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We work to ensure our services meet your schedule and budget.

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Guides by amy green design

Why a Feasibility Study is Your First Step Towards a Successful Building Project

Understanding Consultants Needed For Your Building Project

How Long Will My Building Project Take

Calculating Costs for Your Building Project

Bidding Contractors like a Pro

Working With Your Architect

AGD Feasibility Studies

AGD Pricing Tiers Process

Kitchen Design Process


What services do you offer?

amy green design brings a full range of solutions under one roof for our clients, including:

  • interior design
  • architecture
  • project management
  • consultant management
  • construction administration
  • 3d renderings & interior elevations
  • feasibility studies, code & zoning analysis


Whether our clients employ just one or all of our services they benefit from the expertise of a firm that does it all.


Learn more about our services on our Architecture and Interior Design pages.


Services for interior design can be as simple as a color palette consultation or as involved as interior design for your entire space. We offer architectural services as complex as additions to a home, combining units in a condominium, building out a high-rise office building — and more!

What types of projects does amy green design work on?

We work on both residential and commercial projects in both new building, renovation & expansion capacities. Projects with amy green design can range from as small as a kitchen or bath remodel to as large as a new ground-up building with dozens of tenants. You can view some of our past work for clients on our Portfolio pages.

Our favorite projects are those where we get to work 1:1 personally with our clients and their unique design ideas.

Let us work with you to create the greatest places for you to live, work, and play in.

Request a Free Quote

How does my project benefit by amy green design being both an Architectural and Interior Design firm?

Clients of amy green design benefit from reductions in cost, timeline, communication, and coordination on their projects. amy green design brings the expertise of architecture, interior design, 3D rendering, construction administration, consultant & project management all under one roof.

Is amy green design a licensed Architectural and Interior Design firm?

Yes, amy green design is a licensed Architectural and Interior Design firm. We are licensed in numerous states and while we are experts particularly in NYC — we have worked on projects across the country to help clients achieve great design.

What is your process with new clients?

Our thorough potential client in-take process means you can feel entirely confident in your project plans when you sign on with amy green design.


  1. Free phone consultation: together, we discuss your desired goals, budget, timeline, where you are currently at in the process, and how amy green design can help you best achieve those goals.
  2. On-site consultation: once we see the space in-person together, we can determine coding requirements, advise on design considerations, and begin sketching the design together on-site
  3. Proposal: after an on-site consultation together, amy green design will provide you with our recommended proposal for services. We’ll review the proposal over the phone with you and answer any questions you have. You can sign-on as a client of amy green design to begin working together under a full scope of services, or if you prefer, you can proceed with smaller services such as a zoning study, feasibility study, design consultation, or other services prior to signing on for full services.
  4. Kick-Off: once a client of AGD some of our first services will inlcude setting up a dropbox where you can conveniently find all project-related information in one location throughout the duration of your project (no more digging through emails) along with a full estimated schedule and budget for your project and we’ll set up times to come measure and document every inch of the space as well as AGD hosting a day in the life sketching and inspiration meeting together during which we’ll help you visualize how you could live your best life in the space and how AGD’s design can work to help you achieve that.

What can I expect during my phone consultation?

Together, we will examine how amy green design can help you take the best next steps forward in your design project. We will discuss your goals, timeline, budget, and where you are in the process. We will want to hear what you are most looking forward to in the design process and difficulties you foresee so together we can remove or minimize those perceived obstacles. We will also consider whether you are looking for this to be a quick-fix renovation, to last the next decade, or to pass on to future generations.

We discuss how to balance your budget, schedule, and goals for the project. We review permit and any other legal requirements governing your project and how we can help you master them with our decades of experience in the industry. These consultations typically last 30-45 minutes.

What can I expect during my on-site consultation?

Our on-site consultations allow us to see the space in-person with you to help best determine coding requirements and design considerations. Then we can begin sketching the design together on-site. These consultations typically last 2-3 hours depending on the complexity of the project and where you are in the process.


Below is an agenda of what we will accomplish together during our on-site consultation:

  • Walk the site and space together
  • Discuss how it could be reworked to best suit your needs
  • Advise you of any coding considerations
  • Review results of our phone consultation and discuss how they impact your unique goals for the project
  • Help you determine the style you want for your renovation
  • Create a rough sketch showing how the space could be laid-out to meet your goals
  • Review and discuss amy green design’s research on the property
  • Discuss permits required, or what scope of work can be accomplished without permits
  • Identify consultants, contractors, vendors, and inspectors needed; establish their rough costs along with hard and soft costs
  • Create a rough schedule
  • Discuss balancing your timeline with your desired schedule
  • Curate a list of services with amy green design to make your unique project a success
  • Discuss next steps; likely going back to our office to provide you with a service or feasibility proposal


“You’re the consummate professional! We couldn’t be more grateful for your valuable insight and assessment of our potential home remodel.”

