Comments

Phil Fram Fri, 12/6/19 - 11:32 The number of new rules and the added cost of running Co-ops if forcing middle income Co-ops to either constantly have assessments, raise monthly maintenance charges, or increase the debt to equity ratio. The result is making Co-ops less affordable. There has to be a balance between safety and cost. I am not sure these new rules create that balance.

Jennifer Corcoran Sat, 12/7/19 - 10:29 I agree with the previous comment about the cost when the City makes changes to the rules. This proposed rule could triple the costs of facade inspection which will hurt most the shareholders and condo owners of the buildings many of whom are working and middle-class New Yorkers. If compliance or quality of work is the concern, increase the penalties for non-compliance or shoddy work.

Ronald Erickson Wed, 12/11/19 - 16:59 I respectfully request your consideration of the following changes to the Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rules, which I am describing in concept: §2(7)(i) and (iii) The person making the close-up inspection under the direct supervision of a qualified exterior wall inspector must either be in the employ of the licensed professional, or in the employ of a licensed Contractor (not necessarily a sub-contractor of the professional), and have at least 7 (seven) years of relevant experience. I note that with respect to the requirements of sub-paragraph (iii) as stated, it may not be possible for licensed Engineers and Architects to employ a scaffold contractor as a sub-contractor for insurance reasons. Please consider that such contractors be employed by the building owner. Direct supervision shall include at least review of daily reports to be prepared by the person making the close-up inspection, and meeting in person at least once per week. §3(c)(2)(iv) In the special case of large buildings with articulated facades having re-entrant corners, such as on the attached sketches, one scaffold drop may serve three walls if all points on the walls are within 60ft of the scaffold. The reason for this provision is that on the building illustrated, the number of drops would be reduced from 28 drops to 16 drops, and still effectively allow good coverage. For large buildings of similar configurations, the requirement for scaffold drops "at intervals of not more than 60'-0"" from each public right-of-way will be prohibitively expensive. In a general comment on wall ties, it is probable that buildings with cavity walls have galvanized wall ties, and if the building is more than 40 years old, the wall ties are badly rusted or disintegrated. Once probed, if the wall ties are badly rusted, in theory the walls would be UNSAFE. There may not be adequate man-power by NYC contractors to restore all buildings with deteriorated wall ties in the respective sub-cycle within 90 days, not even within one year. If sidewalk sheds are placed on each wall fronting a public right-of-way, DOB may wish to consider allowing a longer period of time for the corrective program. This is a special problem for white glazed brick buildings. Thank you for your consideration. Ronald R. Erickson, RRE Engineering

Steven Vecchione Thu, 12/12/19 - 15:29 Section 101-07, Paragraph (12) subdivision (a) Qualified exterior wall inspector – • Why does this have to be “…with facades over six stories”? Almost all façade issues are present in shorter buildings. Perhaps required 7 years overall experience and 3 years of experience with facades over six stories? Section 101-07, Paragraph (7) (ii) NOT NECESSARILY A QAD ISSUE • A signed letter? Or signed and sealed? • It may be difficult to obtain a signed letter in all cases due to retirement, etc. Section 103-04, (c) Critical examinations (2) Inspection procedures (iii) Second Paragraph • The sentence saying the QEWI need not be physically present at the inspection has been deleted. The remaining paragraph says “Architect and Engineers, working under the QWEI’s direct supervision, may be delegated to perform selected inspection tasks” but evidently not the entire inspection. Does this paragraph now require the QEWI to be on site during the inspection except for selected inspection tasks delegated for architects and engineers? • Are there any required qualifications of the architects and engineers? Require “relevant” experience? Have graduated from a accredited college or university? Is a discipline required such as a “degree in civil engineering”? etc.

Frank Durant Mon, 12/16/19 - 12:31 The number of new rules and the added cost of running Co-ops if forcing middle income Co-ops to either constantly have assessments, raise monthly maintenance charges, or increase their debt. I have personally witnessed long time residents being chased out of their homes that they have resided in their entire lives due to rising real estate taxes and the costs to maintain the buildings. I understand the need to maintain our homes, but the number of different rules and code changes have placed an undue burden on the residents, many with fixed incomes.

