Understanding Local Law 11 Keeping Facades Safe

 Nowadays, almost every co-op and condo board member and every board manager  knows about Local Law 11 inspections. The law and its predecessor, Local Law  10, were originally enacted to make building facades safe and to protect  pedestrians below. There are now about 12,500 buildings in the city—condos and co-ops included of course—that are subject to Local Law 11.  

 Like many laws and regulations, Local Laws 10 and 11 were prompted by tragedy. Local Law 10 was passed and signed into law in 1980 by then-Mayor Ed Koch after  a Barnard College student was killed in May 1979 by a piece of terra cotta that  fell from a building.  

 Under that law, the facades of buildings of more than six stories had to be  inspected every five years by a licensed engineer or architect and certified as  safe. Serious deficiencies had to be corrected and the building given a second  inspection.  

 Later, other accidents—including the death of a 16-year-old student struck by a falling brick, a  parapet collapsing in back of a building, and a shower of debris that fell from  an office building on Madison Avenue, led to efforts to tighten up Local Law  10. The result was Local Law 11, passed in 1998.  

 One of the main differences between Local Law 10 and Local Law 11, according to  Wayne Bellet, head of Manhattan-based Bellet Construction Inc. was that under  Local Law 10, only the front façade, plus side-walls up to 25 feet from the street had to be inspected. Under  Local Law 11, on the other hand, all the building’s façades have to be inspected. The only exception is for walls that are 12 inches or  less from the wall of an adjacent building.  

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5 Comments

  • Is there any way for residents of a building to get information about their Local Law 11 inspection or repairs? My building apparently did not meet standards during inspection, so repairs were required. They have now been doing facade repairs for a YEAR, and building management told me there is "no end in sight." For the sake of my own curiosity and sanity, I'm wondering what exactly it is they are doing with the scaffolding and jackhammers (there has been no obvious change to the appearance of the building).
  • I have been trying to have a new screen door installed on my terrace since September and I keep getting one excuse after another from my co-op Mgnt. Now they're citing "local law 11" since they intend to have the facade of the bldg. inspected. How will this new door make any difference? It's just taking the place of the old door. Am I correct in assuming this is just another stall tactic?
  • DO these laws apply to Westchester County? Do they include the use of Air Conditioner Brackets on window units?
  • we live in a hi rise twin tower community in San Diego, Ca. The towers are now going on 15 yrs. old and are lacking exterior building maintenance and repair. The current board has chosen to ignore and/or prolong the repair of exterior maintenance which has now produced small chunks of plaster falling to the ground. We also have a corbel system that goes around each towers exterior that wraps in with the water proofing. Does Law 11 apply to us in San Diego, Ca., too? Please advise. Thanks
  • I am trying to find out if a terrace railing is considered part of the structure of the building. Thanks for your help.