NYC’s Proposed New Facade Inspection Rules May Increase Costs for Co-op and Condo Owners

While not yet finalized, New York City’s Department of Buildings plans to release a stricter set of requirements for its Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP, also known as Local Law 11), for the 9th Cycle of the law, which begins in February 2020.

These safety regulations address the condition of the facade, balconies, architectural details, etc. of every building over six stories tall. Should the proposed changes take effect, building owners can expect the scope of work and the cost of Local Law 11 inspections to increase significantly. Proposed changes include:

• More comprehensive facade examinations and more detailed reports
• Rather than the single scaffold drop currently required, the new regulations will require scaffold drops every 60 feet on each exterior wall fronting the street or any other area where the public may walk

• Probes will be required on cavity walls to ensure the safety of areas behind the facade
• Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWI’s) must now have three years of relevant experience with buildings over six stories, rather than one, as in the past, as well as relevant experience and knowledge of NYC building codes and facade rules

• Building owners will be required to post the building’s facade condition certificate in the lobby in a manner similar to elevator certificates

Once the property has been inspected, the QEWI must submit a report rating the facade as Safe, Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program, or Unsafe. If Unsafe conditions exist, the property must immediately install a sidewalk shed to protect the public walking past, and correct the problem within 90 days.

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The next cycle of NYC’s Local Law 11, or Facade Safety Inspection Program, begins in February, with stricter, more costly, requirements for inspecting building facades.

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