New York City is known for its striking architecture, diverse neighborhoods, and swift pace of daily life. But what truly keeps the city pulsing are the standards upheld to ensure the safety and integrity of the buildings that are part of NYC’s architectural grid. An important and recent update in this regard is the upcoming enforcement of annual parapet inspections. New Mandate: Annual Parapet Inspections started in 2024.

From January 1, 2024, all building parapets within NYC that face the public right-of-way must undergo an annual inspection. This mandate aims to preserve the city’s architectural integrity while safeguarding NYC residents and visitors.

Who falls under this new requirement?

The spectrum of this regulation is far-reaching. Each public and private building. Regardless of how high it stands, must have its parapets inspected if they are facing a public right-of-way. The exceptions are detached one- or two-family homes or buildings. That have a fence or another barrier barring access to the exterior wall. An important note is that cornices are subject to inspection only where they are attached to a parapet. Stand-alone cornices, however, are exempt from this annual auditing.

What does compliance look like?

To comply with this requirement, parapets must be inspected annually. As outlined by Section 28-301.1.1 of the New York City Administrative Code and Title 1 Section 103-15 of the Rules of the City of New York. The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) requires the inspection to abide by certain observation and reporting prerequisites.

Who can perform this inspection?

A variety of professionals including bricklayers, handymen, masons, superintendents, architects, and engineers. Essentially, anyone competent enough to assess the parapet’s integrity. Building owners have from January 1 through December 31 to perform these inspections and prepare an observation report for the Annual Parapet Inspections started in 2024.

Though there is no annual filing requirement with the DOB. Building owners must maintain these reports for a minimum of six years, and they must be submitted to the DOB upon request. If a hazard is identified during the inspection, the DOB must be notified immediately.

In the event of such notice, the building owner has a 90-day window to install protections to shield the public from the unsafe condition. Which must be in place until the problem is resolved.

Unlike façade and parking garage reports, the DOB does not dictate a specific format, but the report must contain at minimum:

  • Basic building information (address, owner details, etc.);
  • Name and contact information of the person performing the inspection;
  • Date of the observation;
  • Parapet location and construction information;
  • General condition descriptions;
  • Any unsafe conditions and actions taken to remedy these;
  • Any repairs since the previous report;
  • Dated photographs demonstrating observed conditions.

With Local Law 126 of 2021 heralding this enforcement, building owners should evaluate whether there will be any other inspections or exterior works in 2024 to coincide with the new parapet inspection. In the absence of such overlap, a competent person must be identified for the upcoming inspection(s).

Preparation, Compliance, and Beyond

Building owners and managers have become accustomed to the myriad of maintenance requirements. And associated inspections required to maintain safe, legally compliant buildings. However, the impending parapet inspection mandate does require some additional planning and diligence.

Proper preparation, documentation, adherence to routinely administering inspections, and early coordination with approved inspectors should be high on the to-do list of building owners in NYC.

This new requirement serves as a vivid reminder about the importance of vigilant building maintenance and safety practices. After all, while the grandeur of New York’s iconic skyline is a marvel to behold, the safety of its residents and visitors is the topmost priority.

In Conclusion

This upcoming requirement is a renewed opportunity for us in the home inspection industry to serve our community better. As the architectural custodians of NYC, we have the responsibility of aiding building owners to meet this mandate.

With a deep understanding of the NYC architecture, the knowledge of parapet structure, and a team of competently trained professionals, we are fully equipped for these new requirements. Reach out to us today to understand how we can help navigate this new chapter in NYC’s building management journey and the Annual Parapet Inspections started in 2024.

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