NYC Department of Buildings Updates: Retaining Walls, Benchmarking, & Periodic Inspections

Along with the appointment of a new DOB commissioner, May has come with some critical NYC Department of Buildings updates. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know:

Reminder: Benchmarking Due 5/31

Submitting Local Law 84 reports for the 2021 year has been pushed back to May 31st. You can read more here in the city’s Service Notice, or in one of our most recent posts.

As the deadline to file approaches, it’s important to remember what’s at stake. Failure to file can result in a $500 quarterly penalty, adding up to $2,000 in total fines for missing a single year’s report. Make sure you’ve submitted yours already, or your team is working on it.

No-Risk Retaining Wall Inspection Program Ends 5/31

Per an April press release, the Mayor has reinstated the No-Penalty Deck and Retaining Wall Inspection Program. Owners can call 311 through May 31st, 2022 to participate and receive a free DOB inspection for these outdoor structures. Per the release:

…a free inspection by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) to determine whether outdoor structures are in good condition with no visibly apparent violating conditions. Following the inspection, DOB will connect with property owners to discuss findings. If any unsafe conditions are discovered, DOB will provide guidance on any issues that need to be fixed without issuing any violations or penalties, allowing owners the opportunity to make corrective repairs and ensure the safety of their property.

The press release stresses, “If, after an inspection, these outdoor structures are found to be in an unsafe condition, but repairs are made promptly, no penalties will be issued.”

As a reminder, a “retaining wall with a height of ten feet or more and fronting a public right-of-way” needs to be inspected once every five years, with the due date based on the building’s borough (similar to LL 152 gas piping inspections). Credentialed inspectors must then submit reports to the DOB.

Periodic Inspection Checklists Available

If you’re curious what your approved elevator agency will be using to perform periodic inspections (required annual inspections in addition to CAT1s), you can check out the checklists (pun intended) here, in this Service Notice.  Items on the list will be marked Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, or N/A.

As a reminder, periodic inspections must now be performed by approved agencies hired by building owners/managers. Get more details on this big change (just into effect this year) here.

Make sure your team is on top of these updates, and ready to face the rest of the year. You can find upcoming due dates like these in the 2022 Compliance Checklist, with any changes and updates posted right here on the SiteCompli Blog.

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About the Author

Kristen Hariton

Kristen Hariton is the Vice President, Product Engagement at SiteCompli, focused on exploring new solutions and innovations in property operations tech. When she's not sharing the latest industry trends, changes, and updates, she's planning her next adventure to Walt Disney World.