By: Brian Sullivan
On Tuesday, November 19, 2014, the NYC DOB FISP (Facade Inspection Safety Program) team held an industry session attended by a representative of most of the firms involved with FISP (formerly Local Law 11/98) inspections. The purpose of the meeting was to brief the industry on the ongoing status of the supplemental balcony inspections, reinforce important facts for building owners, as well as provide some information on the pending changes for the 8th cycle FISP inspections.
Supplemental Balcony Inspections
According to Tim Lynch of the NYCDOB FISP unit, approximately 1,000 supplemental balcony inspection letters have been submitted thus far. Tim reiterated that the intent of the supplemental inspections is to prevent people from falling from buildings as opposed to the initial intent of the facade inspections, which was, and still is, to prevent pieces of the facade from falling and striking pedestrians on the ground. As a result of this intent, the primary focus of the supplemental inspections is on structural stability rather than code enforcement.
It was made clear at the meeting that buildings with an NRF (No Report Filed) status from cycle 7 are currently accruing blind violations of $250 per month which must be resolved. Additionally, buildings that are classified as Unsafe accrue violations of $150 per day until the Unsafe issues are resolved.
The DOB is currently working on digitizing the FISP submission process. This would be a tremendous benefit to all the professionals involved in the FISP process, especially Building Owners. Due to the massive IT undertaking involved in this process, it does not appear that digital submission of FISP reports will be ready for the start of the 8th cycle (02/21/15); however, it is anticipated to be available at some point during the 8th cycle. Furthermore, it is the intent of the FISP unit to have all supplemental balcony letters available for review on the Property Profile page of the DOB BIS site.
As part of the 8th cycle FISP inspection and report process, Owners will be required to provide permits for the construction of balcony enclosures and QEWI’s (Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors) will be required to document all of these enclosures. If a permit can not be provided, Building Owners will have until the 9th cycle filing to obtain a permit or remove the enclosure; otherwise, the enclosure must be classified as unsafe.
The FISP team has performed a very thorough research effort to research all prior NYC Building codes as well as all Rules and Laws related to the NYC facade ordinance to attempt to accumulate all information related to the requirements for the FISP inspections and the building codes that effect each building in the FISP universe. The intent of this effort is to have all necessary information readily available for professionals performing FISP inspections. The benefits of this research will likely pay off dividends for all in the industry for decades to come.
Fortunately, the FISP team will continue to have these industry sessions. We will provide you with any and all available updates. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 973-706-8584