NYC Façade Inspection & Safety Program
Previously known as Local Law 11, the New York City Department of Buildings’ (NYCDOB) Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP) requires that owners of buildings greater than six stories retain a licensed professional engineer or registered architect to examine the building’s exterior walls every five years, and file a façade report. The professional engineer or registered architect is also referred to as the Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI).
The requirements for the examination and reporting are contained in Article 302 (Maintenance of Exterior Walls) of Title 28 of the NYC Construction Codes General Administrative Provisions. The detailed requirements of FISP are specified in Rule 1 RCNY §103-04 Periodic Inspection of Exterior Walls and Appurtenances. The overriding goal of FISP is to ensure that building façades are maintained regularly and properly, to reduce the risk of a falling-debris hazard to the public.
Tacade report and maintenance/repair deadlines are divided into cycles. The last digit of a building's block number determines if the property falls into sub-cycle A, B, or C, as outlined below.
FISP Examination & Report
The FISP Critical Examination consists of visual observations of all exterior walls, with additional close-up examination of at least one representative full-height portion of a street-facing façade. The examination also includes all balconies, railings, fire escape stairs, and any other appurtenances on the building’s façades.
Based on the findings of the examination, the QEWI’s Critical Examination report classifies a building’s façades into one of three categories:
The building’s façades do not have any conditions that would cause them to be classified as SWARMP or UNSAFE. A SAFE classification means that, in the judgment of the QEWI, the building will not become UNSAFE during the next five years.
Safe With Repair & Maintenance Program (SWARMP)
The building’s façades have at least one condition which, although SAFE at the time of the inspection, if not repaired within the timeframe specified by the QEWI, may deteriorate into an UNSAFE condition. If a SWARMP condition is not addressed prior to filing the next cycle’s report, it automatically becomes an UNSAFE condition in that next cycle.
The building’s façades have at least one condition which is either an immediate hazard to the public or, if not repaired within 12 months, will pose a hazard to the public. If an USAFE condition is observed that is hazardous at the time of the inspection, the QEWI must notify the NYCDOB and the owner immediately.
The owner must immediately install protection, such as a sidewalk shed, and unsafe conditions are expected to be repaired within 90 days of filing the report.
Cracks on exterior walls
Damaged or missing facade elements
Unsafe conditions near building entrances