Caring for Healthcare: How the 2022 Code Updates Could Impact Healthcare Facilities

The 2022 NYC Building Code went into effect on November 7, 2022. While we’ve covered a number of general updates the new code will bring, it’s worth a moment to focus on healthcare facilities in particular.


Parking (Garage) Tickets: New Periodic Inspections for NYC Parking Garages

The NYC Department of Buildings has recently released further details on its parking garage inspection requirements.


Air Quality Alert: Environmental Protection Agency Says NYC To Upgrade to “Severe” Smog Status

Permitting rules may become stricter for certain projects in New York City in the near future, due to a proposed air quality reclassification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Changeup Pitch: Site Safety Updates for Summer 2022

New submission rules, construction superintendent limits, revoked training, and their potential impacts on your next project.


Beep, Beep! How New DOT Bus and Bike Lanes Could Affect Contractors

If you’re a contractor with active Department of Transportation permits in New York City, a couple of recently-announced DOT initiatives may impact your projects through at least the end of 2022.


What’s Going on in Gowanus?: The New Special Gowanus Mixed Use District

How your Brooklyn filings will be affected and how you can take advantage.


City of Yes: New NYC Zoning Amendments for Growth and Sustainability

On June 1, 2022, three citywide zoning amendments were announced that could remove limitations and encourage new building and alteration uses in neighborhoods which previously would have banned them.


Aw, Rats! New Bill Could Make Pest Control a Permit Requirement

Find out what types of projects could be affected.


Weigh In: Zoning Diagrams Now Open for Public Challenge through DOB NOW

It is now easier than ever for the public to weigh in on certain New Building and Alterations projects in NYC.


Status Update: 2021 NYC Construction Safety Report Tracks Site Safety Progress

In March 2022, the NYC DOB released their second-annual Construction Safety Report, compiling site safety data from 2021 and comparing it against 2020 statistics.


Can You Dig It? NYC DEP Permit Required for All Work Disturbing 20,000 Square Feet of Soil

In the interest of stormwater protection, certain construction projects will now have some extra paperwork to do.


Did You Hand in Your Report? New Penalties for Failure to File Sprinkler Report

As of January 1, 2022, office building owners who have not filed a sprinkler report, certifying that sprinklers were installed in the building where required under Local Law 26 of 2004, will be subject to civil penalties.


A Faster Approach: DOB NOW No Longer Requires HPD Permit for Buildings Flagged Outside of MIH Zone

Learn about the new process for getting your MIH-flagged project approved.


Legally Binding: New Project Labor Agreement Requirement for Large-Scale Federal Construction

Under Executive Order from February 4, 2022, Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) will be required for any federal government construction project of approx. $35 million or more, starting immediately.


More Hurdles for Building Owners: DOB Denying Energy Efficiency Reports Due to Outstanding Violations

As of December 31, 2021, the NYC Department of Buildings no longer accepts Energy Efficiency Reports (EER) from owners who owe penalties for prior violations.


Heating Up: Local Law 154 of 2021 Brings Phased-In Gas Heat Restrictions

New buildings will need alternative heating by as early as 2024. Learn more about the new law.


New NYC Special Inspections Site Launched, with Better Options to Get Special Inspections

New York, NY – Since 2012, Outsource Special Inspections (OSI) has been a trusted source for special inspections in New York City. Led by a senior team of knowledgeable, highly qualified professional engineers, OSI performs NYC Department of Buildings-certified inspections across New York City every day, covering over 600 clients.


A Look Back: The Top 5 Decoder Articles of 2021

Check out Decoder’s highlights from the past year.


Bridges & Tunnels: Infrastructure’s Impact on NYC Construction

Why construction professionals should care about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, and what to do about it.


Make an OATH: Updates on Violation Hearings and Defaults

All about the new default cancellation request deadline and attending hearings during COVID.


The Results Are In: Safety Sweeps Follow Up

Did the Zero Tolerance safety campaign get the outcome it wanted? What will it mean for the future?


