New York City’s Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP)

New York City’s Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP)

Strategies for Eligible Property Owners and Managers

Formerly known as Local Law 11/98, New York City’s Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP) requires periodic hands-on inspections along every 60-foot interval of street- and public-facing façades of buildings greater than six stories in height. While most property owners and managers know these inspections are required, the details of the program can be confusing – resulting in unnecessary delays and costly penalties.

Partner With a Qualified Professional

Steven Kratchman Architect has been performing façade and structural inspections for more than two decades. Our team conducts these inspections and files reports quickly, thoroughly, and accurately. Additionally, we are a NYC Dept. of Buildings Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI).

New York City’s skyline has multiple examples of our façade restoration work. Notably:

Strategies for Resolving the Top Client Challenges

As experts in façade inspection, repair, and renovation, we have developed strategies to help clients avoid or overcome obstacles at every phase of the FISP process – from adjusting filing classifications that could remove a property from being subject to the FISP regulations, to designing and leading restorations and enhancements.

  • For clients who have missed a filing cycle: The report must be filed in the new cycle and explain the error. The property is then considered Unsafe by default, and penalties and fines must be paid for each month that it was out of status.
  • For clients who have terra cotta and limestone façade trim: These brittle materials can crack and break with age, and their Falling Objects Protective Structure (FOPS) factor of safety is reduced to zero – creating unsafe conditions on the ground. Our expertise includes replacing the trim with cast concrete or lightweight glass fiber reinforced concrete (GRFC) using digital surveys to match the original.
  • For clients who have landmark designations: Historic and landmark properties are often expensive to maintain and repair. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) provides the opportunity to submit a master plan detailing how a building will be repaired over time, followed by an approval hearing. Approved master plans can streamline the renovation process, allowing the LPC staff to approve each work application more quickly, often resulting in better-controlled costs.
  • For clients who do not want scaffolding pipe at street level: Shops and residences rely on curb appeal to attract customers, but they need to keep residents safe. Erecting a sidewalk bridge to conduct facade repairs can create hazardous conditions that lead to complaints and lawsuits. Specifying the use of a double-height bridge will help improve aesthetics and heighten visibility, as can designing the scaffolding as they do in European cities.
  • For clients who would like to be under six stories or may have an incorrect classification: The DOB occasionally misclassifies a building as seven stories when it should be six, triggering its eligibility for FISP. If the building has sloping streets and sidewalks, it may be possible to change the classification by correctly defining the cellar so it does not count as a story.
  • For clients who have accumulated years of penalties and fines: The DOB and Environmental Control Board (ECB) are open to assisting owners with workout plans under certain circumstances. This allows both parties to mediate and compromise while adhering to non-negotiable principles.

Inspections Lead to Corrections, and Corrections Lead to Enhancements

Steven Kratchman Architect offers property owners the ability to go beyond the inspection phase to enhance their buildings’ values. Once the scaffolding goes up, we can correct Unsafe conditions and make aesthetic improvements at the same time – saving valuable time and expense.