Construction Laws Do You Know Where Your Permits Are?

Sooner or later, your building will probably have to undergo an exterior maintenance, renovation or repair project—especially since Local Law 11 was passed in 1998, mandating periodic inspections of exterior walls of any building more than six stories in height.

A series of Local Laws have been passed in the city to ensure the safety of pedestrians and passers-by on the city’s sidewalks. The purpose of the laws themselves are to get professionals to take a good hard look at the facades of the city’s buildings and make sure there are no loose bricks, crumbling mortar, cracks, or other conditions that could lead to falling debris and possible tragedy.

The SWARMP Thing

Starting with the first “cycle” of Local Law 11, inspected buildings were classified as Safe, Unsafe, or Safe With a Repair and Maintenance Program—usually referred to by the unlikely acronym “SWARMP.”

We are now in Cycle 6 of Local Law 11, and will be until February 21, 2007. Buildings with conditions previously classified as SWARMP in Cycle 5 must be repaired prior to filing for Cycle 6 or face serious fines and penalties. The rush to repair and file on time is creating lots of work for contractors and engineers. And your engineer, contractor and architect hopefully know all the Local Law 11 requirements inside out, it’s also important for board members and managers to know the basics.

In addition to Local Law 11, there are any number of other codes, departmental approvals and regulations, mainly under the aegis of the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) that have to be navigated. Some need permits, such as the installation of sidewalk sheds, which must be installed to protect the public on many jobs, and some jobs don’t.


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