Owners of buildings higher than six stories take note: The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) has adopted its Facade Rule 103-04, which governs details of the Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP) for Cycle 9A, commencing on February 21, 2020. Read the full, DOB-adopted Rule here.
We’d like to call out the following updates in Cycle 9, as they represent important new complexity in the program:
More comprehensive facade examination and more detailed reporting will be required, with increased descriptions of observations and photographic evidence of inspections.
Physical inspection requirements are increasing from a single scaffold drop (or use of other observation platform), to multiple drops based on the horizontal span of the building. For all exterior walls fronting on a street or other “public rights-of-way,” a new examination will be required every 60 feet across the facade. For example, a typical corner building of 100 x 100 feet wide will require four scaffold drops. Free-standing buildings may require a dozen or more.
There will be an increased focus on cavity walls: Each physical inspection location will require at least one probe and there must be an adequate number of probes to determine the presence, condition, and spacing of wall ties, relieving angles, flashing, and substrate.
Penalties for owners failing to file inspection reports will increase from $1,000 per year to $5,000 per year plus $1,000 per month, commencing the day following the filing deadline and ending when an acceptable report is filed. Fines for failure to correct unsafe conditions will also increase.
Cycle 9 raises the bar for Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWI’s): From one year of experience with buildings over six stories to seven years. QEWI’s will also have to provide more detailed credentials to the DOB to demonstrate their knowledge of NYC building codes and facade rules.
There will be a new requirement that building owners post and maintain the building’s facade condition certificate in the lobby in a manner similar to elevator certificates.
This period of almost a month until Cycle 9 commences is a great time to familiarize yourself with all the FISP requirements and updates and draft a plan for compliance. Don’t know where to begin? With four decades of FISP experience, our team of architects and engineers can help you navigate and comply with Cycle 9.