Author: Grace Padua
Most buildings in New York City needs repair as buildings deteriorate over time. Building owners are responsible for maintaining their own property for everyone’s safety and to stay away from fines and violations.
According to New York City Government, falling debris accidents pose serious threat to the safety of pedestrians besides being hit by a vehicle. Many incidents in New York have put everyone on notice regarding the danger of falling building debris which can cause injury/death of any pedestrian. The following are example of incidents that have been recorded so far:
- Dec 2020 – Death of a 60 year old woman being hit in the head by a plywood panel covered with aluminum from a building in Queens.
- Dec 2019 – Death of architect Erica L. Tishman due to the loose terra cotta that fell to her head while walking from a building near her office on the southeast corner of 49th St and Seventh Avenue.
- 2015 – Death of a 2-year old child who was killed when a portion of the facade of an Upper West Side building fell on her.
- 1979 – Death of a Barnard student named Grace Gold from a falling concrete of a building on a Broadway sidewalk.
To prevent these accidents related to facade collapse or falling debris, all New York City buildings of six stories or higher must undergo facade inspection every 5 years as part of the “Facade Inspection Safety Program” of the NYC government. It is the building owner’s duty to facilitate the regular inspection of their own property. Otherwise these penalties shall apply:
- Penalty for failure to file is now $5000 instead of $1000 with an extra $1000 monthly for late filing.
- Penalty for failure to address an unsafe condition is $1000 monthly and additional penalty on the size of the sidewalk shed.
- Civil Penalty of $2000 for building owners who fail to address a Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program (SWARMP) condition by the next cycle.
Penalties are going up so in order to avoid paying, be a responsible building owner!