New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021




City Council May Require Sprinklers in Residential Buildings

New York City

Residential sprinklers, New York City Council, Trump Tower fatal fire, co-ops and condos.
Dec. 1, 2020

The New York City Council will consider a bill on Wednesday that would require all residential buildings over 40 feet tall – single-family homes, rental apartments, and co-ops and condos – to install sprinklers by 2029. The proposal, known as Int. No. 1146-B, has already generated vigorous pushback from co-op and condo advocates, homeowners and landlords.

“The astronomical cost of such an endeavor is equaled only by the stress of chopping into each and every room in the building to install the sprinkler system,” says the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums, which plans to testify today in opposition to the bill. “Mandating the tremendous capital expenditure for sprinklers will surely divert scarce funds and attention from other urgent goals of carbon reduction, energy conservation, etc. with minimal impact on public safety.”

The hearing will be available for virtual viewing on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. Full details can be found on the City Council online calendar.

The bill’s sponsors include council members Barry Grodenchik, Robert Cornegy, Carlos Menchaca and eight others. The bill was first introduced after a fatal fire at Trump Tower in 2018, and it was intended to close a loophole that allowed Trump Tower and other skyscrapers to be built without sprinklers.

The cost of installing a system that complies with the law would likely start at $60,000 and could easily exceed $100,000, according to the real estate website Brownstoner. Sprinkler installation can also trigger the need for expensive structural reinforcements and destroy historic interior details.

As Brownstoner reports: "This law will have a catastrophic impact on lower-density neighborhoods where owner-occupied multi-family buildings are common,” says a petition against the proposal started by the 200 Jefferson Avenue Block Association in Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood. The petition has garnered more than 400 signatures since it was put up Monday.

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