Ronald Erickson Wed, 12/18/19 - 16:57 I respectfully request consideration that in the event a building has already recognized that any or all of its cavity walls have deteriorated wall ties, and has installed auger type stainless steel pins between the exterior brick and backup block such as Helifix brand, at nominal spacing of one per 256 square inches, and filed and permitted such work with DOB, it will not be required to take probe holes at such walls. (supplemental to my previous comment) I request that the QEWI be allowed to delegate the responsibility to an architect or engineer, in the following way: With respect to delegation of close-up inspections or scaffold drops by a QEW1 to an architect or engineer, the person making the inspection must have a 4 year degree, and if she(he) has less than 7 years experience with exterior facades, be accompanied by an experienced scaffold technician with at least 7 years experience in a supervisory position. The delegation by the QEWI may be to an employee of the same firm as the QEWI, a consultant, or an employee of a licensed Contractor employed by the Owner, so long as the architect or engineer making the close-up inspection or scaffold drops is under the direct supervision of the QEWI responsible for the report. A large, free-standing building may have in the range of 1,500lf of sidewalk sheds. The penalty for "UNSAFE" conditions requiring sidewalks sheds to be in place, as proposed in the new rules after the first year, would be $16,000 per month the second year; $31,000 per month the third year; $46,000 per month the fourth year; and $61,000 per month the fifth year. These penalties, up to $732,000 per year, are prohibitive. I request there be some flexibility, perhaps with a cap on the penalty for large, free-standing buildings. Thank you for your consideration. Ronald R. Erickson, RRE Engineering

Valentina Fois Thu, 12/19/19 - 10:28 1. All the dates for filing at the end relate to Cycle 8 not Cycle 9. 2. Under the section, Definitions: Public right-of-way. A public street, avenue, sidewalk, roadway or any other public place or public way. 3.Is it correct in assuming that all facades that are on private property that have interior site walkways and open spaces not fronting a street require a scaffold drop and, if cavity wall, require probes as part of the inspection? A building recently filed an Acceptable AMENDED Cycle 8A FISP Safe Report. Is it required to re-scaffold the entire building again every 60 feet and open probes for the Cycle 9A inspection and report in February 2020?

Anthony Gigantiello Thu, 12/19/19 - 15:53 The number of new rules and the added cost to co-ops or condominiums owners are if forcing middle income co-ops to either constantly have assessments, raise monthly maintenance charges, or increase their debt. Our residents are home owners and the increased costs are putting an unfair burden on them. We are very diligent in our cycle inspections and repairs and should not have to pay for others that do not maintain their buildings. Our professionals have stated that the proposed rule can increase our costs anywhere between three and ten times the current cost for facade inspection. This will hurt most shareholders and condo owners. With rising costs brought on by a reactionary system and the increases to our real estate taxes we are shouldering an unfair burden. If these rules are being implemented because of compliance or the quality of work increase penalties for non-compliance or substandard work.

Anthony Gigantiello Thu, 12/19/19 - 15:57 The number of new rules and the added cost to co-ops or condominiums owners are if forcing middle income co-ops to either constantly have assessments, raise monthly maintenance charges, or increase their debt. Our residents are home owners and the increased costs are putting an unfair burden on them. We are very diligent in our cycle inspections and repairs and should not have to pay for others that do not maintain their buildings. Our professionals have stated that the proposed rule can increase our costs anywhere between three and ten times the current cost for facade inspection. This will hurt most shareholders and condo owners. With rising costs brought on by a reactionary system and the increases to our real estate taxes we are shouldering an unfair burden. If these rules are being implemented because of compliance or the quality of work increase penalties for non-compliance or substandard work.

