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NYC Department of Buildings Announces Sweeping Regulation Update

Published on: October 28, 2021

On October 7th, the New York City Department of Buildings passed a bill to make sweeping updates to construction and building regulations. The revision contains over 600 major updates and thousands of smaller changes. According to the Department’s press release, the intention for the updates is to “improve safety” for New Yorkers and “incorporate the latest in building technologies.”

The updates are extensive, but some highlights include:

  • Emergency Response Enhancements: An increase in the required dimensions of the elevator emergency hatch, the permittance of the use of batteries as a secondary power source for FDNY endorsed Auxiliary Radio Communication System, and an expansion of the number of high-rise residential buildings that require emergency voice communication systems
  • Fire Protection Enhancements: Added mandate that whenever exits discharge directly outside and not through a protected area that FDNY access be provided to the exit stairway from the protected area or within a minimum distance of it
  • Vertical Transportation and Accessibility Enhancements: Addition of clear compliance criteria for elevator systems to ensure greater accessibility and the requirement for door locking monitoring in all Limited Use/Limited Application lifts
  • Elevator and Boiler Safety Enhancements: An added requirement for elevator-in-readiness to serve all floors and amendments in inspection timeframes
  • Protecting Tenants, Streamlining Building Occupancy and Promoting Increased Affordable Housing: New special inspection of buildings undergoing instruction to ensure protection of tenants, clarity on construction documentation required for Certificate of Occupancy, and a reduction of the 8ft basement clearance height for two-family homes to 7ft
  • Construction Safety Enhancements: New allowance of the use of netting, low barriers, and chain link fencing in lieu of solid fencing, creation of new license type for advanced crane technology, and improvement of the safety and consistency of the underpinning of existing buildings
  • Building System Construction and Inspection Enhancements: Requirement of smoke tests for special gas vents to ensure safety of occupants, requirement of pipes, tubings, and fittings in mechanical systems to all comply with applicable safety standard, and codifies maintenance, condition assessment, and reporting requirements for parking structures
  • Sustainability and Resiliency Enhancements: The expanded applicability of flood zone requirements, mandates annual visual inspections of dry floodproofing systems, permits and supports the use of alternative energy production processes, and increases the material choices available to builders by expanding the use of sustainable building materials

All requirements will go into effect next year, with some taking effect on January 1st, 2022. DOB will be conducting training and outreach regarding the new requirements. You can read DOB’s full press release here. These newest revisions are the first widespread update to the entire set of NYC Administrative, Plumbing, Building, Mechanical, and Fuel Gas Codes since 2014. According to the DOB, the revisions were drafted by several technical committees from a variety of fields, including representatives from the construction industry, labor, real estate, utility companies, and more.

As a leader in the open shop construction industry, New York Construction Alliance will continue to provide updates and access to training as it becomes available. Our organization is committed to fostering high standards of safety for all of our members. NYCA’s Safety Committee remains a resource for NYC DOB training and can direct members and associate members to recommended third-party trainers. See all the benefits of membership here.