Bill Morris in Building Operations on October 31, 2023
It's not the heat, it's the humidity. And for New York City co-op and condo boards, it's not the blizzard of city mandates, it's the ever-changing rules on how to comply with them.
The big elephant in the room, of course, is the evolving rules on how boards can reduce their buildings' carbon emissions enough to satisfy Local Law 97, which goes into effect next year and will impose stiff fines for non-compliance. After recent public hearings, a final round of rules is expected soon.
Not to be outdone is Local Law 126, which requires inspection and repair of parking garages every six years. The Department of Buildings (DOB) has just issued a revised rule that requires all building owners in the second and third cycles of the law, which run from 2024 to 2027, to get a Qualified Parking Structure Inspector (QPSI) to perform a preliminary visual inspection of their garages and file a report by Aug. 1, 2024. Detailed inspections will still be required at later dates.
Exempt from the visual-inspection rule are buildings in the first cycle, which runs from Jan. 1, 2022 and ends two months from now, on Dec. 31, 2023 and covers all garages on the Upper West Side and below Central Park in Manhattan. Affected by the new rule are buildings in the rest of Manhattan and Brooklyn, which must undergo detailed inspection by the end of 2025, and buildings in Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, which must be thoroughly inspected by the end of 2027.
"A QPSI needs to perform what's being called an initial observation," says Jason Damiano, a senior structural engineer at Rand Engineering & Architecture and one of some 80 QPSIs currently sanctioned by the city. "Our understanding is that the DOB wants us to do a visual walk-through by Aug. 1, 2024 and see if there's anything that's a potential hazard."
Damiano says the tightening of the rules was inspired by the deadly collapse of a parking garage in Lower Manhattan in April — a structure that was due for inspection by the end of this year but had not yet been inspected. The visual inspections are intended to reveal any glaring defects that could put a structure in danger of imminent collapse.
"Boards need to get this done," Damiano says. "If something needs to be repaired, we need to find out by next August."
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