A Brief Reprieve: Fee Waivers for Emergency Flood Damage Work

As of September 14, 2021, the NYC Department of Buildings will not require fees for filing and permits for Hurricane Ida-related damage.


Don’t Be Alarmed: FDNY Services Go Fully Digital

Be advised: As of September 7, 2021, all FDNY services must now be filed exclusively online.


Rain, Rain, Go Away: Flood-Resilient Construction Post-Hurricane Ida

New York City has been called the concrete jungle, but never before has the name been more apt, or more dangerous.


Overall Overhaul: DOB Website Updates You May Have Missed

From redesigns to online license applications, here’s the latest on the NYC Buildings website.


Dancing in the Street: What a Permanent Open Streets Program Might Mean for NYC Construction

In May 2021, the Open Streets program, which converted 83 miles of NYC roadways into pedestrian walkways to better accommodate pandemic outdoor dining, was made permanent for neighborhoods that chose to keep it.


Energy Experiment: The Energy Code Performance Pilot Program

The DOB recently announced a 5-month pilot program for designers to test new tools for a 100% performance-based approach to the current NYC energy code.


Taking Ownership: Updates on the Property Ownership Certification Form

What to watch out for when enforcement begins August 16, 2021.


Al Fresco Fiascos: Top 5 Potential Outdoor Dining Violations

Common issues to avoid to stay in the NYC Open Restaurants program.


File and Waive: DOB Launches New Portal for Façade Penalties

As of July 12, 2021, civil penalty payments and waive requests must go through DOB: NOW.


Cash In on Carbon: State Announces Incentives for Low Carbon Multifamily Retrofits

The New York State government recently announced that it has budgeted funding towards incentives for its Low Carbon Pathways for Multifamily Buildings program.


Loosen Up: DOB Rescinds Mask Rules and Other COVID-19 Construction Rules

Learn what this means for NYC construction going forward.


A New Hurdle for Building Owners: Property Ownership Certification Form

Originally set to begin on June 30, 2020, DOB NOW permit applications will need an extra form in order to get approved. A DOB service notice released on June 28, 2020 revealed that enforcement will begin in August of 2021 with the official launch date and additional details to be announced.


Surprise Inspection: How to Prepare for New Safety Sweeps

On June 1, 2021, the NYC Department of Buildings announced a slew of unannounced site safety sweeps across the city.


It’s Electrifying! New Council Bill Hopes to Limit Use of Gas Heat

As of late May 2021, a new bill introduced in the New York City Council could make a major impact on the city’s building and energy codes.


In the Zone: New Zoning Proposals for Accessibility and Health

In Spring 2021, several zoning changes to improve transit accessibility and to lower barriers for small and independent health-focused businesses were proposed and put under public review.


Redefining Moment: Proposed Local Laws Expand “Major Building” Status and Safety Requirements

How new construction safety laws may affect permits and approvals.


Don’t Blow Your Cap: Building Emissions Adjustment Deadline

Apply for altered 2024-2029 greenhouse gas emissions limits on your large building before July 2021.


Waste Not, Want Not: Adaptive Reuse of Closed Commercial Properties

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated existing trends in remote work, as well as the pivot away from big box and department stores, leaving many buildings and storefronts unused and empty. What can be done with these blank spaces?


For What It’s Earth

NYC Climate Code Updates and Energy Benchmark Deadline


Keeping House: New Penalties for Multiple Dwelling Violations

Certain violations after January 4, 2020 will hold up new permits for owners.


The New Frontier: DOB Introduces Remote Video Inspections

New pilot program starts March 19, 2021 for select inspections and areas.


3 Ways to Help You Manage Your NYC Building Projects Amid Agency Changes

Explore how this online dashboard tracks and resolves your critical building items.


Issuance and Renewal of COs migrating to DOB NOW: Build

Learn more on how to migrate Certificates of Occupancy from BIS.


Not a Façade! Increased Penalty Reminder for FISP-Eligible Buildings

Building owners beware – Outstanding façade issues from last inspection could result in a $2,000 fine.


