The latest news on New York architecture.

  • Benefits of Sustainable Architecture

    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.

    Environmental Impacts

    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!

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  • Understanding FISP (Façade Inspection Safety Program)

    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.

    Contact us today for more information.

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