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Pushing For Parking Safety: New Inspection Requirements for Parking Structures

The Department of Buildings (DOB) will require new special inspection requirements for parking structures this year.

Densely populated cities such as New York City are especially vulnerable to building decay, and as a fatal parking garage collapse demonstrated in April of 2023, a lapse in inspections can quickly turn an oversight into a tragedy.

In 2022 the DOB began making major strides to improve parking garage safety by creating the Periodic Inspection for Parking Structures (PIPS) program, which requires thorough inspections every 6 years. The program also requires a less comprehensive, one-time initial observation report, with deadlines that are staggered throughout 2027.

A new set of inspection reports, mandated by PIPS, revealed 115 “unsafe” parking structures—and the numbers only continue to rise as reports are filed. Although the deadline for submitting inspection reports was January 1st, thousands are yet to be submitted, and many are still under review. In light of this precarious data, the DOB has accelerated the one-time initial observation requirements for parking structures in certain districts.

Parking structures in these districts must perform an initial observation as soon as August 1, 2024.

Details and Exceptions

The types of parking structures that require inspection include the following:

  • Buildings, or portions of a building, used for parking or storing motor vehicles, including space inside or under a building
  • Open parking garages and enclosed parking garages as defined in the NYC Building Code

The initial observation requirement applies to Community Districts 8 through 12 in Manhattan, and all Community Districts in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. However, owners of parking structures in these boroughs who submit their periodic inspection reports by August 1st, 2024 will not be required to conduct the initial observation.

The following types of parking structures will not be required to perform the new inspection:

  • An autobody/automotive repair shop, an automotive showroom, or an automotive service station
  • A garage with occupancy of fewer than three cars
  • Unenclosed and unattached lots
  • Garages serving one- and two-family homes.

Late filing (any report filed after 8/1/24) will incur a $1000 fee per month. If owners don’t submit the required files by the end of the year, they will be required to pay an additional $5000 fee. Owners are encouraged to schedule inspections early to avoid risking these fees.

Periodic Inspection Requirements

Parking structures that are exempted from the stricter August 1st deadline will still be required to submit an initial observation within a certain timeframe. The report deadlines are determined by districts:

  • Manhattan Community Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 must submit reports by January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2023
  • Manhattan Community Districts 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and Brooklyn Community Districts must submit reports by January 1, 2024 - December 31, 2025
  • Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island Community Districts must submit reports by January 1, 2026 - December 31, 2027

On top of the one-time initial observation, owners must submit an in-depth PIPS report to the DOB at least once every 6 years. For more information and important dates, review the Parking Structure Staggered Filing Cycle.

Navigating the DOB’s code changes and special inspection requirements can be overwhelming! If you’re looking for more assistance, contact Outsource Special Inspections (OSI), a trusted source for special inspections in New York City since 2012. 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.