together with citizens and civic leaders of towns and neighborhoods hard-hit by Superstorm Sandy. The teams were required to use what they learned in these encounters to inform their solutions, which combine flood protection with additional community concerns like improving environmental health, increasing local job and business opportunities, restoring wildlife habitat, and keeping the “flavor” of waterfront and beachfront communities alive.

Rebuild By Design is a public-private partnership organized under the President’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, including several regional urban design and development groups, and funded in large part by The Rockefeller Foundation. (Full disclosure: I reported on Rebuild by Design last year for the blog 100 Resilient Cities, a project that is also funded by The Rockefeller Foundation.)

The community-design team partnerships have “far exceeded our expectations,” says Amy Chester, project manager of Rebuild By Design. “Each one of them have been able to create real, solid community coalitions, and demonstrate how those coalitions shaped the ultimate designs.” Several teams have been joined by their community coalitions at this week’s presentations to the competition’s jury, Chester says. Once the jury makes its final recommendations, the winners will be selected by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, and receive Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding. Even if HUD declines some projects, they might be eligible for other  funding through federal or state agencies, local transportation agencies, or other entities.

Source: http://www.popsci.com/article/science/designed-we-give-dam-new-proposals-protect-new-york-coastal-communities?cmpid=newscred#ixzz2yZLWLFW7

Big Apple Goes Super Tiny: Micro-Unit Development in Manhattan Lands $10.3 M Construction Loan

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It took more than one year to get this project going but the Big Apple is finally getting its first ever micro-apartment building developed on city-owned land. As previously reported by Multi-Housing News Online, in early 2013 Monadnock Development LLC, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation and nARCHITECTS were selected as the winning team of the “adapt NYC” Competition, a city-sponsored pilot program that looked for innovative designs to solve New York’s housing crisis.

My Micro NY in Kips Bay, Manhattan

My Micro NY in Kips Bay, Manhattan

M&T Bank recently closed on a $10.3 million construction loan to provide the largest piece of financing for Monadnock Development LLC and its partners to build the first micro-unit, modular property with rental apartments measuring between 250 and 370 square feet. Additional financing for the $16.6 million project called My Micro NY will come through equity provided by the development team and a secondary construction loan awarded by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Though some voices might question the project’s significantly low price, My Micro NY will be a financially sustainable development by incorporating very fast, efficient and cost effective modular construction technology designed to make small spaces more livable. “Modular construction is cost efficient and we believe these micro-units will fill a need in the

My Micro NY in Kips Bay, Manhattan

My Micro NY in Kips Bay, Manhattan

Manhattan market,” said in a press statement M&T Bank Regional President Peter D’Arcy.

The innovative My Micro NY is currently under construction on the site of an old parking lot at East 27th Street and Mt. Carmel Place in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood. The nine-story rental property will include 55 small-sized units built with modules prefabricated in a factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard by Capsys Corp., Monadnock’s sister company that specializes in modular housing. Designed for singles and couples and expected to be available for rent in 2015, the apartments at My Micro NY will feature nearly 10-foot ceilings, 8-foot windows and built-in storage spaces that will make the units appear larger. According to an official statement, 40 percent of the super-tiny units will be marketed as affordable. Project plans also include nearly 700 square feet of retail space at the ground floor of the building.

Source: http://www.cpexecutive.com/cities/new-york/big-apple-goes-super-tiny-micro-unit-development-in-manhattan-lands-10-3-m-construction-loan/

NYC Non-Residential Construction Spending Dropped in 2013

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Construction of office space, institutional development, sports/entertainment venues and hotels fell 6.9 percent in 2013 to $8.4 billion from the year prior, marking the third consecutive year-over-year non-residential spending decline, according to a new New York Building Congress analysis.

“At $8.4 billion, construction spending in the non-residential sector was substantial in 2013, but it is disappointing to see a decline in annual spending,” said New York Building Congress President Richard Anderson in a prepared statement. “It is also disappointing in that we had expected spending in this sector to reach $10 billion when we released our annual forecast in October of last year. Hopefully, much of the anticipated work will come to fruition in the coming year.”

Overall construction spending in New York City, however, increased 6 percent between 2012 and 2013 to $29.3 billion. At the same time, construction employment rose four percent year-over-year to a five-year high of 120,900 jobs. But the number of jobs was down from 132,625 in 2008.

“The construction industry’s importance to the city’s economy cannot be overstated,” Mr. Anderson said. “Last year alone, it accounted for $45 billion in economic output, more than $23 billion in labor income and created close to $29 billion in value to the overall economy. These statistics deserve serious consideration in the ongoing discussions about development policies and capital budgeting.”

