Understanding FISP (Façade Inspection Safety Program)
Performing upkeep on a building's exterior is important, and not merely for the sake of appearances. Buildings with facades that have not been maintained can be hazardous, which is why the city has enacted measures like FISP, formally known as Local Law 11.
What is It
FISP is a local law which requires the owners of any building more than six stories tall to have the exterior walls and appurtenances on that building inspected every five years. This measure was a replacement for Local Law 10, originally enacted in the late 1990’s, which required inspections of only the front side of buildings.
Why it's Necessary
Facade inspections only became mandatory after a Barnard College student was killed by a piece of terra cotta falling off a building in 1979. The original laws only targeted building exteriors that faced pedestrian walkways. It also did not require close-up inspection. A series of incidents in December 1997, including stone pieces falling off buildings and entire facades collapsing, pushed the city to repeal the original laws and set stricter building codes.
How it Works
Any building more than six stories tall - residential or commercial - must have its entire facade inspected once every five-year cycle. The cycles are broken down into sub-cycles, which are determined by the last digit of the building's block number. Each of these sub-cycles has a two-year window in which inspections must occur and reports filed.
Owners need to have inspections completed with a qualified exterior wall inspector (usually a registered architect or professional engineer) on site to supervise the inspection.
Reports must be filed within 60 days of the inspection, with a condition of Safe, Safe With a Repair and Maintenance Program (SWARMP), or Unsafe. Unsafe conditions must be reported immediately, and repairs effected in 30 days. Buildings with SWARMP conditions must have repairs complete prior to their next inspection cycle.
Along with its many design and building maintenance services, Scott Henson Architect has provided FISP services for over one thousand buildings in NYC.Read more...
Demolition Planning and Preparation
If you have plans to renovate one of your buildings, and possibly add an extension, demolition will likely be involved. The demolition and site preparation stages are important milestones in the construction process. These stages will also be some of the first real action you will see on the building's site.
Depending on how big or small the project will be, this stage can be completed in a few days. Although sometimes this stage can take longer and be a very intense process where multiple parties are working together to make sure your building and property are ready for the upcoming phases of construction.
Full demolition can be completed quickly in some cases, and in general this work is delegated to a contractor. Partial demolition might take a little longer in the case that your building will need to be torn down in preparation for the extension. You will need to have tradespeople on your side who have an understanding of what you plan to build next, so the process can be as efficient and smooth-running as possible.
You will likely also see other work being completed during this stage that is related to site preparation. This will typically depend on how your project is being progressed, and if any considerable work will be required before the foundation needs to be set. A good contractor is essential, as he or she will be on site every day to make sure the work is organized and sequenced correctly.
Are you planning a repair or restoration of a building? Contact us today.Read more...