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Am I getting scammed?

JuliaGreenEyes

Registered User
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
2
Location
Brooklyn
A few days ago he received a letter from an engineering firm with the following text:

"Please be advised that we are unable to receive the final "sign off" certification of completion as per directive 14/75, nor are we able to comply with New York City DOB regulations until the following requirements are complied with"

1) file to reinstate job with DOB $750

2) amendment to be approved $500

3) submit technical reports $2,900

4) plumbing inspection- to be completed by others

5) Obtain certificate of completion $1000

total due $5150



I have no idea what this is about, the letter is in my father's name, he is elderly but does not recall ever dealing with this firm. He has no records from the initial work on hand 8 years later (thought about reaching out to the contractor but no records of that either).

some googling led me to the DOB website where I found a stop work order from 2012 on the property that is a construction violation with no other information included. Not sure what that means but it was in red so Im assuming its important.

Is this a scam? are they trying to extort an old man? is this related to the stop work order?

Any insight would be much appreciated.

Thanks y'all

J
 

e hilton

Bronze Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
1,573
Location
Virginia
Stop work order in 2012? Sounds like somebody is cleaning up old files. The fact that you found it on the DOB website gives it some creedence. Call the DOB, ask them where you can find a copy of the original permit so you can see what the work was. Call the engineer who sent you the letter, ask them for more info.
 

cda

Sawhorse 123
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
19,908
Location
Basement
certification of completion

Do you need this if the house is ever sold???

You might ask the local city/ county that issued the building permit about it.

What work was done ??? New house? Addition ?
 

ICE

Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
9,508
Location
California concrete jungle
Where I work, an expired permit lays dormant until something happens such as a lender requesting a CofO or there is an application for an unrelated permit. The fees that you have listed indicate a substantial scope of work however jurisdictions can have outrageous fees but it might be the engineering firms fee for doing the legwork. The $2,900 for reports seems high. The only work mentioned is plumbing and that is odd. Another oddity is that this came from an engineering company and not the building dept.

Something to keep in mind is that the owner is usually, not always but usually, an uninformed bystander. A contractor earns a stop work order, quietly does nothing about it....collects money and goes on to the next bystander. If the engineering company was involved initially, there is some responsibility to perform. If the engineering co. is on a fishing expedition they should be looked at by the jurisdiction.

I see elder abuse by unscrupulous contractors, lawyers, health care providers and engineers are on the list too.
 
Last edited:

mark handler

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 25, 2009
Messages
10,994
Location
So. CA
A few days ago he received a letter from an engineering firm with the following text:

"Please be advised that we are unable to receive the final "sign off" certification of completion as per directive 14/75, nor are we able to comply with New York City DOB regulations until the following requirements are complied with"

1) file to reinstate job with DOB $750

2) amendment to be approved $500

3) submit technical reports $2,900

4) plumbing inspection- to be completed by others

5) Obtain certificate of completion $1000

total due $5150



I have no idea what this is about, the letter is in my father's name, he is elderly but does not recall ever dealing with this firm. He has no records from the initial work on hand 8 years later (thought about reaching out to the contractor but no records of that either).

some googling led me to the DOB website where I found a stop work order from 2012 on the property that is a construction violation with no other information included. Not sure what that means but it was in red so Im assuming its important.

Is this a scam? are they trying to extort an old man? is this related to the stop work order?

Any insight would be much appreciated.

Thanks y'all

J
Contact the Building and safety department https://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/index.page

This is what the directive is about: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/code_notes_directive-14of1975-alterations.pdf
 

Teeshot

Registered User
Joined
Nov 1, 2017
Messages
87
Location
Pleasanton CA
Why would the engineering firm give a darn about the project not receiving final approval. Any stop work or notice of violation places the burden on the property owner. Be careful with this one.
 

JuliaGreenEyes

Registered User
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
2
Location
Brooklyn
UPDATE:

Thanks everyone for your input.

I contacted the DOB, they didn't know and suggested I file a "Freedom of information" request.

That took a few days but I finally heard back. Seems there was some paperwork filed for construction work that was then rejected and a stop work order was placed by the borough commissioner. Interestingly, the original paper work is filed by a different engineering firm, not the one that contacted my father.

Seems the contractor never mentioned this when they did the work at the time. My father does recall the contractor switching to a different firm because the first one was not any good. We just don't know if the firm that reached out to us is the one that actually picked up the work.

I emailed the engineer, no response as of yet.

According to the DOB, a "final sign off" on the work is missing.

Im going to try and see if I can find and contact the contractor who did the work at that time, otherwise I have to see if the price they are asking is reasonable or if I should just hire a different firm.

with regards to why the firm reached out, they basically said (in the initial letter) if we don't respond they will "release themselves of the obligation to be the firm for the job" which would put us at risk for fines by the DOB because we would no longer have an engineer on the job.

I would actually rather just pay a fine to the DOB to make this go away than try to figure out this mess :-/

Question- What are the consequences of just ignoring this? Will this be an issue for the next time we ave to hire a contractor to do another job? (thinking about doing a roof patio for the building in the future).

Thanks everyone
J
 

fatboy

Administrator
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Messages
6,219
Location
Northern CO
I’m not sure that would work. I think the DOB will want it properly closed out.
First, I apologize for assuming you were a "hit and run" poster, glad to hear back from you.

In my shop, when something like this happens, I always tell the permit holder that when I didn't know about it, I didn't know about it. Now I know about it, can't just ignore it again.

I would file a FOIA with the DOB and find out exactly where the permit stands.

The $5,100 seems a bit excessive, but then you are in New York.

Again, I would suggest finding out exactly where you stand with the DOB. File a FOIA for the permit records.

Good Luck!

Post back!
 

e hilton

Bronze Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
1,573
Location
Virginia
First, I apologize for assuming you were a "hit and run" poster, glad to hear back from you.
I don’t follow you, i don’t remember a comment from you like that. And i have thick skin (my wife says its as thick as my skull) so I don’t get offended easily.
 

fatboy

Administrator
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Messages
6,219
Location
Northern CO
Post #8, and it was directed at the OP, I should not have quoted your reply.

Sorry, thanks for checking!
 

cda

Sawhorse 123
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
19,908
Location
Basement
UPDATE:

Thanks everyone for your input.

I contacted the DOB, they didn't know and suggested I file a "Freedom of information" request.

That took a few days but I finally heard back. Seems there was some paperwork filed for construction work that was then rejected and a stop work order was placed by the borough commissioner. Interestingly, the original paper work is filed by a different engineering firm, not the one that contacted my father.

Seems the contractor never mentioned this when they did the work at the time. My father does recall the contractor switching to a different firm because the first one was not any good. We just don't know if the firm that reached out to us is the one that actually picked up the work.

I emailed the engineer, no response as of yet.

According to the DOB, a "final sign off" on the work is missing.

Im going to try and see if I can find and contact the contractor who did the work at that time, otherwise I have to see if the price they are asking is reasonable or if I should just hire a different firm.

with regards to why the firm reached out, they basically said (in the initial letter) if we don't respond they will "release themselves of the obligation to be the firm for the job" which would put us at risk for fines by the DOB because we would no longer have an engineer on the job.

I would actually rather just pay a fine to the DOB to make this go away than try to figure out this mess :-/

Question- What are the consequences of just ignoring this? Will this be an issue for the next time we ave to hire a contractor to do another job? (thinking about doing a roof patio for the building in the future).

Thanks everyone
J


Might have trouble if you try to sell
 

Paul Sweet

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Messages
1,571
Location
Richmond, VA
It's possible that the original engineering firm merged with, or was bought out by, the firm that contacted your father.
 
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