With 2024 fast approaching, now is the best time to review details on the new DOB parapet observation requirement. If you’re not familiar with this new rule, here’s the DOB’s recent service notice for reference. Here’s what you need to know to stay in compliance:
What Is A Parapet Observation?
According to the new rule governing this requirement, parapets are defined as the part of any wall entirely above the roof line. The rule specifically requires that “every building owner” must have an observation performed for all buildings with parapets fronting the public right-of-way, regardless of height, except for the following: detached 1- or 2-family homes, or; buildings with a fence or other barrier preventing access to the exterior wall.
The observation must include close-up inspections of the entire parapet, which could be conducted from a fire escape or a roof. Per the DOB, “Code compliance does not have to be included in the report. We are looking for a structural stability inspection only.”
Additionally, observations must include, but not be limited to the following:
- a determination that the parapet is plumb by a horizontal distance within one-eighth of its cross-sectional thickness in any location
- a determination of whether there is excessive deterioration, including, but not limited to, displacement, horizontal or diagonal cracks, missing or loose bricks or coping stones, deteriorated mortar joints, spalling, or rot
- a determination that appurtenances such as telecommunications equipment, railings, roof access rails, gooseneck ladders and handrail attachments for fire escapes, and signs, have been installed and maintained in a stable condition.
When Is This Due?
Observations must be performed each calendar year starting on January 1, 2024. All observation reports must be completed by December 31st of each year.
Who Can Perform These Observations?
Observations must be performed by a “competent person,” including, but not limited to: a bricklayer, building superintendent, handyman, mason or a person in a similar construction-related trade, architect, engineer, an inspector working for a New York State-authorized insurance company, a New York State-authorized building inspector, or any other individual capable of identifying hazards on the parapet.
What Does The Report Look Like?
While there’s no standard form, 1 RCNY § 103-15 outlines exactly what needs to be included in each observation. You can read the full law here, but we’ve pulled out the report-specific details for you:
The report must include, but not be limited to:
- (i) The address and any other associated addresses for the building;
- (ii) The name, mailing address and telephone number of the owner of the building, or, if the owner is not an individual, the name, mailing address, telephone number, and position/title of a principal of the owner;
- (iii) The name of the person performing the observation. If other than the owner, their mailing address, telephone number, affiliation with the building or owner, and business name, if applicable;
- (iv) The date(s) of the observation;
- (v) The location plan of the parapet(s) observed;
- (vi) The construction of the parapet, including but not limited to material, height, and thickness;
- (vii) General conditions noted, whether any unsafe conditions were found, and actions taken to remedy the unsafe conditions;
- (viii) Any repairs made to the parapet since the previous report; and
- (ix) Dated photos documenting the conditions at the time of observation.
Per the DOB’s FAQ page, “The order and sequence as outlined in the rule must be followed.”
What If Hazardous Conditions Are Found?
If hazardous conditions are found during the observation, the following steps must be taken immediately:
- Notify the DOB by both contacting 311 and emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Immediately install public protection (sidewalk sheds, fences, safety netting) to secure the safety of the public
- Have the unsafe condition remedied. Public protection must remain in place until the unsafe condition is remedied
If a sidewalk shed needs to be installed, applicants must answer YES to the following new question in the DOB NOW “Sidewalk Shed Scope Of Work” filing page – Is the sidewalk shed related to the required periodic observation of the building’s parapet?
Unsafe corrections must be corrected within 90 days from the notification to the DOB.
How Does This Interact With Facade Inspections?
Here’s an important note from the DOB’s FAQ page on parapets:
If the FISP report includes all information required to satisfy rule 1 RCNY 103-15 no separate report is required. The owner must have a copy of the FISP report available upon request.
That means if your facade report submission includes all of the above details (and is performed according to the observation law), you don’t need to have a separate parapet observation that year. That said, you do need to have a copy of your FISP report on hand to fill in the gap, if records are requested by the department.
Is Report Submission Required?
As of November 2023, parapet observations do NOT need to be submitted to the DOB. That said:
- Reports must be kept by the owner for at least 6 years
- Reports must be made available to the department upon request
As with anything, this can and may change over time. We’ll keep you posted.
How Can I Track Parapet Observations?
Folks using Compliance Manager in their SiteCompli or InCheck accounts can easily log parapet observations for each of their properties, and keep track of related documentation and statuses in one place. We’ll even show you your progress for the year – whether or not you’ve completed the requirement portfolio-wide.
If you have any questions about how to do this, reach out to your Customer Success Manager or email@example.com. We’re always happy to help!