Meet Our Staff:  Q&A with Carolyn Caste

November 16, 2017

Carolyn Caste, RA is HLZAE’s Director of Façade Compliance. She’s been with us since 2010. In this edition of our Q&A, Carolyn discusses FISP requirements, her inspiration to become an architect, and that one time she took a year off to travel the world.


Q: Carolyn, what’s changed in our business in the last few years?

FISP has evolved a great deal. The DOB is getting more stringent with what they find acceptable and reports have to be thoroughly reviewed for their content. As a liaison between the DOB and our office, there has been a lot of back and forth to arrive at a consensus regarding the DOB’s interpretation of building conditions and to make sure we are all on the same page.


Q: What’s the impact to the client?

The DOB is not taking building maintenance lightly anymore. Former ‘minor’ maintenance items, are now considered more serious. For example; minor cracks in a brick bulkhead are potentially a violation for failure to maintain your building. Some clients don’t believe their buildings require that level of maintenance, while the DOB is closely monitoring buildings to ensure they are maintained in a safer manner.


Q: So part of your role is to educate?

Yes, I educate people on the current expectations, updates, and changes from the DOB, and I educate our staff so they, in turn, can educate our clients.


 Q: And what’s the most effective way to do that?

Through analysis of photographs, site visits, and surveys of different building conditions. Even though there may be 50 people writing FISP reports, I review each report, providing a consistent point of reference.


Q: What inspired you to become an architect?

I was drawing floor plans in my note book in fifth grade before I knew there was a profession dedicated to that.  In college, I obtained a minor in architectural history and that sparked my interest in historic and existing buildings.


Q: You elected to take one year off to travel around the world; was that of value to your work?

Yes! As a city, I realized we’re lucky we have these laws in place. A lot of major cities don’t have these checks and balances and you have severely deteriorated buildings with no one doing anything to fix them.  In third world countries, you can tell this type of infrastructure is not in place.

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