This article continues our series on the men and women who make magic happen here at Metropolis Group. If you would like to recommend someone for a future employee spotlight, please email us with your nomination and let us know why you love working with this team member.
Code & Zoning Analyst
Metropolis Team Member Since . . . July 2018
John Lashley’s industry experience includes both sides of the construction fence, having worked for construction companies and architecture firms. His architecture degree from the Pratt Institute in New York prepared him for all aspects of construction and development. “Technically speaking, you get a window into everything from civil engineering all the way to sales,” he says. “You have to understand how all the building components come together, the costs affiliated with timelines, distribution routes of materials, and code and zoning. I enjoy seeing things come together, past the drawing stage.”
After graduation, John started his career as an assistant project manager at a construction company. He spent some time in California before returning to New York in 2013 to complete his architecture credits for licensing and accreditation. He spent two years as a project manager for a construction firm, followed by another three years managing projects for an architecture firm.
Around this time, he learned that Metropolis Group was launching a Technical Affairs Department to focus on code and zoning. The position appealed to him because it encompassed his favorite aspects of his current responsibilities.
Role at Metropolis
John’s role as a Code & Zoning Analyst is to review construction drawings for compliance with all applicable code and zoning regulations. “I look at the zoning—what you can build, what you need to provide, the footprint and bulk, how big and small you can go—and the various codes that any building will have to follow,” he explains. “These range from general building codes to accessibility to certain national construction codes. I review and redline the drawings for anything that doesn’t look right.”
He works with Austin Regan, R.A., Associate, Director of Technical Affairs, to guide clients not only on filing practices, but also on designing for compliance. John enjoys the challenge and embraces the parameters set by the construction codes. “Whatever constraints you have in zoning are opportunities you have to sculpt and shape your buildings,” he says, adding that some sites work better for certain designs than others—an excellent reason to bring in a code and zoning consultant sooner, rather than later.
“John’s past experience in architectural offices allowed for a seamless transition to our code and zoning team,” says Regan. “That experience allows him to answer architects’ and engineers’ queries and concerns in a language they understand. He is a valuable member of our team whose knowledge and attitude pay dividends every day.”
When asked about his favorite project, John confessed a special fondness for the Chrysler Building, where Metropolis handles code-and-zoning consulting for tenant properties and renovations. “It’s a landmarked building and a prior-code building. At the same time, it has to meet the newer energy codes and plumbing and mechanical, but the egress and occupancy are old. It’s an interesting mix of old and new, with the kicker of landmark status, where you want to preserve as much as you can.”
Best Part of the Job
John’s favorite part of his job is the problem-solving aspects. “The messier the project, the more I can sink my teeth into it,” he says. “Sometimes a set of drawings just isn’t ready for filing. It’s missing a door schedule or partitions. Maybe a lighting fixture doesn’t have a manufacturer or wattage attached to it. All of these are objections, but more importantly, all of these will delay a project. I start streamlining the project, and it’s very satisfying to get the set back after that preliminary review, seeing that the project manager, architect, engineer and mechanical consultant all understand the nature of the set. It can now translate immediately to a construction set.”
John traveled the world for almost 10 years performing electronic music, from 2002 until 2012. He was involved in the New York City music scene, producing events with groups, and he began exploring the possibility of touring. “I did two auditions, performing for an agent,” he says. He was booked on a tour in 2005 to the Netherlands, part of the TodaysArt Festival for Art, Music & Technology. “Once you get on that track, you meet people and continue getting booked.”
Throughout that time, John continued to cultivate his skills and relationships in the construction industry. “I was freelancing and doing CAD. I kept up with the folks I worked with, building relationships.” He returned to New York and the construction industry because of changes in the music industry and his personal situation. “You get married, it’s no longer fending for yourself. You need to provide structure and reassurance, which leads to wanting a more meaningful career.”