Facade regulations have been getting a lot of attention recently and we’ve compiled the latest DOB requirements that will affect your buildings.
NYC’s Local Law 11 requires buildings taller than six stories to undergo facade inspections and repairs every five years — but there are now additional requirements. Following the death of a pedestrian in December due to debris that fell from a building in Manhattan, the DOB is ramping up its enforcement around unsafe facades. The agency has strengthened its facade inspection process — enhancing protocols and enforcing swift consequences — and expanded its facade inspection staff.
Here are the changes that are in effect, upcoming, or proposed:
|IN EFFECT: The DOB is hiring 12 new staff positions for the facade inspection team – doubling the previous staff count and aiming for more frequent and thorough proactive inspections for properties taller than six stories.|
|IN EFFECT: 25% of all buildings taller than six stories will be selected at random to receive safety compliance reviews.|
|IN EFFECT: Buildings where the facade’s condition is deemed unsafe or defective, will face potential enforcement actions as well as receive additional proactive re-inspections to ensure proper pedestrian safety measures are in place. Additionally, if a building is issued a Class 1 facade violation, the agency will conduct follow-up inspections within 60 days to ensure that proper protection has been installed.|
|IN EFFECT: If proper protection has not been installed, city contractors will be sent to perform the work at the owner’s expense. For Class 1 facade violations, the DOB will then perform a follow-up inspection after 90 days of the issuance (and every 90 days thereafter if issues persist) to ensure the protection is still in place and that work has commenced to correct the issue.|
|UPCOMING: At least one close-up inspection for every 60 feet of every public right-of-way frontage will be required. Under the old rules, one close-up inspection was required on every street frontage.|
|UPCOMING: Building owners will be required to post their facade status in their building lobby, much like the new energy-efficiency letter grades.|
|UPCOMING: Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors hired by property owners will need a minimum of seven years of relevant experience. They will also have to demonstrate familiarity with relevant laws and rules, and an understanding of facade science.|
|UPCOMING: Inspectors will have to provide photographic evidence of close-up inspections, in order to eliminate false filings. There are also stiffer civil penalties for non-compliance.|
|UPCOMING: Contractors and inspectors will be required to conduct at least one probe per close-up inspection interval to determine the condition and number of ties and shelves.|
Many of the upcoming rules go into effect late February 2020. Check out these resources straight from the DOB, outlining everything you need to know:
- Press Release 1/22/20: Enhancements for Facade Program published in city record
- Final Rules 1/14/20: Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule