The repair of unsafe façades is essential. There are no restrictions on FISP inspections, the installation of suspended scaffolding or other means of access required to conduct the FISP inspections. The Department is proceeding with FISP Cycle 9 requirements and updates will be provided as needed as sub-cycle deadlines approach.
To keep buildings safe, owners of properties higher than six stories must have exterior walls and appurtenances inspected every five (5) years – and they must file a technical façade report with the Department. See NYC Construction Codes §28-302.1 and RCNY §103-04. As of February 20, 2020, the new Façade Rule has been in effect. See FAQs for information on 1RCNY 101-07 and 1RCNY 103-04.
Property owners must repair dangerous conditions within 90 days of filing a technical report. Once the work is finished, owners must file an amended report within two weeks.
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Inspection & Report Deadlines
Façade report and maintenance/repair deadlines are divided into cycles. The Department has added sub-cycles to make it easier for owners to hire qualified professionals and contractors. The last digit of a building’s block number determines if the property falls into sub-cycle A, B, or C. See Cycle 9 Sub-Cycle Diagram.
The required façade inspections are called critical examinations and may only be performed by a Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI). QEWIs are New York State licensed Professional Engineers (PE) or New York State Registered Architects (RA). After performing an inspection, the QEWI must file an electronic technical report through DOB NOW: Safety indicating the façade’s condition and classifying the building with one of three ways:
Safe: No problems and in good condition; or
Safe With a Repair and Maintenance Program (SWARMP): Safe, but requires repair/maintenance; or
Unsafe: Problems/defects threaten public safety.
With an Unsafe classification, the owner must immediately install protection, such as a sidewalk shed, construction fence, etc.
Owners are subject to Environmental Control Board violations and penalties if they don’t meet the deadline or fail to make timely repairs.
Owners with a building filed as Unsafe must request an extension if the repairs cannot be completed and an amended report cannot be filed within 104 days from the original filing date.
General Façade Report Reminders
Buildings with ongoing construction may not be designated as Safe.
Provide color photos and a location diagram.
Include a statement on water-tightness.
Submit a certification that repairs identified in the prior cycle have been finished.
Cite the cause and description of the deterioration.
Include the QEWI’s projection of the month and year when the defects will become hazardous and cause the façade to be classified as Unsafe.
Cite which repairs will need a Department-issued work permit.
Provide details about appurtenances. Acceptable forms of public protective measures:
All require Department of Building permits.