New Obligations for New York City Parking Garage Owners
Local Law 126 of 2021 created a new Article 323 to Title 28 of the New York City Administrative Code. This new article allows the Department of Buildings to require additional inspections of existing buildings and structures to ascertain compliance with the provisions of the code. Between 2021 and 2027, inspections of parking structures in specific sections of New York City will be required. Owners of parking structures will have to arrange for their parking structures to be inspected during at least one of three designated two-year time periods, depending on the location of the parking structure. A parking structure does not include: 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 and garages serving one-and two-family homes.
On April 18, 2023, a parking garage on Ann Street in Lower Manhattan collapsed, killing one person, and injuring five others. This incident motivated the New York City Council to adopt new rules governing the inspection of parking structures in New York City. Section 103-16 of Title 1, Section 103-16, of the Rules of the City of New York sets forth these new rules, effective on October 17, 2023.
Section 103-16 implemented the following changes: 1) Prior to the first required inspection of the parking structure, the owner must have an initial observation of the parking structure performed by a qualified parking structure inspector (“QPSI”). The results of the initial observation must be filed with the Department of Buildings (“DOB”) by August 1, 2024, on the DOB’s form. If the owner, prior to August 1, 2024, files a report with the DOB showing that the parking structure is in full compliance with the rules, an initial observation report will not be required; 2) The QPSI must assess the parking structure by examining its structural components, waterproofing systems, fire proofing and fire stopping systems, wearing surfaces, type of construction, age of the material components of the structure, exposure to environmental conditions, the presence of specific details and appurtenances, and the structure’s history of maintenance and repairs; 3) The methods used to evaluate the parking structure must permit a complete examination of the parking structure; and 4) The QPSI must identify the most damaged portions of the parking structure and examine those locations. The QPSI must identify the causes of those deficiencies and advise the building owner and the DOB of any unsafe conditions.
The QPSI must be an individual who is certified to inspect parking structures by the DOB and has a minimum of three years of experience.
QPSI reports to the DOB must state one of three results Safe; Safe with Repairs and/or Engineering Monitoring (SREM); or Unsafe. A Safe rating will indicate to the DOB that no repairs are necessary. A SREM rating will indicate that the owner of the parking structure must make repairs to the applicable areas identified in the report by the start of the next inspection cycle (i.e. 6 years after the inspection is required to be completed and filed for the particular parking structure). An Unsafe rating will require the unsafe areas of the parking structure to be shut down and repaired within ninety (90) days of the date of the report.
To ensure compliance with these new rules, we recommend that the following steps be taken by the Board of Directors of a Cooperative, Board of Managers of a Condominium, their Managing Agents and individual owners of parking structures.
First, hire a qualified QPSI to inspect the parking structure. Second, find all available maintenance and repairs records showing the history of work done at the parking structure. Third, install a waterproof membrane beneath the horizontal surfaces of the parking structure to prevent moisture and de-icing agents from seeping into the concrete of the structure. Such seepage can severely damage the concrete and result in costly repairs to the parking structure. Finally, if repairs are necessary to make the parking structure safe, those repairs should be completed as soon as possible.
The inaugural reporting cycle deadlines are as follows: parking structures located in Community Districts 1 through 7, which are located on the Upper West Side (All streets between West 59th Street and Cathedral Parkway, and west of Central Park West) and South of Central Park (All streets below West and East 59th Street) must file the required inspection report by December 31, 2023.
A map of the New York City Community Districts is linked herein. Any parking structure owner in those geographic areas should retain a QPSI to inspect and complete the required report as soon as possible. The reporting for the parking structure inspection cycle starting January 1, 2024, and ending December 31, 2025, will encompass Manhattan Community Districts 8 through 12 and Brooklyn Community Districts. The reporting for the parking structure inspection cycle starting January 1, 2026, and ending December 31, 2027, will encompass the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island Community Districts. A full map of the Parking Structure Filing Cycles Map is linked herein.
If you have any questions about this issue or other matters, please feel free to contact me at 212-935-3131 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue to keep you apprised of new developments as they arise.