Brick, stone, steel and glass…the exteriors of New York’s co-op and condo buildings are as recognizable as the skylines they form. Keeping them current and shapely is the responsibility of the boards and managers who oversee each residential building. Law dictates that they ensure the facades not only look good but function well, protecting the structures they cover, and are safe, protecting the thousands of pedestrians who pass by them each day.
In addition to the legal and safety considerations, façade inspections are the building’s equivalent of an annual check-up. “It is essential to a building’s general upkeep to perform façade inspections,” says Matthew Providente, director of operations and compliance for AKAM Associates and Project Management Group, formed to handle large-scale repairs, capital improvement work and greening management. “It is during these general inspections that property issues can be identified before they become a more severe problem, thereby allowing for an appropriate action plan to be put into place.”
Knowing where existing and potential issues lie can be a significant advantage in ensuring not only the safety and aesthetics of a building but its value also—something of special importance in New York where people’s largest investments are most often those made in their homes.
Exterior inspections can be a major responsibility but when done consistently and with the help of a qualified expert, it’s one that is more than manageable.
When and How
According to Alexander Schnell, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) press office, “The law requires that buildings greater than six stories in height undergo a hands-on façade inspection at least every five years by a professionally qualified exterior wall inspector, (QEWI).” This inspector must be either a New York State Registered Architect (RA) or New York State licensed Professional Engineer (PE) with at least one year of experience.