New York City’s Façade Inspection & Safety Program (also known as Local Law 11/98) requires that owners of buildings more significant than six stories must have their buildings’ exterior walls and appurtenances inspected once every five years and file a technical report to the Department of Buildings. New York City’s façade safety program was first instated in 1979 to protect the public shortly after a Barnard student named Grace Gold was struck and killed by debris that fell from a building. The program was further expanded in 1998 following several incidents of façade failures in NYC and continues to evolve to ensure public safety. The most recent amendments to the program were enacted at the beginning of the current cycle (Cycle 9) in February 2020.
The Program operates in 5-year cycles, each with several subcycles that separate buildings into smaller windows for filing and repairs to be completed within. We are currently in Cycle 9, which began on February 21, 2020, and will end on February 21, 2024.
The last digit of the building’s block number determines the sub-cycles in which the report must be filed.
Cycle 9 is staggered into three sub-cycles…
|Last Digit of Block Number
|4, 5, 6, or 9
|2/21/2020 – 2/21/2022
|0, 7, or 8
|2/21/2021 – 2/21/2023
|1, 2, or 3
|2/21/2022 – 2/21/2024
The inspection (critical examination) must be performed by a Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI) – a New York State licensed architect or engineer.
The status of the façade can be classified in three ways…
If unsafe conditions are found, owners must file the report as ‘Unsafe’ and immediately install public safety measures, such as a sidewalk shed, construction fence, etc.
Unsafe conditions must be corrected within 30 days of filing the report, and an amended notice must be filed with the Department within 15 days of completing the repairs. Repairs must be fixed, and an amended report must be filed within 45 days of the initial filing.
If the conditions take longer than 30 days to repair, the QEWI may submit an extension of time request, and the DOB may grant an extension of up to 90 days, provided that the premises have been secured by installing a shed, fence, etc. Further extensions will only be considered with evidence of unforeseen circumstances or if the nature of the repairs requires more than 90 days. Each extension request has a filing fee, and extensions will need to be renewed until the Unsafe conditions are corrected.
Suppose a building owner files a report as Unsafe, fails to correct the conditions, and files an amended notice within the allotted time (and does not obtain an extension). In that case, the building owner is subject to additional penalties for the duration the unsafe conditions are not corrected.
For a comprehensive list of common building conditions observed during FISP inspections, you can visit Presentation: Facade Conditions.
|90-day Extension Request
Violations & Penalties
|Late Filing (Initial Report)
|Failure to File (Initial Report)
|Failure to Correct Unsafe Conditions
|Review 1RCNY 103-04
|Failure to Correct SWARMP Conditions
Penalties apply after the filing period ends.
For new construction above six stories, the owner has five years from the date that a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) has been issued to file the first FISP initial report. This means that any new building that received its TCO may need to file its first report during Cycle 9, depending on the last digit of the tax lot.
In Cycle 9, amended rules became effective as of February 20, 2020, to strengthen the existing Façade Inspection and Safety Program (FISP). These rule amendments are intended to increase façade safety in New York City.
Close-up inspections must be performed at intervals of no more than 60’-0” fronting each public right-of-way to allow for more thorough reviews of the exterior wall:
ONLINE FILING REQUIREMENTS
New York City Department of Buildings (NYC DOB) began to require building owners, managers, and design professionals to use the new online portal, DOB NOW: Safety, to submit compliance filings for the Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP), more commonly known as Local Law 11 in September of 2016.
With this requirement, Owners, Licensees, Filing Representatives, Registered Architects, and Professional Engineers must register in e-Filing to access DOB NOW and submit facade compliance filings.
If you want to learn more about DOB NOW: Safety, sign up for an information session or visit the DOB NOW: Safety Resource Page for helpful links and instructions.
Please get in touch with us if you’re looking for a qualified QEWI to complete your FISP. Our highly skilled inspectors can perform these duties required by law, and we can help educate you on various aspects of Local Law 11 and its intricacies. Our team is standing by to help you understand your responsibilities and our role in preparing your building to meet the new standards in Cycle 9 and beyond.
For other useful DOB resources, please visit the links below: