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Luxury Residential Renovations and Their Inherent Challenges

Updated: Oct 27

A Guide on Luxury Residential Renovations and the Challenges to Plan for


Every renovation has its own unique set of challenges and triumphs – especially with luxury residential spaces. In addition to the constraints by what the building or lot will allow for, the firm that is handling the project must be versed in providing and installing luxury appointments with a very high level of precision. Owners tend to underestimate the level of planning, coordination, permitting, and money it’ll take for the renovation to be completed – not to mention the hidden treasures lurking within the city’s historic luxury residential buildings.  


Fortunately, you can overcome the inherent challenges associated with luxury residential renovations in areas from the Upper East Side to downtown, from Brooklyn to New Jersey and everywhere in between, by preparing ahead of time. Let’s take a look at the 6 most important things to consider. 


Finding an Experienced Contractor


Planning a high-end renovation requires you to hire a residential architect familiar with luxury designs and builds. Hiring a knowledgeable team is crucial to creating a successful, collaborative process with owners, architects, and designers. 


Filling for Permits


Almost every renovation requires filling with the Department of Buildings, using a licensed contractor, and applying for building, electrical, and plumbing permits and in the installation of systems and finishes/fixtures not usually encountered on a typical project. The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to be approved, depending on the renovation complexity. Residential buildings designated by the Landmark Preservation Commission require filling additional applications. Before you even get started working on the project, the LPC must approve all materials and design aesthetics to fit within the building’s historical, architectural, and cultural status. 


Other Renovations


When thinking about a luxury residential renovation, one of the most important questions to ask is – are other apartments in your building planning a renovation, or have they recently wrapped up a project? Apartments could run the risk of becoming over-valued for the neighborhood if not built consistent with the other units, which could hurt future resale opportunities.


Inadequate Structural Work


Depending on the age of the building, old construction methods can pose a few challenges. For example, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, balloon framing was popular. Framing and wall cavities run hollow from foundation to roof with no platforms to break up structural beams on each floor. Things such as moisture control problems, insulation, buckling beams, and unleveled floors can create a renovation challenge. 


Staying on Budget and on Time 


The Tri-State Area is one of the most challenging places to complete a renovation on budget and on time – especially with high-end residential renovations. They are expensive due to building rules, insurance, and regulation costs. Hiring a well-experienced architect and a general contractor is essential to avoid delays and order changes. 


Dealing with Owner's Associations 


Owner's associations regulate New York apartment buildings with varying levels of strictness. These associations have sets of rules for renovations as to what time you will be allowed to start work to where you can install a washer and dryer. Co-op boards tend to be stricter and can often derail your renovation plans. Department of Buildings in the Tri-State Area regulate building & zoning code requirements that often threaten the very design intent of a ground up luxury home or expansion/renovation of an existing property if not interpreted properly.


When you embark on your next luxury residential renovation, make sure you hire a team that is ready to tackle the challenge. At DBe, we strive for excellence with every project and have extensive knowledge of renovating high-end residential buildings and spaces. Contact us to schedule a consultation today!

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175 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014

81 Prospect Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

27 N. Broad Street, 2nd Floor, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

tel. 718-797-1335
fax.718-797-1368

info@dbe.nyc