LOCAL LAW 11/98

facade inspection safety program

The Local Laws for the City of New York, for the year 1998, Number 11 or Local Law 11/98 states that:
 

“In order to maintain a building’s exterior walls and appurtenances thereof in a safe condition, the following additional requirements shall apply to all existing buildings or buildings hereafter erected which are greater than six stories in height.”

These Local Law 11 requirements include critical inspections at periodic intervals, notification of unsafe conditions, a written FISP (Facade Inspection Safety Program) compliance report of the critical inspections and at times repairs of unsafe conditions.
 

CYCLE 9 RECENT UPDATES

The new Cycle 9 requirement regarding probes was added as a result of QEWI’s (Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors) inspection of buildings built during the late 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s when cavity wall masonry construction became popular. What the inspectors have found is that a large majority of these buildings do not have sufficient wall ties, if any at all, as the building code did not have any requirements or inspections for them until the 1968 edition. Therefore, this is not as critical for new buildings as it is for older ones. Additionally, when you look at the Cycle 9 Requirements for probes, there are exceptions one of which specially mentions buildings currently undergoing a repair campaign. NYC DOB States: 

Types of Infractions include:

(c) Critical examinations

(2) Inspection procedures.

(v) The known history of the building, the nature of the materials used and the conditions observed will dictate the extent of the critical examination. The QEWI must apply a professional standard of care to assess the building’s condition and the individual building systems that comprise the facades, including splitting or fracturing of terra cotta on buildings, cracking of masonry and brick work in brick faced buildings, mortar and other joint materials, loosening or corrosion of metal anchors and supports, water entry or flow within cavities, mineral build-up, coping materials, movement of lintel/shelf angles, and must ascertain the cause of these and such other conditions detected. The QEWI must order any special or additional inspections and/or tests, including sounding procedures, that may be required to support investigations and to determine the causes of any defects. Starting with the ninth cycle, probes must be performed on all cavity wall construction, and, at a minimum, during every subsequent odd-numbered cycle. The QEWI shall determine the location of the probes, which shall be in areas not previously renovated. At a minimum, a single probe must be completed along each required close-up inspection interval. The QEWI must ensure that the number and size of the probes are sufficient to report the presence, condition, and spacing of wall ties. The removal of portions of the façade in order to facilitate the performance of tests may require a permit from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Exceptions:

 

The requirement for probes may be waived in the following cases:

  1. When a repair campaign addressing cavity wall ties has been completed within ten (10) years of the filing deadline and the owner or QEWI provides proof of such repair including, but not limited to, photographs, special inspection reports, and construction documents, which must be submitted and found acceptable by the Department.
     

  2. When the first Temporary Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Occupancy for a new building was issued within ten (10) years of the filing deadline and the owner or QEWI provides evidence of tie installation including, but not limited to, photographs, special inspection reports, and construction documents, which must be submitted and found acceptable by the Department.
     

  3. Where a QEWI proposes an alternate method of determining tie condition and spacing, which must be submitted and found acceptable by the Department.
     

  4. This one-time exception would allow other evidence like construction logs, contractors receipts showing purchase of wall ties, photographs etc. to be presented to satisfy the probe requirement. Note: Probes will be required during the next odd-cycle, Cycle 11, to survey the condition of the exterior wall components such as wall ties.

CLASSIFICATIONS

Every building that falls under the City of New York’s Local Law 11/98, which is estimated to be about 14,000 buildings across the five Boroughs, is classified in one of the following three  categories:

 

SAFE

SWARMP

UNSAFE

No problems and in

good condition

 

Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program

 

Problems or defects

threatening public safety

 

When a building is filed SAFE, no further action is required until the next filing cycle.  A SWARMP building must be repaired in the time frame listed in the FISP report by an Engineer or Architect. An UNSAFE building must be repaired within 30 days. If needed, a request for an extension can be filed with the New York City DOB. 

LOCAL LAW 11 - VIOLATIONS

The New York City Department of Buildings is constantly visiting sites all over the five boroughs doing spontaneous inspections.  Facade Related offenses could result in penalties of up to $25,000 per infraction. 

 

Types of Infractions include:

  • Failure to File a Façade Technical Report

  • Failure to File and Amended Façade Technical Report

  • Failure to Maintain Building Walls

  • Failure to Protect the Public

HOW WE CONTRIBUTE: FISP FILING CYCLE

Every building that falls under the City of New York’s Local Law 11/98, which is estimated to be about 14,000 buildings across the five Boroughs, is classified in one of the following three  categories:

 

Building Owners MUST have exterior wall and appurtenances inspected EVERY FIVE YEARS to comply with Local Law 11/98 requirements.

As a Local Law 11 Architect, our Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors or QEWI’s can design hands-on inspection programs and lead the inspection team in performing the critical examination.  Once completed, all of the information is formatted into a FISP compliance report and filed electronically with the New York City Department of Buildings through the DOB NOW system.

Our Promise

RJSA is recognized by its commitment to ensuring the safety and longevity of the built world.  We are founded on the hard work of licensed professionals and comprised of an innovative, forward-thinking and collaborative team. We strive to find the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions to any given project, affording our clients peace of mind.

RJSA is a firm recognized by its professionalism and commitment to ensuring the safety and longevity of the built world.  As an expanding firmwe are founded on the hard work of licensed professionals and comprised of an innovative, forward thinking and collaborative team.  We strive to find the most appropriate and cost effective solutions to any given project, affording our clients peace of mind.

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