By Joe Contreras
October 28th, 2021
Those familiar with real estate in New York City understand that there are routine inspections mandated by the NYC Department of Buildings that include but are not limited to: elevators, boilers, fire suppression systems, energy efficiency, and facades. The mandates for such inspections by a governing agency typically originate from a catastrophic failure. As Building Envelope Consultants, we at Sullivan Engineering, A Rimkus Company, are well-versed in façade ordinances, specifically within the 5 boroughs of New York City; however, there is an increasing number of municipalities that require routine façade inspections outside of the NYC area. At the time of this publication, there are 13 cities that require periodic inspections of façades by a qualified professional. The most recent addition to the list of cities requiring façade inspections is Jersey City, New Jersey; a close neighbor to NYC.
Jersey City is home to 9 out of the top 10 tallest buildings in the Garden State area. As a result of the Surfside Condo collapse near Miami, Florida, the Jersey City legislatures pushed a bill to mandate both structural stability and façade inspections on existing buildings within the city limits. The mandated structural inspections pertain to concrete buildings taller than 6 stories, which requires a Structural Inspection Report to be prepared by a licensed professional and submitted to the Division of the Construction Code Official by the Property Owner every 10 years. Within the report, the licensed professional must certify the results of the inspection, clearly document the condition of the building’s structural identifying conditions as either “Safe” or “Unsafe,” and provide both repair and maintenance recommendations with a specified timeline for repair completion.
In addition to Structural Inspections, Jersey City has decided to require façade inspections on all Buildings exceeding 6 stories and masonry-clad buildings that are greater than 3 stories in height every 5 years (Ord. 21-054). Similar to the structural inspection requirement, Jersey City facades must be inspected by a licensed professional, and a report must be generated and certified by the licensed professional and submitted to the Division of the Construction Code Official. This report is required to list the results of the inspection, clearly document the condition of the building’s façade, noting conditions as either “Safe” or “Unsafe,” and provide repair recommendations with a timeline for repair completion. Property Owners of qualifying Jersey City buildings must submit their first façade inspection report to the Division of the Construction Code Official by December 31, 2023. Thereafter, façade inspection compliance reports must be submitted every 5 years.
As discussed in-depth on our website and previous publications, routine façade inspections and building envelope surveys can provide value to Property Owners and Managers, as they can be a tremendous planning tool for future capital expenditures. In addition, identifying and correcting a building envelope or façade issue in its infancy stages can save property owners a considerable amount of money, as minor issues left unrepaired can result in more costly repairs within a short period of time.
If you would like additional information to better understand façade ordinances in New York City or Jersey City, please feel free to submit an inquiry through our website.