Amendment of Façade Rules

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Friday, May 17, 2013
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 



Statement of Basis and Purpose


The following rule amendments are promulgated pursuant to the authority of the Commissioner of Buildings under Sections 643 and 1043(a) of the New York City Charter and Article 302 of Title 28 of the New York City Administrative Code. Article 302 requires inspection, maintenance, repair and reporting of the conditions of exterior walls (façades).


With these amendments to the rule regarding the periodic inspection of facades of buildings greater than 6 stories, the Department is addressing some administrative issues that are not covered in the current requirements. The amendments:


  • Delete the prohibition on designating the condition of an air conditioner as Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program (SWARMP). These automatic "unsafe" designations were being applied to the entire building even where the only issue was a minor air conditioner defect. This deletion will allow air conditioner conditions to be designated as SWARMP.


  • Add a requirement that the Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI) must inspect the structural soundness and connections of the balcony enclosures even if a report for cycle seven, which runs from February 21, 2010, to February 20, 2015, has been filed for the building. A recent balcony accident highlighted that many balcony railings are uninspected and may be unsafe. With this rule, the Department specifically requires all owners to check periodically the adequacy and structural integrity of all of their balcony railings. This new provision in no way affects the existing requirement to check periodically the adequacy of all aspects of the façade and its appurtenances.


  • Clarify that if the QEWI does not file a report within 60 days of a critical examination, a new examination is required. This will ensure the information on the report is recent and accurate.


  • Allow the Department to charge a new, separate filing fee that owners must pay to the Department's Facade Unit. If the Department has rejected a façade inspection report twice previously, the Department will review it completely upon the third resubmission. The fee covers the administrative cost of that third review of the report.


  • Fix some minor citation issues.