Are You Keeping Track of Your Façade Filing Period?

Façade Inspections

Building exteriors deteriorate over time, due to factors such as weather conditions and pollution. When there are unsafe conditions on the outside, sidewalk pedestrians and occupants who utilize balconies and roof space are at risk. The Façade Inspection & Safety Program (FISP) ensures that these exteriors are regularly inspected for safety.

Is your building required to file a technical report?

If a building has over six stories, including the basement, the façade must be inspected by a licensed New York Professional Engineer or Registered Architect. This process must occur once every five years.

What is the inspection procedure?

Details are recorded on the building’s outer walls and appurtenances. Appurtenances are anything attached to a building that is still part of the property and can include guard rails, flag poles, fire escapes, air conditioners, satellite dishes, and canopies.

The exterior can be examined from a scaffold or other observation platform in order to ensure a thorough inspection. Roofs, balconies, and terraces are all observed during the process. When it comes to balcony railings and connections, the examiner can choose to test every single one or sample a portion of them.

The building exterior gets properly documented through photographs and a location diagram. Causes of deterioration, when the deterioration will become unsafe is all recorded. Additional information reported on in the technical report includes water-tightness and details on if any repairs will necessitate a work permit.

Classifications

After being inspected, exterior walls and appurtenances can be classified in one of three ways:

Safe: There are no outstanding issues.

Safe With a Repair and Maintenance Program (SWARMP): The condition is currently safe, but to remain that way, remedial action needs to be taken in the next five years. If repairs aren’t made before the following cycle begins, the building classification will be changed to “unsafe.”

Unsafe: If any element is deemed unsafe, protection needs to be installed immediately. This includes sidewalk sheds and construction fences, and it shelters those walking by the building from becoming injured until the condition can be fully repaired.

How to File

Compliance filings for façades are submitted electronically on DOB NOW: Safety. A Registered Design Professional (RDP) must register with New York State to be a Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI). After the inspection, they must create an eFiling account and submit a technical report on the building’s status.

A QEWI must immediately contact the DOB and building owner if there is a hazardous situation present. Dangerous conditions must be corrected within 90 days of filing a technical report, and file an amended report is due within two weeks of the work being completed.

Deadlines & Violations

Your filing period is based upon the final digit of your building’s block number.

Last Digit of Block # Filing Period
4, 5, 6, 9  Feb. 21, 2015 – Feb. 21, 2017
0, 7, 8  Feb. 21, 2016 – Feb. 21, 2018
1, 2, 3  Feb. 21, 2017 – Feb. 21, 2019

The February 21st at the end of your period your the deadline for filing. The following are the fees associated with filing:

  • Initial Report: $265
  • Amended/Subsequent Report: $100
  • Extension Request: $135

The Environmental Control Board (ECB) will give you penalties and violations for not staying up-to-date on deadlines. Here are the costs:

  • Late Initial Report: $250/month
  • Failure to file Initial Report $1,000/year
  • Failure to fix Unsafe Condition: $1,000/month

Challenges to any of these civil penalties must be made in writing within 30 days of the violation being served.

Resources

In general, residents and occupants should be encouraged to report any issues they may find with the building’s façades so that they can be fixed as soon as possible.

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