Local Law 191 Update: CO Detector Installation Extension

There’s still time for your commercial building to install code-approved carbon monoxide detectors.


Local Law 152: Gas Piping Inspections Deadline Extension

In order to accommodate delays from the pandemic, the deadline under Local Law 152 of 2016 for building owners in community districts 1, 3 and 10 (in any borough) to have their gas piping inspected has been extended from December 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021.


Introducing the Interim Certificate of Occupancy

What you need to know about the new type of TCO


LL15 of 2020: A Brief Guide to Bird-Friendly Building Design

New mandates go into effect January 10, 2021.


LL106 of 2019: New Tenant Protection Plan Requirements

Timeline changes, updated forms, and new standards for Registered Design Professionals go into effect on November 10.


Want to Convert Your Rooftop? 3 Things to Keep in Mind

Code considerations for making usable rooftop spaces in New York.


Reimagining Design for the New Normal: Offices

It’s more than plexiglass and 6 feet. Before you put up the partitions, check with the code.


The Grades Are In: Energy Benchmarking Deadline Approaches

Building owners must post energy efficiency ratings by October 31, 2020.


Reimagining Design for the New Normal: Museums

Museums are now open in NYC! See how these valuable cultural institutions are safeguarding patrons now and in the near future.


Local Law 191: Does Your Commercial Building Need a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

New law goes into effect January 1, 2021 – check your applicability!


Reimagining Design for the New Normal: Airports

Airports face hard times right now, but there’s an opportunity to improve design as well as safety.


Reimagining Design for the New Normal: Restaurants

Restaurants have been caught in something of a catch-22 since the beginning of the pandemic.


Reimagining Design for the New Normal: Hotels

Hotels may be down right now, but they are not out.


LL114 of 2019: Truth and Consequences

LL114 of 2019 increases penalties for false PW1 statements on occupancy.


Don’t Boil Over

Getting acquainted with DOB’s new boiler violations portal.


Bites and Barriers

How to Create Code-Compliant Temporary Outdoor Dining Seating Amid COVID-19 Crisis.


Reopening Your Commercial Building Post-NY on PAUSE

How to prep for and enforce the new normal.


Looking Ahead: The Future of Construction in New York City

What will construction look like when the stop order is lifted?


All Hands on Deck: Emergency Work during COVID-19 Crisis

How to navigate filing for emergency staging and temporary hospital projects.


COVID-19 Hits NYC Construction

Navigating filing and construction in the midst of New York on PAUSE.


Looking to the Future: The 2020 NYC Energy Conservation Code

The new code will go into effect on May 12, 2020.


Mandatory Sustainable Roofing Required for New Buildings and Enlargements

What you need to know when Local Laws 92 & 94 go into effect.


Local Law 49 - Basement Apartment Conversion Pilot Program

Select areas in Brooklyn may now be permitted to create lawful cellar apartments.


It’s 2019! It’s More Than Just a Sign

A refresher on gender neutral bathroom signs


Penalty Waivers Go Digital

A refresher on gender neutral bathroom signs

Local Law 195 - Fire Alarm Applications

Local Law 195 - Fire Alarm Applications

If you're experiencing longer wait times for fire alarm application review, this could be the reason why.


Are YOU ready for DOB Now?

Here is what you need to know, in a nutshell.


Local Law 160

Pursuant to Local Law 160 of 2017, the Department of Buildings will now be enforcing section 28-105.1.2.


Open for Business with a FINAL Certificate of Occupancy

Would it surprise you to know that many of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, have not been issued a final certificate of occupancy?


Inspect what YOU expect

The Department of buildings has a long history of allowing Design Applicants or a designated Third-Party Inspectors the ability to conduct a final construction inspection on their projects.


It’s Crunch Time! Are you Fully sprinklered yet?

The New York City Council introduces hundreds of new local laws each year. In 2013 Local Law 141 was enacted which solidified the adoption of an NYC modification of the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) as the new city Building Code.


