2 Ways the New FISP Amendment Impacts Your Next Inspection
The New York City Department of Buildings has released the "Amendment of Rules Governing Exterior Wall Inspections and Repairs," impacting facade inspections. Below are two aspects of the Amendment that we find worth highlighting.
1. Frequency and Extent of Inspection
Per the amendment, "Physical examinations from scaffolding or other observation platform (“close-up inspections”)...must be performed at intervals of not more than 60’-0”, with the minimum number of physical examinations per total length of façade elevation noted in the table below. All physical examinations shall occur along a path from grade to top of an exterior wall fronting each public right-of-way, using at least one scaffold drop or other observation platform configuration, including all exterior wall setbacks."
We know that it is not as simple as: # of Physical Examinations = # Scaffold Drops.
Using the table above, our team first determines the number of minimum physical examinations, then analyzes the building's geometry, and from that determines the efficient number of scaffold drops - which is contingent on means of access, size of a house rig, etc.
2. Probes to Verify Spacing and Condition of Wall Ties in Cavity Wall Construction
Per the amendment, "Starting with FISP Cycle 9, probes must be performed on all cavity wall construction, and, at a minimum, during every subsequent odd-numbered cycle. The QEWI shall determine the location of the probes, which shall be in areas not previously renovated. At a minimum, a single probe must be completed along each required close-up inspection interval...
Exceptions. The requirement for probes may be waived in the following cases:
3. Where a QEWI proposes an alternate method of determining tie condition and spacing, which must be submitted and found acceptable by the Department."
Here, Vidaris' approach to compliance is to minimize invasive probing, which could involve removing brick and undermining the structural stability of the facade, and instead use a borescope, which is not as invasive, not as costly, and, most importantly, in compliance. The DOB has accepted our proposed use of borescope probing for this new amendment.
Amendment of Rules Governing Exterior Wall Inspections and Repairs
The “Amendment of Rules Governing Exterior Wall Inspections and Repairs” (the “Amendment”), made effective by the NYC Department of Buildings (“DOB”) as of February 20, 2020, contains material changes from previous FISP Sub-Cycles, which can be found in full at the following link:
Our team remains fully staffed and has the availability to perform FISP inspections and repairs fully acknowledging the new amendment.
Written by Stanford Chan, AIA, Senior Principal - Existing Buildings Division | Roofing and Waterproofing Division