– happy client in Brooklyn


What are clients saying who came to amy green design to take over a project from another party because design and construction professionals did not establish clear goals, vision, schedules, or budgets?

“You’ve been so amazing through this process and I keep telling friends I should have had you on board from the beginning!”

– happy client in Upper East Side

How do you structure your proposals, project fees, and payment schedules for clients?

amy green design’s proposals are based on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) contracts, which are the most reputable in the industry.


Many architects leave out critical services and fees to win the project with the lowest initial proposal. Be wary of change orders and additional services/fees which low-balling architects may add after contracting a project. This can lead a more expensive total fee, versus architects such as amy green design who take the time to carefully identify every service and fee from the beginning.

We custom-create every proposal for each client’s unique goals, schedule, and budget to help you achieve a successful project. We typically structure our proposals one of three ways:


1. Fixed Fee

Our most common proposal, we agree to complete services for a certain price in a specific time frame. A deposit is required to begin work on the project, and the client is billed monthly as services are completed. Many clients prefer these proposals because they know from the beginning what services they are paying for, expected payments, and when the work will be completed.


2. Hourly

These proposals provide the clients with an hourly rate per service. We only bill for hours incurred on the project. If the project takes more hours than estimated, the project can increase in cost. The client may elect to reduce services to keep hours within the original estimate.


3. Retainers

For continual work with amy green design, clients can reserve a certain amount of time on an ongoing basis.


amy green design offers a free proposal review service to potential clients. We review and compare up to three proposals from other architects/expeditors/interior designers at no charge. We will advise you on potential issues, critical services that have been left out, and unnecessary costs.


Would you like to take advantage of amy green design’s free proposal review service? Email no more than three proposals to for a free comparison.

What should I expect once I sign a contract with amy green design?

amy green design has a tailored welcome packet to on-board clients to the amy green design family. This educates clients on what to expect during the design, renovation, construction, and permitting processes.


One of the first welcome items you receive is a Dropbox folder curated specifically for your project. amy green design will continually add to the folder so you can access all project information in one simple location. No more digging through emails!


We also send you a quick survey to determine the most convenient times to communicate, have meetings, meet on-site, and your preferred method of correspondence. We want to work with you how and when it is most convenient for you.


We also send you a schedule for your project along with resources amy green design has created to guide you through the process. Throughout your project you will receive reminders when we are progressing from one stage of services to another along with what to expect during each stage.


One of the very first meetings we’ll schedule at the start of your project will be a sketching and inspiration meeting together during which we’ll help you visualize how you could live your best life in the space and how AGD’s design can work to help you achieve that.

Why might a feasibility study be the best first step for my project?

Feasibility studies are a great first step for clients who want more information for their project before proceeding with a full proposal for architectural and engineering services. These are particularly helpful for clients trying to decide whether to renovate, expand, or build new. amy green design can use preliminary drawings from the study to price contractors, estimate timelines, and determine the best way to pursue a project.


Feasibility studies are also most helpful for clients evaluating several building sites or spaces. amy green design can help determine the benefits and potential at a fraction of the cost of contracting and retaining firms for full architectural and engineering design. If the feasibility study shows the building site will meet your goals, you can make a more informed decision to contract with your architectural, engineering, and construction team for the full design and construction of the project with better knowledge moving forward. 


amy green design applies all findings from the feasibility study to the rest of your project. This means that by the end of the feasibility study, you’re already about 20% closer to the final completion of your project.

Who will I be working with at amy green design?

You will be personally corresponding with owner, architect and interior designer Amy Green, benefitting from her twenty years of experience in the industry. But we have a whole team working in the background to help us offer the best service to our clients.

Design Assistant

  • constantly following up with vendors to help clients of amy green design get the best prices, quality, quotes and lead times on AGD’s design selections and recommendations to clients
  • continually brings a breath of fresh air to AGD’s designs

Drafter & 3d Renderer

  • keeps a pulse on the latest computer-assisted drafting (CAD) and 3D rendering programs while assisting Amy on drafting for projects

Expeditor & Other Consultants

  • gets permitting done as quickly as possible with their 28 years of experience in the business
  • our network of recommended engineers, inspectors, and environmental testers are some of the best in the business while still being some of the most affordable and AGD typically manages the services of the expeditor and consultant on behalf of AGD’s clients


  • assists with invoicing, reimbursables, and accounts payable

Marketing Specialist

IT Specialist

  • allows you to access all project information in one convenient location (no more digging through emails!)