Not So Little Rascals

If you have ever been at home sick watching daytime television, you’ve certainly seen commercials for Rascal scooters and similar devices. These devices are typically larger than a standard wheel chair and may have difficulty maneuvering within a building.


LL 141, Exceptions, Accessibility and You

The New York City Council introduces hundreds of new local laws each year. In 2013 Local Law 141 was enacted which solidified the adoption of an NYC modification of the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) as the new city Building Code


Vacant Land Ho!

Much hullabaloo was raised by housing advocates when Comptroller Scott Stringer put out a report claiming the HPD was sitting on 1,125 vacant city-owned lots. About half of those are in Brooklyn, 363 in Queens, 112 in the Bronx and 98 in Manhattan.


Running Through the Sprinklers

New York City Buildings in occupancy group E over 100 feet in height will soon have a building code fire to put out. Local Law 26 of 2004 mandates that these large office buildings be equip with a full system of automatic sprinklers by July 1, 2019. Local Law 26 applies retroactively.


Meaner Tax Liens

The DOB released two local laws that will move buildings with high ECB fines closer to foreclosure. Tax liens and distressed properties were previously limited to owners that defaulted payment.


Big Fines? No Permits

New York City building owners owing heavy ECB fines will now have a tougher time pulling permits due to recently passed Local Law 160. If building owners owe more than $25,000 in “covered arrears” the DOB will not issue permits for new buildings, demolition, place of assembly or major alterations that will change use, egress or occupancy.


Zone Green Walls

In 2012, New York City’s Zone Green program amended the Zoning Code to allow wall thickness to be deducted from floor area provided the walls are energy efficient. City Planning claims New York buildings are responsible for 80 percent of the city’s carbon emissions.


Construction Safety Bill Increases Training

City Council passed its construction safety bill on September 27th, 2017. The bill makes additions to the Administrative and Building Codes to mandate worker safety training, creates a task force and imposes penalties for failure to comply.


New Website Resolves ECB Violations

Outsource Consultants has launched a convenient ECB Violations Tool for New York City building owners, property managers, owners representatives and other building professionals. Simply enter a building address to see a list of open ECB violations.


What is the Scaffold Law?

The Scaffold Law is a 1885 New York State Law the places liability on owners and contractors for injury stemming from the failure to provide scaffold safety protections required by building codes. In later years, the courts added the terms “strict” and “absolute” to liability, thus eliminating any ruling of shared liability between owner/contractor and injured worker.


Must Stop Working

In an effort to curtail the recent surge of construction injuries, the DOB has ramped up its stop work order issuances. Stop work order issuances increased three times faster than permit issuances from 2012-2016. Following approved plans and construction safety measures can prevent stop work orders.


Before You Buy

Prospective building owners should do their homework before pulling the trigger on a purchase. There could be restrictions on the property or fees unrecognized in the sales price. Large buildings will typically get a due diligence report from an expediting company.


When Apartments Combine

The combining of residential units has become increasingly popular in New York City. Residential combinations can range from the joining of two apartments to turning a larger multiple dwelling into a single family home.


Same Day Violations Slows

The DOB announced a critical change to the way the Administrative Enforcement Unit handles DOB-ECB violation corrections. Going forward, the AEU will only issue two tickets for same day Certificate of Correction service, down from three. Secondly, the AEU will only issue same day Certificate of Correction tickets for Hazardous Class 1 Violations and violations eligible for a cure.


Two Bills Target Illegal Conversions

New York City Council is currently floating two bills that may drop the hammer on illegal conversions. The first allows circumstantial evidence to be used to issue violations for illegal conversions. The second targets unlicensed professionals doing illegal plumbing and fire safety work.


Airbnb Bill Targets Advertising

On October 21st, 2016 New York Governor Cuomo signed the bill 8704-C into law, imposing fines for the advertisement of illegal short term transient occupancies. Referred to as the “Airbnb Bill,” the bill does not target Airbnb specifically, nor does it make Airbnb’s services illegal.


