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Sump Overflow Investigation Report: New York City



The purpose of the on-site evaluation and document review was to investigate potential

causes of a below-grade drainage sump pump that was reported to overflow periodically.

This report provides a narrative and photographic description of the drainage system serving the sump as well as a listing of any deficiencies that were noted during our site visit.



BUILT Engineers, P.C. performed on-site evaluations on August 16th, 2023 to assess the

present condition of the property. Property Manager met with our team for a discussion of the building history and escorted the team on an observation tour of the property to evaluate the existing drainage system.

Electronic copies of construction shop drawings were not available for our review. This

report is primarily based on observations made during our site visit and from information

and documentation obtained from persons familiar with the building.

The opinions and recommendations described in this report are based upon the

observations made at the time of our visit. Since there are inherently concealed and or

unknown conditions that exist within buildings, we have had to rely upon discussions with persons familiar with the daily operation and maintenance of facilities. Some equipment was not observable during our visit.

Some equipment observed was not operating during our visit due to seasonal requirements or building demand. In the case of idle machinery or equipment, our opinions were formed by interviewing available personnel and reviewing any maintenance records and service contracts presented to us.


A. Plumbing Equipment Description

As part of our survey we made observations of the plumbing fixtures, piping and equipment in the cellar. The cellar contains an accessory preparation kitchen, office and bathrooms, boiler room, as well as sump and storage areas.


Cellar Equipment (1) Boiler


(3) Electric domestic-water heaters

(1) Duplex domestic-water pumps

(1) Sump pump


Cellar Fixtures (1) Single-compartment sink


(1) Slop Sink

(1) Floor drain

(1) Water closet

(1) Lavatory


B. Plumbing Equipment Conditions


Periodic overflowing of the cellar sump pump has been reported and remained a constant issue first arising approximately two years ago.

The drainage into the sump includes plumbing fixtures located at or below grade. The sump contents was reported and observed to be mostly clear water free of any soap buildup which would be indicative that the pump is for non-sanitary discharge.

During normal operation, the sump becomes full of water, a float switch activates the sump pump, the sump pump discharges past the downstream backwater valve and into the utility sewer.

If the backwater valve on the pump discharge becomes clogged or blocked with debris, the sump pump will run continuously as it is unable to discharge past this valve. The pump will then eventually fail due to overuse as well as the lack of ability to discharge.


C. Plumbing Equipment Recommendations


It is recommended that the backwater valve be investigated and/or replaced to determine if this remediates the previous issues with the sump-pump operation.

In order to mitigate future overflowing conditions due to backwater valve failure, It is

recommended that a secondary sump pump, discharge, and backwater valve be considered along with a high-water text alert or alarm.

Upper West Side Pizza: New York, New York: Property Condition Assessment



The purpose of the on-site evaluation and document review was to assess the current

condition of the interior features and systems of a pizzeria on the Upper West Side in New York City. This report provides a narrative and photographic description of the current condition of the unit’s Architectural, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as a listing of any deficiencies that were noted during our site visit.


System Description:

The system overview showed most everything was in working order with only a few issues observed.

  • The building, which was built in 1913, appeared to be in good working condition, as all mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems had been generally maintained.

  • Storm and sanitary systems, water services, and sprinkler and standpipes appeared to all be in good working condition as well.



The subject of this assessment is a retail restaurant space occupying a ground-level storefront, below-grade cellar, and mezzanine. The space is accessed at grade from two separate streets. 


The retail space is equipped as a short-order Italian restaurant. In general, the retail space is finished and equipped with quality materials appropriate to the intended use as a short-order restaurant space. No major deficiencies or items of concern were reported or observed.



The restaurant was provided with (2) approximately 3 to 5 ton, Trane condensing units that serve (1) air-handling unit within the space. The kitchen is provided with (1) Type-I hood that is served by a grease-exhaust fan on the roof. This type-I hood is provided with a Range Guard fire-suppression system. There is also a non-ventilated hood located over the pizza oven which is also integrated with the Range Guard fire-suppression system. There is also a walk-in refrigerator that is provided at the basement level.


