Local Law 11 inspection is a requirement of the New York City Department of Buildings that every owner of a building higher than six stories must retain an architect or engineer to inspect their façades. Based on this inspection, a report must be filed documenting findings and making recommendations of any required repairs in order to maintain a building’s exterior in a safe condition. As part of the investigation, the architect or engineer must perform at least one scaffolding drop on a street façade, which may require the assistance of a contractor. This inspection and report is required every five years; the next cycle (Cycle 7) starts in February 2010.
Façade conditions are classified as “safe,” “unsafe,” or “safe with a repair and maintenance program (SWARMP).” Unsafe conditions require immediate notification to the Department of Buildings, protection of the public and remedial action to stabilize it or correct it. Any SWARMP condition from the previous cycle (Cycle 6) that was not corrected will automatically be classified as unsafe with the filing of a new report. SWARMP conditions require repair from one to five years depending on the architect’s or engineer’s recommendation.
Preparing for your Local Law 11 investigation will require the following:
1. If you have not performed your obligated repairs from the previous report, contact a qualified architect or engineer to prepare the required drawings for bidding and DOB submission. The DOB will require building permit information associated with the repairs that were completed from the previous Local Law 11 report.
2. Read your previous Local Law 11 cycle report and look at the conditions to assure their correction. If you can’t find the report, contact your expeditor to obtain a copy of it from the building department. You should do this well in advance of the actual filing date to allow sufficient time to correct the conditions. Many times cracked glass, loose store awnings, and other simple, miscellaneous items are excluded from the restoration contractor’s work because the building management has committed to its repair. Assuring corrections have been made will save the embarrassments of the inspector classifying it as “unsafe.”