NYC To Require Annual Parapet Inspections Come 2024

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As of January 1, 2024, New York City will require that all building parapets facing the public right-of-way undergo an annual inspection by a “competent person.” The stated purpose of the mandate is to maintain the city’s architectural integrity and to ensure the safety of NYC residents and visitors.

Who will this affect?

All public and private buildings, regardless of height, with parapets facing a public right-of-way will require annual inspections. Unless your building is a detached one- or two- family home or building with a fence or other barrier preventing access to the exterior wall, you must perform an inspection annually. Cornices are subject to inspection only insofar as they are attached to a parapet but do not require a stand-alone inspection.

How do you comply?

In order to meet this goal, the parapet must be inspected annually as required by Section 28-301.1.1 of the New York City Administrative Code and Title 1 Section 103-15 of the Rules of the City of New York. The NYC Department of Buildings (“DOB”) rules require that the inspection must adhere to certain observation and report requirements, which include an up-close look at the entire parapet from either a roof or fire escape. The inspection may be performed by a bricklayer, handyman, mason, superintendent, architect, engineer or any other person who is competent enough to assess the integrity of the parapet. Building owners have between January 1 and December 31 of each year to have the inspection performed and prepare an observation report. Building owners must keep the inspector’s observation report in their own files for a minimum of six years, however, there is no annual filing requirement with the DOB. Reports must be provided to the DOB upon request. Even without an annual reporting requirement, if the inspector identifies a hazard, he or she must immediately notify the DOB. Within 90 days of such notice, the building owner must install protections to safeguard the public from the unsafe condition, which must remain until the condition is remedied.

Unlike façade and parking garage reports, the DOB does not mandate a specific format, but the following information must be included at a minimum:

  • Basic building information (address, owner details, etc.);
  • Name and contact information of person performing inspection;
  • Date of observation;
  • Location and construction information on parapets;
  • Description of general conditions;
  • Unsafe conditions and action taken to remedy;
  • Repairs since previous report (if any); and
  • Dated photographs showing observed conditions.

With the start of 2024, and the requirements of this portion of Local Law 126 of 2021 (which is well-known for the establishment of periodic parking garage inspections), coming into effect, building owners should consider first whether there is already an inspection or other exterior work scheduled for 2024 that the newly-required parapet inspection can be added to or included in. If not, building owners should identify a competent person on staff or outside their organization and schedule their required inspection(s).

As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

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