There are (2) approx. 2.5 to 5 ton outdoor condensing units that were observed. These units are connected to an indoor air-handling unit which was reported as installed above the kitchen ceiling. These units were physically inaccessible for further examination, as well as the air-handling unit that was inaccessible due to ongoing kitchen operations.


Kitchen exhaust fans as well as bathroom exhaust fans were observed as well as a programmable thermostat for the split-system control and a switch for the control of the Type-I hood grease-exhaust.


HVAC Conditions and Recommendations:

  • The type-I kitchen hood ductwork on the exterior appeared to be heavily corroded and damaged at the connection to the grease-exhaust fan on the roof. Grease-exhaust duct cleanouts every 20 feet and change in direction had not been provided as required. It is unclear if previous filings have been completed for the existing grease-exhaust assemblies. Additional investigations should occur.

  • The grease-exhaust fan is approaching the expected useful life. A new grease-exhaust fan is recommended as part of plans or future renovations. The existing fan does not appear to 

  • The grease-exhaust fan steel support should be scraped, painted, and investigated further as part of a potential reuse.

  • As the existing grease-exhaust fan discharge location is code compliant, it is noted that odor complaints can result from grease discharge. Make-up air systems should be provided as part of any new kitchen-exhaust design as required by code.

  • The pizza oven did not include dedicated ventilation measures. Further investigation should occur as to the pizza hood venting requirements and a grease-exhaust system should also be provided as part of future renovations.

  • Ventilation should be provided to the basement areas as required for a kitchen area.

  • The split-system AC unit appears to be approaching the expected useful life. Due to the inaccessibility of the units, an alternate location is recommended as part of future replacements. Additional investigation is also required to confirm if these are currently filed with the NYC DOB and the FDNY.



Overall, the building plumbing equipment was reported to be operating satisfactorily, and issues and recommendations are as follows:

  • A backflow-prevention device is not currently installed upstream of the domestic water service for the restaurant. A backflow prevention device is required by the NYC DEP for restaurant domestic-water service.

  • A grease interceptor should also be provided as required downstream of the restaurant kitchen drainage and should be filed as required with the DEP.

  • Some domestic water piping was observed without insulation. Remediation should occur as needed.

  • The restaurant gas meter room does not appear to be ventilated according to newly established code requirements. Provisions should be included in future renovations.



The building electrical system was reported to be operating in a satisfactory condition. A comprehensive electrical coordination study and survey is recommended as part of any future installation. The existing electrical panelboards serving the restaurant have also reached the expected useful life. It is recommended that this equipment be replaced as part of future renovations.


Life Safety:

  • Sprinklers and Standpipes: These were not provided or observed within the restaurant.

  • Fire Extinguishers: Fire extinguishers were not observed.

  • Fire-Suppression System: Filing documents and approved drawings for the kitchen-hood fire suppression system were recovered from DOB records. The drawings were approved by the FDNY in 1999. They describe a 6-gallon wet chemical system manufactured by Range Guard that integrates with both the non-ventilated pizza oven hood and the Type-I hood.

  • Fire Alarm System: A fire alarm system is not provided

  • Egress/Emergency Lighting: Emergency lighting is provided at the restaurant entrance and is powered via battery

  • Smoke Detectors: Smoke detectors were not observed

  • Ground-Fault Service Interruption: GFCI protected outlets were not observed


The conclusion of the Life Safety investigation concluded that GFCI receptacles should be installed where required. Deficient firestopping was observed in various locations. There was no fire alarm system and one will not be required as the building is under 125’ in height. A sprinkler system upgrade is also not required as long as a substantial renovation over 50% of the value of the space is performed. A comprehensive fire alarm, emergency, and egress lighting upgrade is recommended as part of any future renovations.

Case Study in Lighting Design:  Hospital Lighting Retrofit, South Bronx, NY

Office Building

Comprehensive high-efficacy lighting retrofit at a hospital in the South Bronx. The project aimed to modernize the lighting infrastructure, increase energy efficiency, and align with sustainable practices.