We also have a network of contractors, engineers, and realtors we regularly work with to help us best support the project work of our clients.

Client Experience Testimonials

“Amy is a driven and organized professional who is always ahead of the curve. She is client-focused and able to deliver readily on ideas, effort, and enthusiasm. With her broad architecture experience she would be a great choice to service your project needs.” – Andrew N.

“I like the artistic flair that Amy adds to her designs. Amy is very well rounded. She is responsive, a good communicator, and met my deadline and budget.” – Matt M.

“Most architects I worked with in the past take a long time to finish the job. Amy was on top of it from the beginning. I needed good quality and time was of the essence. Amy completed the work in a timely manner.” – Ed A.

“I’ve worked with Amy on both large scale luxury and commercial projects and have always had a great experience. I would recommend Amy without question. She makes thoughtful suggestions, is open to feedback in a collaborative environment, has years of experience in both the commercial and residential world and truly loves her work. She goes beyond expectations with her research and product suggestions and has made my job much easier over the years. I couldn’t ask for a better team player!” – Blayne K.

What is your typical architectural design process?

Some clients hire us just for one service such as a design consultation, documenting existing conditions, creating blueprints, or performing a feasibility study.

For larger projects, such as extensive remodels and new buildings, we work with our clients in the phases identified below:

  1. Evaluating Existing Conditions: Together with the client, we determine what will be demolished, what will remain, and what needs to be brought up to code.
  2. Schematic Design: At this initial stage we host a design kick-off to discuss balancing the budget, schedule, aesthetic goals and show how we’re helping the client achieve that in their design. The design concept is then turned into schematic blueprint floor plans showing the proposed design and demolition. If the client requested 3D renderings, those are included in this phase. We then review the schematic design, scope, and budget together with the client for their approval.
  1. Design Development: During this advancement phase we provide the client with samples of materials, fixtures, finishes, and furniture we recommend for their project (if included in their project scope). This is a fun part of the process for us and our clients where they get to see, feel, and touch the materials we recommend for their project! We also continue adding to our drawing set to reflect how the design will come together since our Schematic Design Concept review with the client. To help with that, we sit down with our clients face to face to review the design development together before progressing on to the next phase.
  1. Construction Documents: During this final drawing phase, we add construction details and code information necessary for accurate contractor bidding and compliance with local building code regulations. We review the construction documents together as full-sized blueprints with the client before submitting the final drawings to local jurisdictions.
  1. Bidding & Negotiation: During this elective phase we help clients find the right contractor for their construction work that aligns not only with their budget but also the level of quality, expertise, and scheduling of the project to best meet the client’s needs.
  1. Permitting & Expediting: During this rather technical phase we submit all applications, drawings and paperwork to obtain required permits. If Landmarks or Historic Preservation reviews are required, we assist with those submissions and approvals as well. If you have a co-op or condo board governing your renovation, we also submit all documentation to the board on our client’s behalf and work with them to gain approval.
  2. Construction Administration: During construction by the contractor we act as a liaison between the client and contractor. This ensures work is completed according to the design intent and drawings. During this phase we often review contractor requests for payment, shop drawings, samples, submittals, and sometimes even weekly photo updates or on-site visits.

Read more about our design process and working with amy green design in our “Working With Your Architect” guide and our Question & Answer Interview with Amy Green.

What is your typical interior design process?

Our interior design services often start as an on-site consultation, color consultation, specialty sourcing or other a la carte service that expands as the client sees the value we bring and then continue to add more services.

In our design kick-off together, we work to understand the client’s desired style for the space. This includes the look and feel along with the colors, materials, textures and patterns the clients like and dislike. We ask clients to share images with us of design they like with us and together we work with them to develop an understanding of how they want to live, work, relax, play, and entertain in their space. We also clarify what the client wants to reuse, refurbish or repurpose in their design. We also help clients discuss the implications of whether their project should be a quick-fix, an update for the next decade, or a legacy build to pass on to future generations; and how each of those options will affect their schedule, budget, and goals for the design.

Solidifying a clear design concept with the client early on is key to our process. This includes presenting the client with material samples, color palette options, and inspiration images demonstrating how we propose their design come together. It also includes helping them visualize how they can live their best life and how the design can help them accomplish that.

