While requirements for the first wave of parking garage inspections were previously released by the DOB, the city council has proposed new regulations for weight-related studies and requirements, double penalties for parking structure violations, and boilerplate inspection checklists. This is in addition to proposed rules that would add an “initial” inspection for structures with inspection due dates beyond the first wave of 2023.
Here’s the rundown on the DOB’s proposed rule and the city council’s in-progress legislation:
Proposed Rule – New Initial Inspections
For Manhattan Community Districts 1 – 7, the first parking garage inspections are due December 31, 2023.
All other Community Districts have due dates in two waves, with the final one ending on December 31, 2027:
|Community Districts||Inspection Period|
|Manhattan 1 – 7||January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2023|
|Manhattan 8 – 12, and all Brooklyn||January 1, 2024 – December 31, 2025|
|All Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island||January 1, 2026 – December 31, 2027|
This new proposed rule would focus on the bottom two groups – both have due dates past January 1, 2024. Per the rule, these groups would have to submit an additional inspection in advance of the above dates. This additional inspection would be considered an “initial observation.”
Per the proposed rule:
The results of such initial observation must be filed with the Department by August 1, 2024 on a form provided by the Department. Exception: Owners whose report is due as set forth in item (B) as previously referenced in this paragraph [editor’s note – the second and third filing groups] and who file an acceptable report by August 1, 2024 need not have this initial observation performed.
Basically, if your property falls into the second and third group, you can choose to submit an acceptable parking garage inspection before August 1, 2024 (in advance of your assigned due date) and forgo an initial observation.
Important to remember – as of August 2023, this proposed rule is not yet in place. While we recommend connecting with your expert QPSI (especially if you belong to the first filing group, and have to file before December 31st or face penalties), stay tuned for updates here that may impact your future filing plans.
You can find out how to attend the hearing or submit comments (by 8/30/23) here.
Council Legislation In Progress
The Committee on Housing and Buildings introduced a series of new laws aimed at parking garages. While none of them are enacted – yet – it’s worth knowing what may come into effect over the next few months:
In this proposed law, the council would require the Department of Buildings to conduct a load-bearing capacity study for parking garages. Size, age, materials, and structural design would be assessed as part of the study, in addition to several other factors. The DOB would make recommendations based on their findings, which would be made public 6 months after the law goes into effect.
Weight Requirements and Restrictions
If this law goes into effect, parking garages would be required to have and post a maximum capacity and maximum permissible weight limit (may be permitted on each level), according to law.
Cars “shall not be accepted by a licensee for parking, or storage, if no level within the parking garage is available on which parking or storing such vehicle would not exceed the maximum permissible weight limit for that level, as calculated according to section 28-323.10.”
To comply, parking garage owners would have to install motor vehicle scales or weigh stations at each entrance to ensure cars can enter according to the above. The proposal specifically states:
§ 28-323.10.1 Weight sensors in parking structures. Each parking structure owner shall install a motor vehicle scale or weigh station at each entrance to such parking structure, in accordance with technical specifications to be prescribed by the rules and regulations of the commissioner. To determine whether a motor vehicle may be parked or stored in accordance with section 28-323.10, each motor vehicle shall be weighed on the scale or weigh station before the parking structure owner or owner’s authorized agent may accept that motor vehicle for parking or storage.
Parking garage owners would have one year to comply with this if it goes into effect.
Increased Penalties for Violations
This new law, if enacted, states several increased civil penalties for violations related to parking garages. Below is the list from the proposed law, along with our notes on each section cited:
- 13.1. The minimum civil penalty for a violation of section 28-204.4 shall be $2,500
- Failure to certify the correction of a violation
- 13.2. The minimum civil penalty for an immediately hazardous violation of section 28-207.4.4 shall be $5,000
- Recission of a vacate order
- 13.3. The minimum civil penalty for an immediately hazardous violation of section 28-211.1 shall be $20,000
- False statements
- 13.4. The minimum civil penalty for a violation of section 28-217.1.1 shall be $1,600
- Inspections for potentially compromised structures
- 13.5. The minimum civil penalty for a violation of section 28-217.1.6 shall be $5,000
- Notice from the owner to the city for potentially compromised structures
- 13.6. The minimum civil penalty for an immediately hazardous violation of section 28-301.1 shall be $2,500 for a first violation and $5,000 for a second violation, in addition to any separate daily or monthly penalty imposed pursuant to exception 13.1 or 13.2 of this section
- General owner’s responsibilities, as stated here
- 13.7. The minimum civil penalty for an immediately hazardous violation of section 28-302.1 shall be $5,000 for a first violation and $7,500 for a second violation, in addition to any separate daily or monthly penalty imposed pursuant to exception 13.1 or 13.2 of this section
- Maintenance of exterior walls and appurtenances
- 13.8. The minimum civil penalty for an immediately hazardous violation of section 28-302.3 shall be $5,000.
- Providing immediate notice of unsafe conditions during examination of exterior walls and appurtenances
- 13.9. The minimum civil penalty for a violation of section 28-302.4 shall be $5,000
- Report of critical examination (FISP)
Note that these are not new parts of law, nor laws focused on parking garages. They are an increase to standard penalties for the above violations if they’re issued in relation to a parking structure.
Increased Frequency of Inspections
INT 1148-2023 would increase the frequency of parking garage inspections after the first cycle. Whereas the first cycle started in 2022 and ends in 2027, this proposed law would mandate inspections once every four years, with follow-up assessments within 2 years for structures marked as “safe with repair and/or engineering monitoring.” That’s a reduction of the current law in place which gives 3 years for follow-up assessments.
Boilerplate Inspection Checklists
The last proposed law states that the DOB must create and publish an annual observation checklist. This would be a document used to inspect “essential baseline items” prior to the initial condition assessment.
Additionally, the council proposes something very similar to the DOB’s new proposed rule. Structures with an initial condition assessment after January 1, 2025 would have to use the boilerplate annual observation checklist “to inspect such parking structure within 1 year of the creation and publishing of the boilerplate annual checklist.” While the proposed rule says structures due after January 1, 2024 and the proposed law says January 1, 2025, the difference may be moot – no structures are due in 2024, so the rule and the law would impact the same filing groups. That said, the due date of the initial observation (and key details) may vary. It’s possible the DOB may adjust their rule with the proposed law in mind, so stay tuned.
Finally, a new proposed section reads as follows:
Whenever the owner or owner’s authorized agent observes an unsafe condition during an inspection conducted prior to the initial condition assessment pursuant to section 28-323.4.1, the owner shall notify the department immediately and undertake repairs in accordance with section 28-323.8.
- We’ll find out more about the proposed rule (including any changes or modifications) after the hearing scheduled for August 30th. Barring any issues, the rule will likely be adopted at some point in the following months.
- The proposed laws are still in committee, so there’s a ways to go before the council votes on them. If and when they do, they’ll be moved to the Mayor’s desk for signature and potentially enacted. The DOB will then likely propose rules clarifying specifics on these laws.
As always, we’ll keep you posted on any developments for the rules and the laws. Stay tuned to the blog, and join us at RealFocus to get your questions answered directly by the DOB!