Parapet Inspection in NYC
November 14, 2023
Starting from January 1, 2024, proprietors of structures featuring parapets bordering the public right-of-way, encompassing public streets, avenues, sidewalks, roadways, or any public areas, irrespective of building height, must conduct an annual assessment of their parapets. This mandate is outlined in NYC Administrative Code §28-301.1.1 and Title 1 of the Rules of the City of New York §103-15.
Owners are obligated to ensure compliance with these regulations to uphold public safety standards. This routine observation aims to monitor the condition of parapets regularly, enhancing structural integrity and mitigating potential hazards. Non-compliance may result in penalties, emphasizing the significance of adhering to these requirements to maintain building safety and regulatory compliance.
What is Parapet
A parapet wall is a low protective barrier or railing that extends along the edge of a roof, balcony, terrace, walkway, or other structure’s perimeter. It serves several purposes:
Prevents people from accidentally falling off the edge of elevated areas.
Enhances the architectural appearance of the structure.
Provides some shielding against wind, rain, and other weather elements.
Can house utilities, such as HVAC equipment, or serve as a platform for signage or lighting.
Parapet walls vary in height, design, and materials depending on the specific requirements of the building and the desired aesthetic and functional outcomes. They can be constructed from various materials like brick, stone, concrete, metal, or glass, and may feature decorative elements or be designed for utilitarian purposes. Overall, parapet walls play a vital role in enhancing safety, aesthetics, and functionality in various architectural and construction contexts.
How to Report the Parapet Observation
The person overseeing the inspection or the property owner, working jointly with the inspector, must create a comprehensive report outlining the findings of the observation. It is mandatory for owners to preserve these reports for at least six years and furnish them to the Department of Buildings (DOB) when requested. Detailed guidelines on observation and reporting criteria can be found in
1 RCNY §103-15 Code
Should any hazardous or unsafe conditions be identified during the observation, prompt action is necessary.
1- The individual performing the inspection must promptly inform the DOB by calling 311 and sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2- Owners must promptly implement public protection measures, such as erecting sidewalk sheds, fences, or safety netting, to ensure public safety until the issue is rectified. These protective measures must remain in place until the unsafe conditions are resolved.
3- If the installation of a sidewalk shed is deemed necessary, the applicant filing in DOB NOW must affirm its relevance to the mandated periodic observation of the building’s parapet (1 RCNY §103-15).
4- Unsafe conditions must be rectified within ninety (90) days from the notification to the DOB.
The report must include, but not limited to, the following information:
- the address of the property
- the name, mailing address and telephone number of the owner of the building, or, if the owner is not an individual, the name, mailing address, telephone number, and position/title of a principal of the owner
- the name of the person performing the observation. if other than the owner, their mailing address, telephone number, affiliation with the building or owner, and business name, if applicable
- the date(s) of the observation
- the location plan of the parapet(s) observed
- the construction of the parapet, including but not limited to material, height, and thickness
- general conditions noted, whether any unsafe conditions were found, and actions taken to remedy the unsafe conditions
- any repairs made to the parapet since the previous report
- dated photos documenting the conditions at the time of observation.
Who Can Perform the Observation or parapet inspections?
As per NYC DOB regulations, individuals with the necessary expertise can conduct parapet inspections. This encompasses professionals such as bricklayers, building superintendents, handymen, masons, or those in similar construction-related occupations. Additionally, licensed architects or engineers in New York State, authorized building inspectors, or inspectors employed by authorized insurance companies are qualified to perform these assessments. The criteria also extend to any individual proficient in identifying hazards present on the parapet structure.
Exceptions from the Annual Parapet Observation Report
- detached one- or two-family homes
- buildings with a fence or other barrier preventing access to the exterior wall.
Source: NYC DOB