A Guide to Annual Parapet Observations in New York City

A Guide to Annual Parapet Observations in New York City

Beginning on January 1, 2024, every building owner must have an observation of the parapet on their building(s) performed according to the requirements of Section 28-301.1.1 of the New York City Administrative Code.

This requirement applies to all buildings with parapets fronting the public right-of-way, regardless of height. EXCEPT: detached one—or two-family homes or buildings with a fence or other barrier preventing access to the exterior wall.

The observation must include close-up inspections of the entire parapet which could be conducted from a fire escape or roof. See 1 RCNY §103-15 for more observation and report requirements information.

Owners must maintain the observation reports for at least six (6) years and make such reports available to the Department upon request.

Industry Notices & Updates

Observation

Observations must be performed annually by a person competent to inspect parapets, including, but is not limited to a bricklayer, building superintendent https://nyc-business.nyc.gov/nycbusiness/description/site-safety-supervision-requirements, handyman, mason or a person in a similar construction-related trade, architect, engineer, an inspector working for a New York State-authorized insurance company, a New York State-authorized building inspector, or any other individual capable of identifying hazards on the parapet.

The observation must include, but not be limited to:

  • a determination that the parapet is plumb by a horizontal distance within one-eighth of its cross-sectional thickness in any location
  • a determination of whether there is excessive deterioration, including, but not limited to, displacement, horizontal or diagonal cracks, missing or loose bricks or coping stones, deteriorated mortar joints, spalling, or rot
  • a determination that appurtenances such as telecommunications equipment, railings, roof access rails, gooseneck ladders and handrail attachments for fire escapes, and signs, have been installed and maintained in a stable condition.

Notifications of Hazardous or Unsafe Conditions

The person performing the observation must immediately notify the Department of Buildings by calling 311 and emailing parapets@buildings.nyc.gov.  

The owner must immediately install public protection, such as erecting a sidewalk shed, removing the unsafe condition, closing off the area with a fence, and/or installing safety netting, as may be required to secure the safety of the public and remediate the unsafe condition.

All unsafe conditions must be corrected within ninety (90) days of notification to the Department. Public protection must remain in place until the unsafe condition is remedied.

Report Requirements

The report must include, but not be 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 document the conditions at the time of observation.

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