Action Plan for Facade Reports

 By Frank Fortino

The DOB Local Law and Façade units will be issuing a notice to the professionals involved in inspecting a building’s façade and creating the associated reports. Here are the requirements:

1. Please be advised that despite the minimum inspection requirements stated in rule 1 RCNY §103-04(b), in some cases (such as with buildings that haven’t filed façade reports for one or more previous cycles, buildings that filed “Unsafe” reports, buildings that filed SWARMP reports but failed to file façade repair and shed permits, buildings with splitting or fractured terra-cotta and other decorative materials, cavity wall buildings, etc.) it may require a comprehensive evaluation of building conditions beyond the minimum to satisfy a professional standard of care.

2. As per FISP statistics, there remain 1,300 buildings with “Unsafe” facades. DOB is urging all building owners responsible for the maintenance of such buildings immediately take all necessary actions to bring these unsafe building facades into “Safe” condition, while employing public protective measures and submitting all required permits, time extension requests and façade reports.  All QEWIs that filed an unsafe report should contact the building owners to relay this message.

3. Please be informed that QEWIs must call 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (outside of New York City) and file a complaint upon noticing any unsafe façade conditions on any building in New York City, and in addition for buildings above 6 stories a FISP 3 form must be filed with the Department as a supplement to 311 complaint.  All communication to the Façade Unit must be sent to the general email address:

4. The DOB requires registered design professionals of record and QEWIs to pay special attention to the more vulnerable façade elements like terra-cotta and sandstone components. Please refer to our Façade Conditions Presentation for common façade defects and its causes. Thorough evaluation of any cracked façade elements is required for the FISP report and prior to commencing of façade repairs.

5. In the previous cycle there are 800 buildings that didn’t file a FISP report. Please be advised that we continue to accept façade reports early with the caveat that all civil penalties are resolved. The DOB requires building owners to file reports in timely manner to avoid any financial, administrative and legal actions. A building can always file “Unsafe” report and avoid civil penalties during a repair campaign.

6. We would like to remind building owners with existing full height and overhead balcony enclosures that are built by the unit residents, the DOB requires a permit for such work. Alternately, the unit residents should restore to original as built permitted balcony/terrace condition for such enclosures. Also we’d like to remind that the June 17, 1976 “Enclosed Balconies” Memo has been rescinded by the Department.

7. Please be reminded that the Handrail and Guard statement is an integral part of the FISP report and has to be incorporated into the report. This will avoid unnecessary report rejection. This statement must contain assessment of structural stability and Code compliance of building handrails/guardrails, including fire escapes and parapets. Click here for the May 5, 2014 “Handrail and Guard Assemblies” memo.

8. Please be advised that the DOB enforces civil penalties for owners who fail to correct an unsafe condition ($1,000 per month) as stated in rule 1 RCNY §103-04(c)(3).

9. Tentative date for the next Industry Meeting is Monday April 18, 2016 @ 10 a.m.  A formal invitation will follow.

10. For an additional Façade Inspection and Safety Program information please follow this link to Façade page on DOB website.