Combining spaces (apartments, stores or offices)

Stacked or side by side?

The basic wisdom is that side by side is usually cheaper and easier. This is because opening walls is typically simpler than creating floor openings and the related framing. Additionally,  the single level eliminates the need for stairs or elevators. Of course the availability of the space(s) is usually what determines the outcome.


Value of the additional space?

Do the new spaces create a good new layout when combined with the existing spaces? Is all of the space available needed? or can the goal be accomplished by using a part of the new space?

Why should we  be stacking similar functions?

Buildings generally require that water-containing spaces be located above one another in a continuous vertical line, commonly referred to as “wet over wet”.  Thereby confining the potential leaks into spaces that do not do as much damage to the spaces below as a “wet over dry” example. The usual forbidden example is the creation of a bathroom over an existing living room- whereas changing a Kitchen into a bathroom is more likely to meet with approval.

Are there Zoning and building code implications?

Many towns restrict the number of bedrooms allowed in an apartment. NYC for example does not allow 2 kitchens in one apartment. Spaces being connected,  also have to be within certain limitations of fire spread and separation and their combination can often trigger additional code requirements, parking changes, etc . Check before you make that purchase or agreement.

Exposures and Infrastructure

Note the views, noise and smells when evaluating the new spaces. Also pay attention to new circulation paths, garbage removal and proximity to building services like elevators.  Do not forget to evaluate HVAC, sprinkler, electrical and plumbing capacity vs the new demands of your expanded space.


What are the usual approvals needed for you combination?

The owner or property manager of the building usually has first dibs on the review of the project to make sure it conforms with the regulations in place. Once these approvals are obtained, a construction permit has to be issued by the local building department. This occurs after reviewing their review of the plans to assure compliance with applicable codes and requirements.

Let’s talk about your situation. Call Steve 914 980 5532.