Once we have a clear design concept with the client for each space of their project, we really get down to the brass tacks! We begin to create rough furniture layouts illustrating how the space will flow and function. We select actual design pieces such as the flooring, paint, wall finishes, bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances, countertops, lighting, vases, artwork, furniture — and more!

Whether you have clear ideas for your design or need direction to point you in the right direction, we have a great set of tools, skills, and expertise to help you clearly see and achieve your design vision.

How long will my design project take?

Simple services such as a design consultation, space planning, or documenting existing conditions can be completed as quickly as a couple of weeks. A more in-depth renovation or extensive interior design project can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months depending on size, scope, level of detail and complexity.

Timing for interior design projects varies by the number of rooms, number of selections in scope, lead time for selections, and level of construction and/or installation needed in order to accomplish the design. For example, a quick-ship couch can arrive in just 2 weeks whereas a custom-order couch typically takes 12 weeks to arrive on site after ordering. For these reasons, we identify the client’s desired timeline at the beginning of the interior design project in order to ensure all design selections are compatible with the client’s scheduling goals.

Single bathroom and/or kitchen renovations are typically completed in 3 to 8 months. Timing varies by lead time of selections as well as backlog for permits, co-op board or landmark reviews, and the contractor’s schedule availability for the renovation.

Many co-op gut renovations and tenant improvements for restaurant, retail, and office spaces are completed in 6 to 12 months. Timing varies by the size and complexity of the space, backlog at the DOB, if an updated CofO is necessary, and whether the space has already been white-boxed.

More in-depth services, such as designing a new building, will likely take a year or more from start date through the end of construction. Timing depends on the size and complexity of the building, and the backlog for permit review of local jurisdiction approvals.

Co-op board reviews, historic preservation reviews, and expediting for building permits all add to the timeline of building and design projects.

Download our guide How Long Will My Building Project Take and Contact Us for a free phone consultation. We can give you an idea of how long your project will take, and recommend strategies to reduce your project schedule.

Do I need permits for my project?

If you are making aesthetic, finish, or furniture changes, then permits typically are not required.

If you are looking to move or add a wall, plumbing, electrical fixtures, windows, exterior doors, or change the use of the space (such as from an office to a restaurant), then permits are typically required.

Permit requirements vary by local building department and add to the cost and timeline of your project. As such, amy green design can help you navigate these requirements and advise design choices to help you meet the schedule, budget, and goals of your project as well as present options that can help limit the amount of permits needed to acheive your project.

I want to DIY a lot of my project. How can amy green design support me through the process?

If you’re looking for a little design direction or advise then AGD’s on-site consultations, hourly support, and a la carte services are a great option for you!

An on-site consult would give you clear direction 1:1 with Amy on-site on how to proceed on your own after the consultation while hourly services could provide you with on-going support and an a la carte service here or there would allow us to provide you with say a color palette to help you make the design selections for the space on your own with a clear color palette established for you by AGD.

We love supporting client’s design projects from start to finish, as it allows us to put all of our expertise towards their project, but we’re just as happy to help clients with just a little design insight and nudge here or there to help point them in the right direction so they can DIY the majority of the design themselves.

When it comes to actually perform the work on-site DIY, if you are looking to retile, paint, install window blinds, assemble furniture,  replace wall moldings, or other similar work that is simply cosmetic, then permits and contractors are not required. These projects, therefore, can be performed by the owner as a DIY in almost any jurisdiction, as long as you’re willing to put in a bit of time and work to complete the installation yourself. 

How much DIY an Owner can perform themselves on-site does vary by jurisdiction. In New Jersey, for example, owners of single-family homes can perform just about any type of construction on their buildings, subject to certain conditions, as permits are generally required for electrical, plumbing, mechanical, exterior expansions, and work that could affect public health or general safety is required to be performed by a licensed professional. Whenever permits are issued, the local building department will typically follow-up with one or more required inspections during the construction process. This means all work completed by the owner and any contractors the owner hires, will need to pass inspections of the local building department, however that doesn’t prohibit the owner from completing some of the work themselves, in jurisdictions such as New Jersey, which allow owners to do so.

In New York City, there is almost no work an owner can complete on their own beyond the most cosmetic of tasks such as painting, wallpapering, replacing base molding, etc. For most renovations an architect or engineer is required to submit plans, file a permit application, and sign a certification stating that the owner is employing licensed contractors to perform the construction. The architect or engineer is also required to inspect the finished work and submit a certification to the department that the work has been completed in accordance with the drawings and codes. 

