As per the NYC DOB Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP), formerly Local Law 11 of 1998, a periodic façade inspection on all buildings within the five boroughs of New York City greater than six stories in height (or any individual wall(s) greater than six stories in height on otherwise exempt buildings) must be performed. A report detailing findings from this inspection must be submitted to the Department of Buildings categorizing the building as SAFE, SWARMP (safe with a repair and maintenance program), or UNSAFE. The report must also include a description of required repair work, along with a timeline for performing these repairs. Our offices QEWI (qualified exterior wall inspector) and our experienced staff can provide this service along with a subsequent plan for Façade Repair and Restoration.
FISP 2020 AMENDED RULES: In January 2020, the New York City Department of Buildings issued its rule change for the 9th Cycle of the Façade Inspection Safety Program. Major changes include:
■ Hands-on inspections are required at a minimum of every 60 feet along facades facing streets and public access ways.
■ Investigative probes are required along every 60-foot interval of cavity wall façade every other cycle (i.e. Cycle 9, Cycle 11), to check for the presence and condition of wall ties.
■ Owners must post and maintain a facades conditions certificate in the lobby to alert building occupants of the status of the exterior wall(s).
FISP General Notes, Terms & Definitions
1. Periodic inspection requirements. In order to maintain a building's exterior walls and appurtenances in a safe condition, and in accordance with Article 302 of Title 28 of the Administrative Code, a critical examination of all parts of all exterior walls and any appurtenances of all existing buildings greater than six stories in height or buildings hereafter erected that are greater than six stories in height, except for those parts of any exterior wall that are less than twelve inches (305 millimeters) from the exterior wall of an adjacent building, must be conducted at periodic intervals.
2. Report filing cycle. The five-year time interval established by the Commissioner for the filing of each successive report for each successive critical examination of every building subject to the requirements of Article 302 of Title 28 of the Administrative Code.
3. Staggered inspection cycle. The separate time intervals for filing reports of critical examinations as determined by the last digit of the building’s block number:
Cycle SEVEN runs from February 21, 2010 to February 20, 2015, and the following are the filing windows:
Cycle EIGHT runs from February 21, 2015 to February 20, 2020, and the following are the filing windows:
Cycle NINE runs from February 21, 2020 to February 20, 2025, and the following are the filing windows:
Cycle TEN runs from February 21, 2025 to February 20, 2030, and the following are the filing windows:
4. Physical examinations from scaffolding or other observation platform (“close-up inspections”) must be performed at intervals of not more than 60’-0”, with the minimum number of physical examinations per total length of façade elevation noted in the table below. All physical examinations shall occur along a path from grade to top of an exterior wall fronting each public right-of-way, using at least one scaffold drop or other observation platform configuration, including all exterior wall setbacks. The Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI) shall determine the most deleterious locations and perform physical examinations at those locations. The use of drones, high resolution photography, non-destructive testing, or other similar methods does not eliminate the requirements for close-up inspections.
Length of Façade Elevation Fronting Minimum # of Physical
Public Right of Way (L) Examinations
L <60’-0” 1
60’-0”≤ L <120’-0” 2
120’-0”≤ L <180’-0” 3
180’-0”≤ L <240’-0” 4
240’-0”≤ L <300’-0” 5
300’-0”≤ L <360’-0” 6
For every additional 60’-0” of length of façade, one additional close-up inspection is required.
5. Cavity wall construction. An exterior wall system consisting of an exterior veneer with a backup wall whereby the exterior veneer relies on a grid of metal ties to the backup wall for lateral stability. The two layers of wall are separated by an air cavity which may or may not be filled with insulation.
6. Appurtenance. An exterior wall element including, but not limited to, fire escapes, exterior fixtures, ladders to rooftops, flagpoles, signs, parapets, railings, copings, guard rails, window frames (including hardware and lites), balcony and terrace enclosures, including greenhouses or solariums, window guards, window air conditioners, flower boxes, satellite dishes, antennae, cell phone towers, and any equipment attached to or protruding from the façade.
7. Posting of Conditions Certificate. A conditions certificate issued by the Commissioner must be posted in a frame with a transparent cover in the lobby or vestibule of the subject building within thirty (30) days of issuance. The certificate must indicate the most recent condition of the building’s exterior walls and appurtenances.
8. Safe condition. A condition of a building wall, any appurtenances thereto or any part thereof not requiring repair or maintenance to sustain the structural integrity of the exterior of the building and that will not become unsafe during the next five years.
