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Local Law 126 alert: Prepare now for the 2024 garage inspection deadline

  • Garages in sub-cycles 1B and 1C need to undergo a preliminary inspection and file a report before August 2024
  • Most garages in sub-cycle 1A did not file reports by last year’s deadline and are currently overdue
  • Owners must fix unsafe conditions within 90 days of filing their final report
In partnership with O&S Engineers & Architects
January 17, 2024 - 2:30PM
Building garage parking sign during sunset on the west side of Manhattan, New York City.

Under revised rules, many parking garages need to undergo a preliminary visual inspection by August.


All eyes are on New York City’s parking garages as mandated inspections take place across the city under Local Law 126. And the deadlines for those inspections have gotten tighter in the wake of a deadly Lower Manhattan garage collapse in April.

“For a lot of people, this will be the first time their garage has ever been inspected,” says Prabhu Perumalsamy, principal and licensed professional engineer at O&S Associates. “It takes a collapse, unfortunately, to mandate these things.”

The parking garage at 57 Ann St.—which collapsed, killing one person and injuring five others—was due for inspection in 2023. It’s put pressure on the city to hasten enforcement of Local Law 126, but there’s a lot that building owners need to know about the changing regulatory landscape and how inspections function, Perumalsamy says. 

Your condo or co-op board needs to be aware of the law’s updated deadlines, how to select the right engineering firm for the job, and what to watch out for during the inspection itself. 

Read on for what your building needs to know about Local Law 126, and what O&S has learned in the first year of inspecting the city’s parking garages under the new law. 

Many garages need a preliminary inspection by August

Local Law 126 requires the inspection of all of NYC’s garages by 2027, with follow up assessments every six years. At least 100 garages have been filed as unsafe out of the 353 total garage reports filed, according to NYC Department of Buildings data as of Jan. 10th. Over 800 garages located in sub-cycle 1A (lower Manhattan) did not file a report by the Dec. 31st, 2023 deadline and will begin receiving fines and possible violations. 

Under DOB rules revised in October 2023, all garages in sub-cycles 1B and 1C are required to have a qualified parking structure inspector (QPSI) perform an initial inspection and file a report.

“The impetus for changing the law to include an August 1st, 2024, deadline for the initial visual inspections and reports is because such a high proportion of the garages that have been inspected so far have been filed as unsafe,” Perumalsamy says. “This is a major change since owners who believed they had two years or four years to complete their inspections now only have 8 months.”

Garages located in upper Manhattan (community districts 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12) and all of Brooklyn fall within sub-cycle 1B need to be inspected between Jan. 1st, 2024, and Dec. 31st, 2025. Garages in the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island (sub-cycle 1C) will be inspected between Jan. 1st, 2026, and Dec. 31st, 2027. These two groups also need to file an initial observation report before Aug. 1st, 2024, or face fines. 

If you are included in sub-cycle 1B and file a Local Law 126 inspection report before August 1st, 2024 that satisfies the requirement for the entire sub-cycle, you will not have to file another report until the next 6-year cycle. That initial observation report is fairly similar to the actual inspection, and requires a QPSI to immediately report any unsafe conditions they find to the DOB, Perumalsamy says.

“For the sub-cycle 1B Manhattan and Brooklyn groups, that initial observation report is fairly similar to the full Local Law 126, so it makes more sense to file the final report before the Aug. 1st, 2024 deadline instead of filing both an initial observation report and a final report back-to-back,” Perumalsamy says.

Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island that are part of sub-cycle 1C, will still be required to file an “Initial Observation Report” by the August 1st, 2024, deadline in addition to the Local Law 126 inspection report which must be completed within their designated 2026 to 2027 sub-cycle period. 

Ask these two questions to pick the right consultant

When hiring a consultant, it’s crucial to ask any potential structural engineering firm about their previous experience with parking garage repairs in NYC, Perumalsamy says.

“Our number one piece of advice is to ask for recent references for parking garage inspections and repairs in New York City, and for the specific type of garage,” Perumalsamy says. “For example, is the garage made of steel, concrete, or wood—such as an old horse stable that was converted into a garage. Each structural system requires experience to understand the conditions and design a successful repair program."

Your building likely earns revenue from your garage, so it’s important to find a firm that can minimize the amount of time that parking spaces are taken out of service if repairs are needed.

“Ask your consultant, ‘based on your experience, what types of strategies do you implement to expedite repairs and return spaces to service as fast as possible?’” Perumalsamy says.

Find a firm that can make repairs and minimize costs

O&S Associates performed and filed 57 Local Law 126 garage inspections as of Dec. 31st, 2023. The number one lesson they’ve learned is that it’s best to find a firm that is capable of doing the inspections along with designing and monitoring the repairs if needed, says Charles Bilodeau, director of business development for O&S Associates.

“Ideally, it’s better to have one consultant with the necessary disciplines throughout the process unless there’s a compelling reason to go elsewhere,” Bilodeau says. “Spending time trying to retain another consultant for the repair work, other than the one who did the inspection, can lengthen and complicate the repair process. Providing these services in a turnkey manner will go a long way to streamline and simplify the process.”

Your building needs a company that can design repairs quickly, efficiently, and ideally, affordably. That way, your board can minimize the lost revenue from the garage and the extra expenses from the actual construction work, Perumalsamy says. 

For example, your engineering firm should prioritize the use of more cost-effective materials—like ready-mix concrete—rather than defaulting to pre-packaged materials that are much more expensive, but may not necessarily provide any additional benefit. Plus, they should understand the traffic flow and “choke points” in your garage so that they can close down areas in phases, if it's possible to do so, Perumalsamy says.

“Many garages in New York City have just one entrance and exit. If that’s closed, you’ve lost your entire garage.” Perumalsamy says. “That’s critical to understand, in order to phase out the work to minimize how long a garage needs to be closed, or how many parking spots you will lose.”

Founded in 1996, O&S is a full-service architectural and engineering consulting and design firm with over 60 qualified and experienced professional and technical personnel servicing the NYC area. The firm operates out of seven offices located in Midtown Manhattan, NJ (Hackensack & Bedminster), PA, OH, DC, and FL. O&S performs Architectural and Engineering design and construction administration services on over 200 projects per year ranging from studies to design of new buildings and parking structures. O&S has four Qualified Parking Structure Inspectors, three Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors and one Qualified Retaining Wall Inspector to help buildings meet all of their compliance and repair needs.

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O&S Engineers & Architects - a full-service design and consulting firm serving NYC co-ops, condos, and commercial buildings since 1996