Stop Work

August 3rd, 2007 by Editor B

While my neighbor on one side faces an unwanted demolition, the house on the other side has been a completely different story.

It was a small little two-story house, divided into two tiny apartments, one upstairs and one downstairs. It had seen better days and leaned slightly to one side. It was under renovation when the flood hit.

Since then it’s been an eyesore, but the neighborhood is full of those. So I was glad when the landlord finally sent a crew to work on it back in May.

The Leaning Tower of New Orleans

First they gutted it.

Then they rebuilt the lower floor, leaving the upper floor intact.

Then they rebuilt the upper floor.

Essentially they demolished the old house and built a new one that occupies exactly the same dimensions.

And, despite the debris and the noise, I was pretty happy about the progress.

I wasn’t so happy when they tore down the shed in back and built a third apartment. I believe that’s illegal for about four different reasons. I also wasn’t happy about the fact that they didn’t do any remediation during the demolition for what I presume was lead-based paint, a real hazard in an old neighborhood like ours.

Work Stoppage

In any event, activity has ground to a halt, as the Office of Safety & Permits posted a stop work order. Seems they didn’t have a building permit for any of this work.

Update: My sources in City Hall pass along the following:

A STOP WORK ORDER WAS POSTED ON 08/01/07. WE HAVE SPOKEN TO THE OWNER AND INSTRUCTED HER SHE WILL NEED TO PROVIDE PLANS BECAUSE IT’S A 2-STORY BUILDING WHICH HAS BEEN RECONSTRUCTED ON EXISTING FOUNDATION WITHOUT PROPER PERMITS. THE OWNER WILL ALSO HAVE TO PROVIDE AN ELEVATION CERTIFICATE. OWNER WAS GIVEN PERMISSION TO MAKE THE BUILDING WATER TIGHT TO PREVENT DAMAGES FROM WEATHER.

6 Responses to “Stop Work”

  1. John Smith Says:

    Earthship Biotecture for New Orleans
    http://neworleans.earthship.net

    The mission:

    * Build a fully sustainable / off grid 3 bedroom demonstration earthship home in six weeks
    * Function as a learning center for 18 months
    * Teach local political & building officials how to build earthships in New Orleans
    * Give the earthship home to a local family who lost their home to Hurricane Katrina

  2. randall fox Says:

    Bart, They need a demolition permit if the demolish more then 50 percent of the house. No matter how bad the condition of the house is.

  3. David Says:

    I don’t buy the argument that essentially they demolished the old house and built a new one. Look, every seven years a human body replaces all its cells. That is, all the living cells in your body didn’t exist seven years ago; all the ones living seven years ago are dead. But no one says you demolished your old body and replaced it with a new one. No one is accused of murdering the person that was living seven years ago. That’s exactly what the builders did. Except they did it with a house in about two months, but it’s the same principle.

    OK, I’m kidding. Only in New Orleans would someone derive building authority from such a rationale.

  4. randall fox Says:

    Well, they demolished it, Bart, even said they demolished it. There was a huge fiasco on palmyra street and five houses were demolished illegally in similar manner to this right here.

  5. Tim Says:

    “OWNER WAS GIVEN PERMISSION TO MAKE THE BUILDING WATER TIGHT TO PREVENT DAMAGES FROM WEATHER.”

    Oh good luck floodproofing it! That’s hysterical. Last time I worked on a project that involved floodproofing it pretty much meant the first floor is unusable. That’s because you can’t use removable gates and watertight doors–the floodproofing has to work all on its own without the help of humans or mechanical devices. In other words, the floodproofing must be permanent, so say good bye to ground-level living space in that house.

    Peace,

    Tim

  6. Editor B Says:

    Naw, Tim, they’re not floodproofing — just putting up plywood to keep the frame from getting rained on.

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