Daniel Lansner Fri, 12/20/19 - 17:59 I am not writing to object to tightening the rules governing exterior wall inspections and repairs. However, owners and coops performing repair work on lot-line side walls adjacent to another property, must often enter into a "license agreement" with that adjacent building for protection and access to install that protection over their property. Proper protection of your neighbor's property is a reasonable requirement. Even some monetary consideration for temporary disruption to your neighbor's property seems reasonable. However, there seem to be no standards for establishing the amount of compensation paid to your lot-line neighbors, and I am aware of many circumstances where the neighboring building has extracted enormous fees to enter into a licensing agreement and grant permission for their neighbor to perform the City-mandated work. Sometimes the legal negotiations take several months – while the deadline to complete the work approaches -- resulting in enormous legal bills from the lawyers for both parties and paid for by the building performing the work. The legal fees plus the compensation paid by one building to another for access and permission to perform the work, can rival or exceed the actual cost of the protection and the work itself. This is an unfair burden to many buildings. If the City is updating the standards for inspections and repairs, they should also assist owners by setting some standards and restrictions that makes buildings less vulnerable to neighbors who are exploiting these circumstances to the point of extortion. If you don’t pay your neighbor an unreasonably large fee, they can put you at a standstill, work cannot proceed and you then will not be able to maintain your building and thus be liable for that non-compliance. In the interest of public safety, this very common situation must be addressed by the rules. Perhaps the City could endorse a standard license agreement in order to reduce legal fees. Also, the City should mandate a schedule of maximum amounts that neighbors can demand tied to quantitative aspects of the work involved, such as the cost of the job, square footage, and duration of the project. It is wrong and an unnecessary burden for the legal and license fees to exceed the cost of the work itself. This needs to be fixed, and now is the perfect time to address it.

Brendan Keany Thu, 12/26/19 - 16:07 Please see the attachment for my full comment.

Ed Yaker Fri, 12/27/19 - 12:09 See attached file.

David Tambini Sun, 12/29/19 - 12:27 I would like to echo what was said by Anthony Gigantiello, Frank Durant and Phil Fram. I have been on the Board of Directors of a Mitchell-Lama Cooperative for 12 years and the cost of Local Law 11 is killing us. I have lived here since 1967 and can assure you that not once has as much as a quarter of an inch of concrete or brick ever fallen from the facade of this building, yet every 5 years we are at the mersey of professional engineers who tell us our facade is in need of major repairs. In the past 2 cycles alone we have spent close to a million dollars. I consider Local Law 11 a well meaning but Draconian over reaction to unfortunate, isolated incidents. This cooperative houses working class people: taxi drivers, bus matrons, retail, postal and transit workers, and many retirees. These are not big real estate moguls who can drop a hundreds of thousands of dollars every five years without feeling it. We have had 4 rent increases in 10 years and 2 more have been authorized by HPD for the next 2 years in large part because of the requirements of Local Law 11. Being a supporter of Mitchell-Lama, I believe in the benefits of good government but I'm asking for relief. I also echo what was said by Daniel Lansner about required work on lot-line walls. Our "neighbor" has extorted about 10K from us in the last 2 cycles for work that is required by law.

Robert Usher Sun, 12/29/19 - 22:09 As a director and president of a NYC Coop subject to LL 11 requirements, I comment as follows: • The requirement for 7 years experience instead of only a single year for every LL11 inspection would seem likely be impractical to implement with the available labor pool • The additional requirement to demonstrate knowledge of particular laws and experience would add to the anticipated/inevitable problem of labor shortage. • What research has the DOB carried out to quantify and alleviate/ obviate the anticipated labor shortage. • These leaps in requirements also raise the question of the reason that a single year’ experience had been deemed sufficient for the past 7 LL11 cycles. The (simple) structures have not changed in that period. • Are the rules a knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy that apparently arose from a failure to rectify a known defect, not from a need for further inspection to expose such defect. • The estimated manyfold increase in costs would be counter-productive in terms of confidence in the DOB, adherence and may encourage malfeasance. • Rules should be clarified/modified to apply only to buildings abutting or within, say, 20 feet of sidewalks, as the tragedies have apparently been limited to the former.