9. Safe with a repair and maintenance program (SWARMP). A condition of a building wall, any appurtenances thereto or any part thereof that is safe at the time of inspection, but requires repairs or maintenance during the next five years, but not less than one year, in order to prevent its deterioration into an unsafe condition during that five-year period.
10. Conditions that are SWARMP:
11. If a building is categorized as SWARMP: In the FISP report, the QEWI will provide a recommended time frame for such repairs or maintenance to be performed which will indicate the date by which the work must be performed to prevent the conditions from becoming unsafe and not the date on which work is planned or scheduled.
12. Unsafe condition. A condition of a building wall, any appurtenances thereto, or any part thereof that is hazardous to persons or property and requires repair within one (1) year of completion of critical examinations. In addition, any condition that was reported as SWARMP in a previous report and that is not corrected at the time of the current inspection must be reported as an unsafe condition.
13. Conditions that are UNSAFE:
14. If a building is categorized as UNSAFE: In the FISP report, the QEWI will provide a recommended time frame for repairs to be performed to bring the building to SWARMP or SAFE status, and will indicate the date by which the work must be completed.
15. Amended report. A technical examination report filed by a QEWI who certifies that the unsafe conditions reported in the initial report have been repaired and that no unsafe conditions exist at the building.
16. Subsequent report. A technical examination report that is filed by a QEWI after an acceptable report in order to change the status of the building for that report filing cycle to reflect changed conditions or the recommended time frame for repairs of SWARMP or unsafe conditions.
17. Civil Penalties:
Base Penalty Plus
Year 1 $1,000/month NA
Year 2 $1,000/month $10/linear foot (l.f.) of shed/month
Year 3 $1,000/month $20/l.f. shed/month
Year 4 $1,000/month $30/l.f. shed/month
Year 5 $1,000/month $40/l.f. shed/month
18. The report will be prepared for the specific purpose of providing a critical examination and description of the subject building in accordance with the following:
It will describe the conditions as of the dates of inspection. The report is not intended to imply any warranty and/or guarantee, but rather, is intended as a report of the condition of the exterior façades at the time inspections were made.
19. The report is not intended as a specification for work to be done, nor is it a certification of conditions other than those noted in the report. No examination will be made of mechanical systems, plumbing systems, electrical systems, or other portions of the exterior or interior, and no certification of these systems is intended or implied.
20. The building described in the report may not originally designed to be
resistant to seismic forces. The report is not intended to evaluate or make recommendations concerning the building’s structure or exterior features with respect to seismic forces.
21. The report seeks to identify, through a limited visual inspection, patterns of defects and deficiencies in the exterior walls and appurtenances that have the potential to become hazardous. Such defects and deficiencies are noted in the report as encountered during the examination. The report does not intend to be inclusive of all such defects and deficiencies as may be encountered throughout the building, but seeks to identify patterns of deterioration for each type of exterior wall component encountered in the building. It is the responsibility of the Owner to monitor and correct all potentially hazardous conditions at the locations noted in the report, to identify all other locations throughout the building which exhibit the same or similar construction and characteristics, and to monitor and correct potentially hazardous conditions at those locations as well.
22. Unless otherwise noted, no attempt will be made to open up, loosen, penetrate the façades, or create exploratory openings. Unless otherwise noted, no destructive testing of the exterior walls, appurtenances, windows, fire escapes, window sills, or window air-conditioner supports will be performed as part of the information that will be gathered for the report.
23. Monitoring for continued deterioration or worsening of the defective components of the exterior walls and appurtenances is the responsibility of the Owner as part of the repair and maintenance program. Monitoring shall not be limited to isolated discrete locations, or where conditions may be construed as most severe, but instead, shall encompass all locations featuring the affected components.
24. Additional return examinations by this architect is not required. In order to accomplish any required remediation, it is recommended that an architect or engineer be retained by the building to produce construction documents, file with regulatory agencies, perform construction administration, and assure quality control. This architect can submit a proposal for such services, if the Owner so wish.
25. Fees payable to the Department of Buildings:
■ Critical Examination by our QEWI (Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector)
■ FISP Classification (SAFE, SWARMP, UNSAFE) & Report
■ Proposed Plan for Repair and Maintenance ■ FISP Report Amendment
CYCLE 9 SUB-CYCLES
■ Block numbers ending in 4, 5, 6, or 9:Feb 21, 2020 - Feb 21, 2022
■ Block numbers ending in 1, 7, or 8: Feb 21, 2021 and Feb 21, 2023
■ Block numbers ending in 1, 2, or 3: Feb 21, 2022 and Feb 21, 2024