Amy has taken many construction, shop, metal, and woodworking courses over the years to ensure she has first-hand knowledge of wallpapering, tiling, painting, millworking, hanging window treatments, and more! Off the job-site puts those construction skills to work helping others by volunteering with organizations such as habitat for humanity. She’s even earned OSHA certifications such as lead paint abatement and knows how to weld, pour concrete, and lathe custom-made stair railings — so watch out HGTV!

For help determining if your project requires permits and how AGD can help you set a clear design vision that you can then DIY, Contact Us for a free phone consultation.

I want to manage the construction administration of my project. How will the contractor and I interface with amy green design during construction?

If permits are required for construction, either amy green design or the DOB will be required to perform at least some inspections first hand during construction which will require your design professional to be on-site. The job must also be signed-off with the local DOB at the completion of construction with a certification from your design professional that construction was completed according to the drawings and local codes.

amy green design can provide the minimum services legally required of an Architect during construction, however most of our clients prefer us to assist with additional Construction Administration services in order to ensure work is performed accurately, quickly, and properly during construction by the contractor.

Below are some of our most commonly requested Construction Administration Services:

  • Host a construction kick-off meeting with the clients, amy green design, and the contractor
  • Review weekly photos & updates from the contractor while then advising the client of any concerns and helping resolve any issues
  • Certify contractor requests for payments
  • Provide additional site visits during construction
  • Answer contractor requests for clarifications and substitutions
  • Review contractor shop drawings, submittals, and samples prior to placing orders
  • Hosting bi-weekly construction meetings on-site with the owner, contractors, and Amy
  • Assist the contractor(s) and the owner with ordering materials, finishes, fixtures, and furniture for the project
  • And so much more!

Some of our clients have tried to manage construction administration on their own, however in most of those cases the owner found the contractor was falling behind schedule, not completing construction per the drawings, not starting construction on time, not sending enough workers, and that the owner was incurring other various setbacks during construction. Ultimately, the clients came back to amy green design to take over Construction Administration (CA) of the project under an addendum for additional services to help get the project back on track.

We highly recommend contracting amy green design to assist with at least a little more than the legally required CA to ensure your construction’s success from the first day your contractor starts swinging hammers.

Why does amy green design need to document my existing space?

If amy green design is going to be submitting legally signed and sealed drawings, then amy green design needs to come and personally verify the space, it’s layout, and dimensions. Even if there are existing drawings for your property, we will create our own accurate blueprints with which to begin work for the space with.

For interior projects without required permit approvals, personally experiencing the space will help us come up with the best design solutions for your project. Being on-site will also allow us to identify special considerations that could not be as carefully or thoughtfully be otherwise considered without first-hand experience of the space.

Read more about Working With Your Architect and what to expect in each phase of services with amy green design.

How can amy green design assist me with contractor selection and contractor bidding & negotiations?

amy green design has twenty years experience reviewing bids from contractors, negotiating contracts for constructoin, identifying errors in bids, understanding construction costs, and recommending the best bidders for our client’s construction projects.

If with all of our knowledge and experience in bidding & negotiations with contractors amy green design can save you even just 1% of construction costs through our contractor bidding and negotiations, then that savings can more than cover our service fee to do so. Given that value along with the time and headache it can save our clients, 95% of our clients contract amy green design to assist them with contractor bidding and negotiation services.

We can even recommend bidders to you from our network of contractors and host a bid walk-through with you, amy green design, and the bidders each individually. This allows you to personally meet the bidders 1:1, ask them questions, and get a feel for working with them. amy green design will be there throughout the process to answer bidder’s questions and help you select the best bidder for the project.

Read Bidding Contractors Like a Pro to learn more about how amy green design is helping clients through the contractor bidding & negotiation process and what we recommend to help you find the best contractor for the job.

What is expediting and what expediting could amy green design assist me with?

Expediting is the process of working with local jurisdictions to submit for approval and permits from the local building department as well as other departments such as landmarks, historic preservation, etc from which permits and approvals are required.

amy green design has several expeditors in our network and will recommend an expediting firm to you for your review & approval to join the project team. amy green design will oversee and coordinate the expediting work of the expeditor, but the owner will contract and pay the expeditor directly.  

The expeditor and AGD will work together to complete the permit application forms, obtain needed signatures, submit all required documents to the local jurisdictions, and meet with the local jurisdictions to review the proposed work, address objections, and work to obtain the needed approvals and required permits.