Mario Mazzoni Sun, 12/29/19 - 23:37 While FISP and Local Law 11 was a step forward in safety, the various versions of the law have had a devastating effect on the architectural integrity of New York City. In particular, the laws have resulted in the removal of tens of thousands of facade items like cornices that are essential to the city's historic landscape. The current law creates tremendous incentive to remove facade protrusions, whether decorative, functional, or both. It gives zero incentive for buildings to repair or restore these elements rather than strip them off. This creates an imbalance where unless a building is a designated landmark, its owners are almost guaranteed to destroy even if their impulse would be to preserve. This well-intentioned safety law may have done more to destroy great old architecture than anything since the era of Robert Moses and urban renewal. The destruction has been not only to typical buildings, but also those that would have been eligible for landmark status except for owners who destroyed key elements before preservations had time. There is no reason that safety and architectural preservation should be at odds. Both goals are completely compatible with each other. The revision of the FISP law is a wonderful opportunity to make things safer for pedestrians AND correct the aspects of the law that have incentivized architectural destruction. One way to bring more balance would be through a modification to J-51 laws or the creation of a separate tax abatement program. The approach would be simple: money spent by building owners on the repair, restoration, or replication of original decorative facade elements would be entitled to twice the normal benefit. Money spent by building owners on the removal of original building facade elements, unless replaced by a replica of the original, would be ineligible for J-51. The rule could solely apply to prewar structures (although it should include prewar buildings not currently eligible for J-51). Such a program would NOT alter safety rules at all. It’s important to note that the recent tragic death of a woman by falling debris was not an inadequacy of the law, but a shortcoming of enforcement. It is misguided to react with further requirements on landlords who do comply with existing rules. Focus should be on the owners who ignore rules, like the landlord in this recent tragedy. A more serious step by the City could be taken at no cost to the government. DOB could perform “facade emergency” work and bill the expense back to the landlord, just like HPD does with its emergency repair program. In many cases this could consist of the City installing scaffolding / bridging around non-compliant buildings, and billing 100% of the cost to the owner. Buildings should not be looked at entirely from the hazard and liability perspective. Both our people and our buildings deserve protection.

Bruce Johnson Mon, 12/30/19 - 11:43 Part 3 of 3 Below are general comments of where we see digitization opportunities. Regarding § 103-04 Periodic Inspection of Exterior Walls and Appurtenances of Buildings (b) document page 5 This amendment presents an opportunity to modernize this process through digitization and electronic filing around the requirements in Article 302 of Title 28 of the Administrative Code. Current requirements call for a written report that is professionally certified by a registered design professional. We encourage the DOB to consider adding language to allow and encourage use of digital technology here. Regarding § 103-04 Periodic Inspection of Exterior Walls and Appurtenances of Buildings (c) (vii) - document page 7 Notifying by letter or fax is very outdated. Most people don’t have fax machines. We suggest updating to newer technologies (like email) that would enable more immediate notifications to the DOB and the building owner. Regarding § 103-04 Periodic Inspection of Exterior Walls and Appurtenances of Buildings critical examinations report requirements subsection (M) - document page 10 - Photos The detailed description for the photos appears restrictive and leaves no possibility for innovation and new processes that communicate very well such as photo or video editing by drone, telemetry, thermal imagery, etc. This should be more neutral not favoring a format such as PDF but rather should specify content, clarity and labeling requirements. Regarding § 103-04 Periodic Inspection of Exterior Walls and Appurtenances of Buildings amendment (f) Posting of Conditions Certificate - document Page 18. We also recommend the DOB consider program record digitization so that the data on the certificate can be incorporated and shared with the other city agencies where appropriate (i.e. FDNY) and the public, rather than just locking it in an analog setting in the building. This would help bring additional transparency to the condition of the building’s exterior walls and appurtenances. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendments. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding this submission or UL’s comments.

Bruce Johnson Mon, 12/30/19 - 11:47 See Attached Letter

Charles Zsebedics Mon, 12/30/19 - 13:26 PLEASE SEE THE ATTACHED LETTER FOR DOB CONSIDERATION OF CHANGES TO NEWLY PROPOSED FISP RULES

Charles Zsebedics Zsebedics Mon, 12/30/19 - 14:19 In furtherance to my previous comments, please review the attached memo from HLZA on the significant financial impact the newly proposed FISP rules will have on AMALGAMATED HOUSING COOPERATIVE, the first Limited Dividend Corporation in the country. The memo provides an example of the enormous financial cost the proposed FISP rules will have on all affordable housing co-ops throughout NYC. I thank the DOB for their consideration in this matter.

Charles Zsebedics Zsebedics Mon, 12/30/19 - 17:48 Please refer to the attached spreadsheet listing Amalgamated buildings under current FISP requirements and inspection costs versus the substantial and unsustainable costs for inspections under newly proposed FISP rules. I ask that the DOB take this information and use it to further study the financial impact of the proposed rules on all cooperatives throughout the city before making any decisions on whether any part of the proposed FISP rules should be implemented. Thank you for your consideration.