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Avoid NYC Building Violations: An Overview of Local Law 11

By: Scott Henson

In May 1979, a piece of lintel detached from the eighth floor of a Columbia University-owned apartment constructed in 1912 and fell, fatally striking a passing college student. New York City passed Local Law 10 the following year to ensure that history would not repeat itself. The law stated that the street-facing facades and side walls of every building with more than six stories must be inspected every five years. Reconstruction and an additional inspection would be necessary if the examination revealed any defects or deficiencies.

Local Law 11

Eight years later, Local Law 11 was introduced to address emerging problems and potential issues, expanding the requirements of Local Law 10 to include the following:

  • Expanded the façade inspection to ALL façades and appurtenances, except walls 12″ or fewer inches from an adjacent building
  • Required scaffolding at each inspection
  • Required a written report on any deterioration and its causes
  • Required a timetable for any repairs and staggered these dates throughout the year
  • Established a building classification system—”safe,” “unsafe,” or “safe with a repair and maintenance program (SWARMP)”—and eliminated “precautionary.”

Local Law 11 also requires that any SWARMP-designated buildings that are not fixed promptly receive an adjusted designation of “unsafe.” Any needed repairs must be completed within 30 days of the initial Report, followed by another inspection and report filing. The Department of Buildings (DOB) charges $265 for the initial information and an additional $100 for amended and subsequent reports.

The Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP)

The Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP) oversees adherence to Local Law 11. Among the FISP requirements are:

  • Technical Report (form TR6)
  • Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI) and owner contact information
  • Current and clear photographs and sketches of unsafe conditions
  • Repair timeframe
  • Scaffold drop and location
  • Any report findings that are inconsistent with photographs

Failure to file results in a $1,000 fine per year plus $250 per month for every month the Report is overdue.

Over 12,500 New York City buildings are subject to Local Law 11 today.

If you would like more information about Local Law 11 and obtaining a qualified exterior wall inspector, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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