Expediting in smaller local jurisdictions can be a simple process, with approval and permits obtained in just two weeks to a month. In larger jurisdictions, such as NYC, the process is complex, requires licensed and trained professionals, several different submissions and permits are often required, and approvals can take months depending on the complexity and number of permits and submissions required.

Given the complexity, intricacy, and legalities associated with expediting, clients of AGD greatly benefit from having a certified expeditor on the team.

I'm not sure if it's best to remodel, expand, or demolish my existing building and build new. How can amy green design help me find the best solution based on my desired budget, schedule, and goals?

If your goal is to have the space up and running as quickly as possible or to limit construction, expediting, engineering, and environmental fees, then renovating is typically your best choice. While retrofitting or expanding existing buildings and spaces can be less expensive and quicker than a new build, there are more unknowns that can arise during demolition and construction. As a result, we recommend estimating higher contingencies on renovation projects.

If your goal is to stay where you are because you love the location and neighborhood, but the existing space does not suit your needs, then expanding can be the best choice. The project will have additional engineering, permitting, expediting, and timeline extensions beyond an interior-only renovation, however the timeline will still likely be less than a new building, unless critical unforeseen conditions are discovered during the due diligence and/or demolition & construction of the project. A large consideration to expansion that must be evaluated early on in order to determine the feasibility of an expansion is evaluating code or zoning regulations that limit or possibly even prohibit you from expanding in height, width, depth, FAR, or the number of units in a way you’d most desire.

If your goal is to create something from scratch that can suit or maximize your unique design needs, then new building is typically your best choice. It will have a higher cost and longer timeline, but is the best way to create exactly what you want by basically starting from scratch.

AGD offers feasibility studies and zoning reports to help you determine if renovating, expanding, or building new is best for you while helping you determine what restrictions fall on the site such as code and zoning regulations that might limit just how tall or wide you can build or how many residential or commercial units you could add or combine – if any.

Contact us today for a free phone consultation if you’d like to discuss the options for a feasibility study on your property to help you determine the full potential your site has.

I'm looking for the perfect space for my new home, business, or real estate investment. How can amy green design help me?

amy green design helps clients evaluate potential sites in three key different ways:

1) We can evaluate the site together in-person during an on-site consultation together with the client. This consultation will help the client and AGD determine:

  • What needs to be brought up to code on-site
  • Required permits and jurisdictional approvals
  • Consultants needed to complete the requried work such as mechanical, electrical, plumbing, sprinkler, fire alarm, or environmental engineer
  • An estimated timeline and key milestones for the required work
  • Renovations critical to achieving your desired look/feel/style for the renovation
  • How amy green design’s research on the property impacts your project budget, timeline and goals
  • Rough dimensions to get an idea of the space we have to work with and how it could be reworked to suit your needs
  • Design moves unique to the space that can only be considered in-person
  • Preliminary sketches for the design that begin together on-site

These consultations typically last 2-3 hours depending on the complexity of the project and where you are in the design and site selection process. We can evaluate one or multiple sites to help you determine which site is the best site for your project.

2) Our zoning studies are performed remotely and do not require amy green design or the client to visit the site. These studies are best utilized for expansions, additions, changes in use, or a potential demolition and new build when critical information, research, and due diligence on the property is desired prior to gaining access to the site.

These studies identify how much total square footage can be built on-site, how tall you can build, how close you can build to the lot lines, a report of open violations/complaints/stop work orders, infrastructure likely needing to be upgrading, required bicycle and/or car parking, maximum units allowed, site uses, any special requirements — and more!

3) Feasibility studies are a great first step for clients who want more information for their project before proceeding with a full proposal for architectural and engineering services. These feasibility studies are particularly helpful to clients who are trying to decide whether to renovate, expand, or build new. amy green design can use preliminary drawings from the study to price contractors, estimate timelines, and determine the best way for a client to continue to pursue and approach the project.

Feasibility studies are also very helpful for clients looking at evaluating several different building sites or spaces. amy green design can help determine the benefits and potential at a fraction of the cost to contract and retain firms for full architectural and engineering design. If the feasibility study shows the building site will meet the client goals, the client then can make a much more informed decision to contract with your architectural, engineering, and construction team for the full design and construction of the project once they have the results of the feasibility study in hand.

I just received a violation on my property. How can amy green design help me correct the violation?

Sometimes clients are surprised by violations they receive because they have not been aware that work done was previously in violation of local codes. The work may have been performed by a previous owner and even issued after the client took on the property from a previous owner.

