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What is the Facade Inspection Safety Program?

The Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP) – previously known as Local Law 11 – relates to buildings in New York City. It requires that owners of buildings with six or more stories above grade have their exterior walls and appurtenances inspected periodically – as set forth by the commissioner – but at least once every five years.

The Facade Inspection Safety Program requires that owners of buildings with six or more stories above grade have their exterior walls and appurtenances inspected periodically – as set forth by the commissioner – but at least once every five years.

Balcony enclosures (railings) would fall under the Facade Inspection Safety Program and wouldNew York City require a permit for installation.

A Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI) must inspect the structural soundness and connections of all balcony enclosures on a property. If they are in danger of failure, they will note it as an unsafe item. Enclosures installed without a permit shall not be considered safe.

QEWI will rate as follows:

  • Safe: The façade has no problems and is in good condition
  • Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program (SWARMP): The façade is safe, but requires repairs/maintenance.
  • Unsafe: The façade has problems/defects that pose a threat to safety.

If unsafe conditions are found during an inspection, owners must file the report as “Unsafe” and immediately install public safety measures, such as a sidewall shed, construction fence, etc. Unsafe conditions must be corrected within 90 days and an amended report filed with the Department of Building with 15 days of completing the repairs. In total, repairs must be corrected and and ameded report filed within 105 days of the initial filing.

Additional Safety Measures:

  • Contract an engineering entity to perform load tests on guards in order to determine whether or not it conforms to the current NYC building code.
  • Obtain engineering data from the railing manufacturer
  • Implement an annual, routine maintenance plan
  • Inform tenants and ask that they monitor the condition of the guards on their balconies and to promptly report any unsafe conditions to the building superintendent for immediate repair.

Contact us with any questions.

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