Source: http://commercialobserver.com/2014/04/nyc-non-residential-construction-spending-dropped-in-2013/

Plumbing Repair from Major to Minor

It is a terrible situation when you have a well-furnished property but nonetheless are struggling with tap water leaks and issues with your plumbing systems. Luckily, every conflict has a resolution and Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons can provide you with solutions to whatever plumbing-related issue you may be dealing with.  Finding a reliable plumbing service can be a difficult mission, even for simple plumbing issues. Whether you are dealing with major issues such as a significant obstruction of a drainage system or a simple water leak, rest assured that you will be able to rely on the services furnished by plumbing contractors.

There will almost always be a need for the services of plumber for plumbing solutions. Plumbing contractors specialize in a wide range of specialties, from installation to the repair of sewage systems. They can provide you with reprieve from blocked drains, dripping pipes, and broken bathroom or kitchen accessories. These experts can focus on avoiding these problems in the beginning, and possess extensive knowledge of the factors that cause the loss or breakage of pipes. Through the use of defense and preventative methods while installing, they also provide security for your pipes.

Typically, the installation of plumbing systems is conducted during the construction process; pipes are mounted under and in the walls in order to improve the beauty of a house. During this stage, pipes must be effectively sealed at the joints to ensure that there is no loss of water, preventing damage to the underground wiring of electricity. Pipes must be heat proof and non-flammable. There are particular factors regarding the materials used that must be kept in mind while adding sewage pipes during construction. The pipes that are used should have either a special finish or should be made of plastic to prevent corrosion.

Plumbing repair and maintenance can be a type of job requiring extensive experience to manage disaster services such as cracked pipes, hindered cellar sewers, and various plumbing issues. It’s extremely necessary that you find a suitable plumbing company in the event of a crisis. There should never be any delays in the service provided as the more time that passes, the greater the chance of having lasting damage to your home. Plumbers should clearly communicate expenses and costs prior to resolving the issues, ensuring there are no additional, unexpected charges.

There are specific details which must be researched before deciding on a plumbing repair professional. You should verify that your plumber has been certified through the State Contractors License Board (SCLB). Time and resources should be closely monitored so that there’s no waste of these. When it comes to your drain plumbing problems, plumbers at Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons can provide strategies and present to you methods for prevention. They can inform you of the most effective way of rectifying issues so the solution will last longer.

Once you have obtained a great and reliable plumber, you never have to be worried about any issues regarding your home’s drainage system. These professionals should provide you with all the plumbing-related answers you may have from a leaking sink fixture to the damage of underground pipes. Therefore, if you desire to keep your home from any water related problems, you should transition to a reliable plumbing maintenance firm that can provide you support at any time in the event of an emergency. These companies can help you manage difficult situations, providing an easier and more enjoyable life for you.

Top 6 Tips You Must Know Before Hiring A Plumber

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (718) 965-4976 or contact us using the form to the right.

Top 6 Tips You Must Know Before Hiring a Plumber

There are numerous critical indicators in identifying the right plumber for your needs. Specific criteria is often overlooked by many people when searching for the best plumber which really is a huge mistake to create, and can frequently cause you to spend more money than you need to. Below, we listed the most important factors to locate the very best plumber.

Certification

This is a significant part of choosing any plumber. Although most people would automatically assume that a plumber has all of his certifications, it is still very important that you ask first.

Are they “Reliable and Liable”

Reliable and liable is a phrase we use to tell whether a plumber is a reliable asset to you, if they will be punctual, present quality work, but also be liable for any problems that could be experienced during the job. The best way to go about finding out the truth behind this is to ask the plumber for previous clients that they have serviced. You can then get a hold of those clients in order to find out some background information about how the service went.

Their Guarantee

It’s crucial to consult a prospective plumber about their guarantee so that you know you’ll be receiving a the best quality support. If they don’t provide a guarantee, ask them for one, or else choose another plumber.

Their Presentation

Pay attention to the plumber’s presentation. How do they dress? Are they well mannered? Are they friendly and professional in their approach to work? These factors might seem nit-picky but general conduct could reflect attitude to work.

Experience

It is a good idea to discover how knowledgeable a plumber is before you choose them as the right person. Check their history on both their website, or simply ask them the length of time they’ve been in the business for. An inexperienced plumber can result in massive big problems that may ultimately cost you more money.

Top 6 Tips For Maintaining Your Pipes In Your House

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (718) 965-4976 or contact us using the form to the right.

The problem of high cost plumbing repair can easily be prevented by following these simple plumbing maintenance steps for homeowners. These steps as recommended by residential plumbers will definitely help homeowners to save on money on the high cost of today’s plumbing repair service .

