Facade inspection laws exist at the complex intersection of politics, economics and engineering practice. Nowhere can this be better demonstrated than in a critical examination of New York City's facade inspection laws: their development and how they are practiced. Our experience in New York City can inform the development of a Standard Practice for Periodic Inspection of Building Facades by ASTM International, as well as contribute to the development of facade inspection laws in other municipalities. In New York City, which has the oldest continually enforced facade inspection law, Local Law 10 of 1980, there are over 11,800 buildings subject to inspection. This paper will address issues related to the code mandated “critical examination” of building facades, based on 20 years of front-line experience with New York City's facade inspection laws. During the most recent inspection cycle, the author's firm performed 225 critical examinations of building facades in New York City.
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