Regardless of how the violation was issued, amy green design can help correct it. We have also worked with clients to improve their sites while at the same time correcting their violations, which often requires permits and drawings filed with DOB as part of the process to correct the violation; particularly for ECB violations. 

Violation fees can continue to compound, escalate, lead to legal hearings and increased civil penalties if not addressed and corrected; so we always recommend clients address and resolve violations sooner rather than later. 

I want to select a designer who is involved and connected in the community. What does amy green design do to support that?

Amy Green believes in giving back to and supporting the local communities we live and work in, and as such regularly volunteers in the local community through local organizations such as NYCares, and at local public schools to support their art, reading, and sports programs. She is also a volunteer LinkedIn Mentor who helps those in the industry across the country; particularly aiding women and minorities by providing mentorship and advice on how to navigate a successful career in the industry.

Amy Green is also a contributing writer for Pregame Magazine: “redefining success.” Amy Green writes a column in the magazine “Building Blocks” to inspire others to design their best lives.

amy green design donates a portion of all proceeds to the Nature Conservancy to protect our beautiful natural resources and environment for generations to come.


As-of-right Development

An as-of-right development complies with all applicable zoning regulations and does not require any discretion­ary action by the City Planning Commission or Board of Standards and Appeals. Most developments and enlargements in the city are as-of-right.

Base Height

The base height of a building is the maximum permitted height of the front wall of a building before any required setback. A building is required to meet a minimum base height only when the height of the building will exceed the maximum base height.

Base Plane

The base plane is a horizontal plane from which the height of a building is measured. It is utilized in most lower-density and contextual districts, and for property subject to waterfront zoning. Often, the base plane is at curb level; on sites that slope upwards or downwards from a street, or on large lots where buildings are far from a street, the base plane is adjusted to more accurately reflect the level at which the building meets the ground.


A basement is a building story that has at least one-half of its floor-to-ceiling height above curb level or the base plane. By contrast, a cellar has at least one-half of its floor-to-ceiling height below curb level or the base plane. A basement is included in floor area calculations.

Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA)

The BSA, composed of five commissioners appointed by the Mayor, reviews and grants applications for special permits, as prescribed in the Zoning Resolution, for certain proposed developments and uses. The BSA also grants variances for zoning lots with irregular physical conditions where construction might not otherwise be possible. In addition, the Board hears and decides appeals to determinations by the Department of Buildings.


A bulkhead is an enclosed structure on the roof of a build­ing that may include mechanical equipment, water tanks and roof access from interior stairwells. It is not counted as floor area and is permitted to exceed zoning height and setback requirements, within limits specified in the Zoning Resolution.


A cellar is a level of a building that has at least one-half of its floor-to-ceiling height below curb level or the base plane. By contrast, a basement has at least one-half of its floor-to-ceiling height above curb level or the base plane. A cellar is not included in floor area calculations.

Commercial Overlay

A commercial overlay is a commercial district mapped within residential districts to serve local retail needs (grocery stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, for example).

Community District

New York City is organized into 59 community districts (CD). Each CD is represented by a Community Board, composed of volunteer community members appointed by the Borough President, that assist neighborhood residents and advise on neighborhood and citywide planning and service issues.

Community Facility Building

A community facility building is any building occupied only by a community facility use(s) such as educational, health, recreational, religious or other essential services for the community it serves.


A court is any open area, other than a yard or a portion of a yard, which is unobstructed from its lowest level to the sky, and is bounded by building walls, or building walls and one or more lot lines.

Curb Cut

A curb cut is an angled cut in the edge of a curb that permits vehicular access from a street to a driveway, garage, parking lot or loading dock. In residential districts, width and spacing rules for curb cuts ensure adequate curbside parking.


Density refers to the maximum number of dwelling units permitted on a zoning lot. The factors for each district are approximations of average unit size plus allowances for any common areas. Special density regulations apply to mixed buildings that contain both residential and community facility uses.

Development Rights

Development rights generally refer to the maximum amount of floor area permissible on a zoning lot. When the actual built floor area is less than the maximum per­mitted floor area, the difference is referred to as “unused development rights.” Unused development rights are often described as air rights.


A dormer is a permitted obstruction within a required setback area that may exceed the height of a building. In lower-density districts, it is often a window protruding from a sloped roof to provide light and air to the top floors of homes.

Dwelling Unit

A dwelling unit consists of one or more rooms that con­tain lawful cooking and sanitary facilities, inhabited by one or more persons living together and maintaining a common household, in a residential building or residential portion of a building.

