New York City Local Law 11 Inspections

Local Law 11 of 1998 was passed by the City Council of New York as a response to the highly publicized exterior wall failures that took place in the city in 1997 and 1998.

Before the Local Law 11 Inspections, New York City was under Local Law 10 of 1980. This particular law was enacted after a pedestrian was killed when a piece of masonry fell from the façade of a building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. An NYC building code was amended by the City council in order to minimize the chances of such accidents from happening again. Under the law, buildings with at least six stories above the basement were subjected to periodic inspection by licensed professional engineers.

Despite the mandate of Law 10, many accidents and exterior wall failures still occurred in the city. These events lead to the passing of Local Law 11 Inspections in March 1998.

Local Law 11 Inspections are done to assess the soundness of all facades of buildings except those which are less than 12 inches from an adjacent building. All building that have six stories or more are subject to this inspection, even if only a portion of the building is more than six stories tall.

According to the law, a licensed engineer or architect must inspect the building’s façade using binoculars and at least a scaffold drop on a street façade. This drop should be from the base of the building to the top.

The reports for Local Law 11 Inspections are to be filed with the City once every five-year cycle.

The cost for this inspection differs from each firm of engineers, architects and service providers. It also depends on the type of rig used. If the demands for rigs, sidewalk sheds and labor increase, the cost would most probably be high has well.