ECB Violation Amnesty Begins September 12th

On September 12th, 2016 the Department of Finance launched its 90-day amnesty program allowing subjects with unpaid ECB violations an opportunity to pay their fines at a reduced rate. Those that have lingering violations are encouraged to participate before the Department of Finance imposes strict collection measures that may include wage garnishment and even sale of property.


Solar Certification Expands

The DOB made it a little easier for homeowners wanting to install rooftop solar panels. Now professional certification is allowed on projects participating in the Solar Panel Tax Abatement program. Visits with plan examiners are no longer required.


No Harassment Expands

The Department of Buildings and Housing Preservation and Development have expanded the requirement for Certificates of No Harassment to include multiple dwellings in several special districts. Previously the certificate was only required for SRO’s undergoing renovation.


Street Tree Smarts

NYC’s street tree planting requirement may leave some developers out on a limb. Since the Street Tree Amendment of 2007 all new buildings, major enlargements and certain conversions are required to plant street trees. If a building owner fails to plant street trees, the DOB will not issue a TCO.


Here Codes the Sun

Rooftop solar installations are becoming increasingly popular in New York City. Recently the DOB released Buildings Bulletin 2015-024< to address the acceptable panels, their respective installation requirements and the required testing methods.


When to Declare Property Value Calculations?

The Department of Buildings revised and clarified 1 RCNY 3601-01, a rule that addresses application requirements for buildings located in flood zones. The intent of 1 RCNY 3601-01 is to determine whether the work performed in flood zones constitutes a substantial improvement, which is defined as job applications whose total equals 50% or more of a building’s market value.


Get Ready For Inspection Ready

The DOB is preparing for its Inspection Ready launch by inviting licensees and building owners to register onto the the portal. The launch of Inspection Ready coheres with the technological overhaul the DOB seeks to undergo as part of its Building One City program.


Can Retail Buildings Keep Doors Open with the AC on?

Though leaving the doors of an air conditioned store open may provide pedestrians with needed relief, doing so is a violation of Local Law 38 of 2008. In an effort to become a greener city, the Department of Buildings enacted the local law prohibiting commercial establishments with over 4,000 square feet of retail or wholesale space from leaving doors ajar while air conditioning or central cooling systems are on.


Is Your Building Benchmarked?

As part of its Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, New York City targets its largest buildings for annual energy benchmarking. Backed by Local Law 84, benchmarking requires covered buildings to report their annual usage of water, electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and more.


New Mandatory Cooling Tower Inspections

On August 7th, 2015 the Health Department made mandatory the inspection of all New York City cooling towers within 14 days. The inspection is the result of the recent outbreak of Legionnaires Disease pinpointed to bacteria found in cooling towers. In the last month alone, Legionnaires’ Disease has claimed 10 lives and hospitalized 100, all in the South Bronx.


Is it Legal to Open a Fire Hydrant?

Yes and no. It is illegal to open a fire hydrant by yourself. However, anyone over the age of 18 can fill out a request at their local fire station to have a fire hydrant opened. A firefighter from the station will then open and close the hydrant.


DOB Launches After Hours Inspections

The Department of Buildings launched the first phase of its After Hours Inspection Program on June 1, 2015, continuing its efforts to accelerate job approvals. The program offers after hours and weekend inspections for a fee. In addition to Inspection Ready, which equips inspectors with handheld tablets, the DOB is aiming to reduce wait times for inspections to five days by 2016. In order to meet these goals the DOB plans to hire 34 additional development inspectors.


Where Do I Sign?

Though New Yorkers may feel inundated with signage, signage is heavily regulated by the Zoning Resolution’s Use Regulations in Article 3 Section 2. The Zoning Resolution heavily regulates signage in residential districts, while commercial and manufacturing districts are generally more permissive.


Barbecue York City

You may want to check the Fire Code before you put those burgers on the grill. The New York City Fire Code allows barbecuing in very few areas.