1. Drain and Insulate Your Pipes

Properly insulate all taps and pipes before winter time sets in. If pipes are not properly insulated during winter time, it is very risky as any water that gets caught on the pipes, may freeze and split the pipes. It is very uncomfortable for a homeowner if pipes are damaged during the winter time.

2. Look for leaks.

Small leaks on your taps and pipes may result to uncontrollable flooding if disregarded. This particular precaution is very important as hiring a plumber in this situation can be outside of your budget. Inspect all of your pipes in unheated basements, crawl spaces and garages since pipes in these areas are prone to cracks and leaks. Getting in touch with a seasoned residential plumber will help you prevent plumbing problems when the winter season comes. Expert plumbers will also help you to identify pipe troubled areas in your home.

How to take the proper precautions for your pipes before winter:

-Drain all of your garden hoses and disconnect them.

-Drain all water flow into your irrigation systems and shut off the water flow.

-Contact us to have a residential plumber inspect your home to make sure all of the proper precautions are met. This is a worthy investment to all home owners. With plumbing, a stitch in time saves nine.

3. Insulate your pipes that are exposed.

Although most plumbing problems mainly originate from the outside pipes, please do not ignore to check your interior plumbing. Interior pipes may also freeze in cold weather . By opening your cupboard doors, it will reveal the interior plumbing and the home’s warmth will ventilate the pipes, thus preventing inner home plumbing problems. If you go on travel for a long time, set the house internal thermostat at the least to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Weatherproof difficult places in your house.

Examine window gates and vent fans where there is open plumbing. Ensure that the seals are tight. If the seals are not tight, fix the seals with caulking to avoid your house plumbing from freezing. Repair damaged windows to avoid the cold weather to get in that may damage your inside plumbing system.

5. Insulate exposed pipes.

Closing off all ventilation inside your house can result in mold growth in your pipes. You need to ensure that your pipes are properly protected from mold growth. The affordable and simple process of insulating your house plumbing may be the best approach to take. Protected pipes can also withstand the chilly winter atmosphere. Pipes near the electrical sources must also be protected with electrical tape.

6. Sign Up For A Home Plumbing Maintenance Program

Franco Belli offers affordable maintenance packages for your home. Keeping a close watch on your home plumbing system can save you a lot of time and money on future damages. A maintenance package will help extend the life of your home appliances and home plumbing system and will put your mind at easy throughout each season as your home will be in the hands of capable plumbers.

3 Reasons Why You Should Hire A Professional Plumber Instead of Attempting It Yourself

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (718) 965-4976 or contact us using the form to the right.

All homeowners have tried or at-least considered performing their very own home plumbing repairs. It is never advisable to “do-it-yourself” when it involves repairs and proper maintenance of your house plumbing system even if you have an over-all comprehension of plumbing systems. Below are the top 3 reasons why you should consider hiring a professional plumbing company instead of attempting to fix the problem by yourself.

1) You Must Always Use the Proper Plumbing Equipment

A professional plumber has the necessary equipment and gear to safely execute a plumbing repair or maintenance need without any extra effort and hassle. They retain the latest technologies in the industry that allows them to accomplish many plumbing repairs and services more accurately. This equipment, gear, and training puts a professional at an advantage over DIY believers for obvious reasons. Services like leak detection, inspections, excavation, sewer line repair, and more are easier and more accurately accomplished with the help of their modern technology. Not only does the advantage of technology and equipment aid in the plumbing service world, it is a big safety advantage as well.

2) You Have To Follow Plumbing Codes and Standards

For example, a person is having problem on clogged drain. He pours into the drain a liquid or a chemical that might remove the blockage, which is the easy-way fix to remove any blockage, but if the fix fails, the harsh chemical might leak to the water source and might contaminate the drinking water in your home or office. It is better to employ an expert to do the job, you will definitely prevent larger fix issues in the future.

Every industrial and residential property has an elaborate and complex plumbing blue print. This blue print contains a comprehensive system of waste lines, drain lines, and the linkages of the pipe system. The plumbing blue print will also aid expert plumbers in identifying the plumbing problem. An individual who is not a certified plumber and has no proper knowledge and has no expertise in understanding the plumbing system might do harm the plumbing system and might lead to a more expensive repairs that were not needed to start with.

3) Professional Plumbers Have More Experience

An expert plumber is more effective at doing plumbing repairs than a non-plumber without appropriate education and expertise. An experienced plumber is armed with education, has the proper gear, has the right education and has the right expertise to make all necessary fixes. Hiring a licensed plumbing contractor will save you time and stress.