The Guide to Facades: NYC Department of Buildings
The NYC Department of Buildings has issued guidelines for facade safety and the requirements for filing inspection reports. The department is responsible for issues of public safety where building facades and appurtenances can pose a risk to the public. The department mandates a five-year cycle of exterior inspections for building owners.
Owners of buildings greater than six stories are required to hire a private qualified exterior wall inspector (QEWI) every five years, according to a rotating yearly scale based on building number. This private inspector verifies that no element of the facade has deteriorated or become unsafe, and has no risk of detaching, falling, and becoming dangerous to residents or the public on the streets below. Even strong materials such as brick, masonry, and tile can become degraded or damaged after exposure to pollutants and the weather, and some issues, such as water incursions into the facade, are not easily visible to the naked eye.
QEWI inspectors are required to submit either a Safe, Safe with Repair and Maintenance, or Unsafe report. If the report meets reporting requirements, it is accepted by the department and further action is scheduled. Any unsafe report has a scheduled DOB inspector visit the site and make recommendations for the building owner. When repairs are made, an amended report is filed, and another DOB inspector is scheduled.
In addition, a DOB inspector schedules an inspection visit when a facade report is not filed when due or a shed removal request is made. It is a common fine for building owners to not file the facade report on time for their building, and this oversight comes with significant monetary fines which are ongoing until the situation is corrected. There are also significant fines associated with unsafe facades which are not repaired and re-inspected as required.
Violations written by the Department of Buildings for facade safety violations are serious, but also suggest that the building owner is at risk for liability issues if a member of the public is injured when the owner is not in compliance with requirements. Knowing when the building is due for an inspection, filing reports in a timely manner, and meeting various requirements for facade safety is a complex process that is critical for building owners.
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Benefits of Sustainable Architecture
Every day we hear about the negative implications of climate change as pollution levels continue to rise and our carbon footprint increases in size every year.
To combat this, you might consider taking the train to work instead of driving. If it's convenient, you may separate your paper and plastics in the recycling bin. You might even be persuaded to buy a fuel-efficient car. But it's time to think bigger and consider investing in sustainable architecture as a way to greatly reduce the negative effects of climate change.
Many people are unaware of just how much buildings negatively impact the environment. In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that buildings in the United States contributed to 38.9 percent of the nation's total carbon dioxide emissions, including 20.8 percent from the residential sector and 18.0 percent from the commercial sector.
Sustainable architecture focuses on building more efficiently by minimizing the footprint of the development site, using local and sustainable materials and incorporating more efficient mechanical systems, ultimately to minimize a building’s overall impact on the environment.
Shifts in Behavior
Sustainable architecture has the potential to change the way society views the environment. It is a well-known fact that architecture is able to shape our perspective and shift the cultural norm.
For example, a building owner can construct a traditional roof, but he or she might also want to consider a green roof with amenities for tenants. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but there are property resale benefits as well. Make the green option the attractive option.
At Scott Henson Architect, we take pride in architectural sustainability. With knowledge in design, preservation, construction and more, let us help you build with an environmentally conscious mindset. Please contact us today!Read more...