Following two deaths from falling facade debris, New York City’s Department of Buildings is making the city’s Facade Inspection & Safety Program more rigorous.
Landlords can now expect more frequent inspections as a result of an amendment to Local Law 11, which requires owners of buildings with more than six stories to have their facades inspected every five years. The amendment took effect on February 20.
If an unsafe facade is found on a co-op, condo, or rental, the building will now face re-inspections to verify that safety measures, like scaffolding and netting, are properly installed and maintained. The DOB will conduct follow-up inspections of every Class 1 facade violation within 60 days to ensure the protection measures are installed. The change also mandates that 25 percent of all buildings in the city higher than six stories, not just those with previous violations, will be selected at random to receive safety reviews for proactive measures.
If landlords do not put up adequate protection for pedestrians, city contractors will be brought in to perform the work at the landlord’s expense.
The DOB will also conduct more follow-up field inspections 90 days after a facade violation to check that safety measures are being maintained and that the repair work has started. After that, the DOB will conduct additional inspections every 90 days to ensure further compliance. To help with the increased workload, the DOB has hired 12 new inspectors.
Other changes to the law include more up-close and hands-on inspections and stricter requirements for privately contracted inspectors. Landlords can expect increased penalties if they fail to make repairs on time, and they must post information on the status of the facade in their lobby.
In addition, the City Council is pushing to legalize the use of drones for facade inspections because of their ability to get detailed videos of damage.
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