Floor Area

The floor area of a building is the sum of the gross area of each floor of the building, excluding mechanical space, cellar space, floor space in open balconies, elevators or stair bulkheads and, in most zoning districts, floor space used for accessory parking that is located less than 23 feet above curb level.

Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

The floor area ratio is the principal bulk regulation controlling the size of buildings. FAR is the ratio of total building floor area to the area of its zoning lot. Each zoning district has an FAR which, when multiplied by the lot area of the zoning lot, produces the maximum amount of floor area allowable on that zoning lot. For example, on a 10,000 square foot zoning lot in a district with a maximum FAR of 1.0, the floor area on the zoning lot cannot exceed 10,000 square feet.

Incentive Zoning

Incentive zoning provides a bonus, usually in the form of additional floor area, in exchange for the provision of a public amenity or affordable housing. There are incentive bonuses for the provision of public plazas (privately owned public spaces), visual or performing arts spaces, subway improvements, theater preservation, FRESH food stores and affordable housing (Inclusionary Housing Program).

Inclusionary Housing Program

The Inclusionary Housing Program provides two optional floor area incentives in exchange for the creation or preservation of affordable housing, on or off-site, pre­dominantly for low-income households.

Income-restricted Housing Unit

A dwelling unit that complies with the definition of an affordable housing unit under one of the Inclusionary Housing Programs, or any other dwelling unit with a legally binding restriction on household income at or below 80 percent of Area Median Income.


A loft is a building or space within a building designed for commercial or manufacturing use, generally constructed prior to 1930. In certain manufacturing districts, lofts may be converted to residential use by CPC special permit.

Lot Coverage

Lot coverage is that portion of a zoning lot which, when viewed from above, is covered by a building. Permitted obstructions are not counted towards lot coverage calculations.

Mixed Building

A mixed building is a building in a commercial district used partly for residential use and partly for community facility or commercial use.

Open Space Ratio (OSR)

The open space ratio is the amount of open space required on a residential zoning lot in non-contextual districts, expressed as a percentage of the total floor area on the zoning lot. For example, if a building with 20,000 square feet of floor area has an OSR of 20, 4,000 square feet of open space would be required on the zoning lot (0.20 × 20,000 sq ft).

Overlay District

An overlay district is a district superimposed upon another district which supersedes, modifies or supple­ments the underlying regulations. Limited height dis­tricts and commercial overlay districts are examples of overlay districts.


A parapet is a low wall or protective barrier that extends vertically above the roof of a building or other structure. A parapet wall that is no higher than four feet is a permitted obstruction and may penetrate a maximum height limit or required setback area.

Planting Strips

Planting strips are grassy areas that extend along the edge of the curb within which street trees are planted. Planting strips are a required streetscape improvement in certain districts.

Quality Housing

The Quality Housing Program, mandatory in contextual R6 through R10 residence districts and optional in non-contextual R6 through R10 districts, encourages develop­ment consistent with the character of many established neighborhoods. Its bulk regulations set height limits and allow high lot coverage buildings that are set at or near the street line. The Quality Housing Program also requires amenities relating to interior space, recreation areas and landscaping.

Sidewalk Cafe

A sidewalk cafe is a portion of an eating or drinking estab­lishment that is located on a public sidewalk.


A sign is any writing—words, pictures or symbols—that is on or attached to a building or other structure.

Sky Exposure Plane

A sky exposure plane is a virtual sloping plane that begins at a specified height above the street line and rises inward over the zoning lot at a ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance set forth in district regulations. A building may not penetrate the sky exposure plane which is designed to provide light and air at street level.

Special Permit

A special permit is a discretionary action by the City Planning Commission (CPC), subject to ULURP review, or the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), which may modify use, bulk or parking regulations if certain condi­tions and findings specified in the Zoning Resolution are met. Applications for special permits under CPC jurisdiction generally concern use or bulk modifications with potential for greater land use impacts than those reviewed by the BSA.

Transit Zone

An area where special lower accessory parking requirements apply for various types of affordable housing including income restricted units. These are generally areas of the city beyond the Manhattan Core within one-half mile of a subway station where auto ownership rates are among the lowest in the city.


A yard is a required open area along the lot lines of a zon­ing lot which must be unobstructed from the lowest level to the sky, except for certain permitted obstructions. Yard regulations ensure light and air between structures.

Zoning District

A zoning district is a residential, commercial or manufac­turing area of the city within which zoning regulations govern land use and building bulk.