DOB Plans its Own Renovations

The DOB recently released Building One City, its document outlining specific plans for improvements in the next year. The department is scheduled for additional $4.6 million in funding for 2016 and will seek to streamline its services, modernize its technology and take punitive measures against egregious policy violators.


DOB Works Overtime

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the DOB during normal business hours. Small Business Night, Homeowners Night and Get Back to Building are geared to alleviate the DOB’s overwhelming backlog of application and permit requests by keeping its doors open late.


Can You Put a Bathroom in Your Cellar?

In one- or two-family dwellings, an exception can be made for the ban on full bathrooms in cellars if certain requirements are met. Full bathrooms, or three-fixture bathrooms, are bathrooms containing a lavatory, a water closet and a shower or bathtub. According to Buildings Bulletin 2011-010, in order for a cellar of a one- or two-family residence to qualify for a three-fixture bathroom


Bikes in the Building

New Yorkers don’t have to lock their bikes outside the office any longer. The Department of Transportation’s Bikes in Buildings program allows tenants in commercial buildings to request bicycle access for their employees.


Balconies Exposed

The rescinded DOB memorandum on enclosed balconies (memo June 17, 1976) will make it more difficult to provide the popular amenity in New York City. In order for enclosed balconies to avoid counting toward floor area, they are required to abide by the floor area definition in New York City Zoning Resolution.


The DOB’s Rescind Bulletin

The DOB took its annual axe to a host of bulletins, directives, and TPPNs. Techinical bulletins 2014-023 and 2014-024 summarize the outgoing codes. Bulletin 2014-023 lists bulletins, TPPNs, and directives that only rescind prospectively, or for buildings under the 2014 Building Code. For a list of 2014-023’s rescinded codes click here.


Short-Term Rentals Get the 3rd Degree in NYC

Short-term apartment rentals are on the rise in New York City. According to a recent report by the Attorney General of New York Eric Schneiderman Airbnb in the City, rentals through the popular apartment rental website Airbnb increased 600% over the last four years. The report concludes that many short-term rentals are residential dwellings operating illegally as transient dwellings.


The State of the DOB

New Commissioner Rick Chandler gave a State of the DOB address at the Yale Club on December 9th, 2014. Over the last few years, the DOB has seen a boost in job and permit filings. On Tuesday, Mr. Chandler offered solutions for the DOB to streamline its operations and deal with this increase.


The Biggest Hurdle for TCO’s

Obtaining a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) is perhaps the most critical stage of the filing process for change of use projects. Without a TCO a building is not legally habitable. Many factors can prevent the acquisition of a TCO. The most critical, and often the most overlooked, is the signing off open applications with life safety work types.


Little e’s, Big Headaches

For New York City buildings, an E-designation can feel like a bad diagnosis. New York City’s Department of City Planning assigns E-designations to tax lots deemed to have hazardous materials, noise, or air quality levels below environmental requirements outlined the City Environmental Quality Review (Appendix C). An E-designation, also known as “little e,” often causes confusion for owners and frustration for design professionals.


Signs O’ the Times

The Building Department requires installation of a sidewalk shed to protect pedestrians when a building owner needs to perform repairs on a section of a buildings façade at an elevation more than 40 feet above curb level. This requirement can be problematic to the retail establishments these structures are installed directly in front of.


Sign Off or Start Over

New York City property owners in FEMA flood zones filing new alteration applications should sign off their old applications first or face the consequences.


DOB Requires New Report for Balconies

The amendment of Rule 104-03 in May of 2013 requires balcony inspections be inspected and identified by a Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI). The QEWI must submit a supplemental report indicating balconies were inspected and report a status for the balconies in the Cycle 7 report.


Flood Amendment Considers Streetscapes

New York City’s recently approved Flood Resilience Zoning Text Amendment means a host of changes for buildings in New York City’s flood zones. The centerpiece of the amendment is the imposition of the Flood-Resistant Construction Elevation (FRCE), defined as the FEMA flood elevation requirement plus the freeboard requirement as outlined in the building code.