The project's scope extended across a vast 250,000 sq. ft. complex, necessitating thorough planning and execution. To initiate the retrofit, the engineer conducted meticulous field surveys, assessing the existing lighting systems and infrastructure. These surveys were crucial for understanding the specific requirements and
conditions of the complex, ensuring that the retrofit would be tailored to the unique needs of the hospital.

Technical Analysis
The field surveys involved a detailed examination of the lighting fixtures, their configurations, and the overall energy consumption patterns. This technical analysis informed decisions on the selection of appropriate LED lighting technology. LED lights were chosen for their high efficacy, longer lifespan, and superior energy efficiency
compared to traditional lighting systems. The engineer considered factors such as color temperature, brightness levels, and lighting distribution to optimize both energy efficiency and visual comfort within the hospital premises.

Design and Implementation
Utilizing the latest lighting analysis software construction documents were developed for bid. This phase involved translating the project requirements into detailed documentation that contractors could use to understand the scope, specifications, and technical aspects of the retrofit. The documents included lighting fixture specifications, installation guidelines, and other critical information to ensure a seamless and efficient

implementation. The retrofit itself involved the systematic replacement of existing lighting fixtures with state-of-the-art LED lights.

The transition to LED lighting not only resulted in reduced operational and maintenance costs for the hospital but also aligned with broader sustainability goals. The project stands as evidence of the expertise required to manage large-scale retrofits that integrate technical precision with environmental consciousness, establishing a benchmark for future energy efficiency initiatives within healthcare facilities.

Advancing Energy Efficiency in Diverse Settings: 
NYSERDA's Large-Scale Campus Initiative

Solar Panels

Teams collaborated with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to pioneer the large-scale adoption of energy-saving technologies across ten State University of New York (SUNY) campuses. This ambitious initiative marked the initial implementation of energy-efficient solutions, transitioning from T-12 lamps to T-8 lamps, electronic ballast, and occupancy sensors. The comprehensive scope covered over 150 buildings, totaling more than 6 million sq. ft. across New York State.

Field Surveys and Technical Implementation
The project commenced with extensive field surveys conducted in every room of the targeted buildings. These surveys served as the foundation for a nuanced understanding of the existing lighting systems, energy
consumption patterns, and spatial dynamics. The technical team leveraged this information to strategically implement the transition to T-8 lamps, electronic ballasts, and occupancy sensors. The goal was not only to enhance energy efficiency but also to optimize lighting conditions based on occupancy, ensuring a balance between energy conservation and occupant comfort.

Impact on SUNY Campuses
The adoption of advanced energy-saving technologies resulted in a substantial reduction in energy consumption across SUNY campuses. The initiative not only lowered operational costs but also positioned the
SUNY system as a leader in sustainable practices within educational institutions. The success of this project set a precedent for future energy efficiency initiatives in academic settings, demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of large-scale transitions to modern lighting technologies.

Major Renovation Project in NYC


As the lead electrical design engineer for a large-scale headquarters renovation project in New York City, this initiative targeted a 150,000 sq. ft. space with a construction budget of $5 million. It marked the initiation of large-scale adoption of energy-saving technologies in a high-rise office building, transitioning from T-12 lamps to T-8 lamps, electronic ballast, and occupancy sensors. Notably, the project received the largest Con Edison rebate for that year, highlighting its impact and recognition within the industry.

Innovative Retrofit in a High-Rise Office Building
The renovation project presented unique challenges, given the high-rise nature of the office building. The engineering team navigated complexities associated with vertical space and occupancy variations. The adoption of T-8 lamps, electronic ballasts, and occupancy sensors addressed these challenges, enhancing lighting efficiency while accommodating the dynamic nature of office spaces. This project became a landmark in implementing energy-saving technologies in high-rise office environments.


Financial Recognition and Industry Impact
The project's success was not only measured in enhanced energy efficiency but also in financial recognition. The receipt of the largest Con Edison rebate for the year underscored the economic benefits of embracing sustainable practices in the built environment. Beyond financial gains, the project made a significant impact on
industry perceptions, showcasing the feasibility and advantages of large-scale retrofits in urban high-rise settings.

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