In August 2021, Jersey City enacted a new ordinance to improve the visible structural integrity of multi-story buildings. The Jersey City Council passed Ord. 21-054 as response to the tragic events that took place involving the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida that June.
Structural Inspection Requirements
Ordinance 21-054 requires that all concrete buildings more than six (6) stories in height undergo a visual structural inspection every ten (10) years by a licensed architect or engineer.
The scope of a structural inspection includes:
- all structural members
This inspection must be conducted in accordance with rules promulgated by the Jersey City Construction Code Official or the designee. A checklist for the visual inspection of a concrete structure is provided by the city here.
The initial structural inspection in accordance with this ordinance must be completed by December 31, 2022, and thereafter by December 31st of each year in which an inspection is mandated. The property owner (which includes condominium associations, cooperative corporations, and HOA’s) is responsible for having the inspection performed and paying for it. The inspection cost is $100 per report.
Facade Inspection Requirements
Ordinance 21-054 mandates that any building more than six (6) stories or any building with a masonry facade four (4) stories or higher must undergo a facade inspection every five (5) years by a licensed architect or engineer.
The scope of the facade inspection includes but is not limited to:
- general condition
- material specific conditions
- all exterior walls
- windows and doors
Again, the inspection must be conducted in line with the requirements designated by Jersey City. A checklist of the requirements for the facade visual inspection are provided by the city here.
The initial facade inspection needs to be completed by December 31, 2023. A facade inspection must be conducted every five (5) years and is always due by December 31st of the inspection year. A complete review of the most recently prepared report is also included in the facade inspection. The property owner, as defined previously, is responsible for the cost of the initial inspection and any subsequent ones, as well as for the cost of repairs. The inspection cost is $100 per report.
Which Buildings Are Subject to Compliance?
Let’s review which buildings are subject to compliance for the requirements of the new ordinance. In short, the requirements are as follows:
- Structural inspections: All existing and future concrete buildings (commercial and residential) more than six (6) stories. initial inspection to be completed by December 31, 2022, and every ten (10) years thereafter.
- Facade inspections: All buildings that are six (6) stories or more in height, or buildings with masonry facades that are four (4) stories or more in height initial inspection to be completed by December 31, 2023, and every five (5) years thereafter.
How Does an Ordinance 21-054 Inspection Work?
Ordinance 21-054 inspections cover the visible portions of a building’s structure and facade. An inspection will not include probes, hands-on testing, or probes—it is not meant to substitute for comprehensive structural or facade investigations. Inspections are more likely to include drones or long lens camera photography to document any findings for the report.
Inspection Report Requirements
Property owners must submit written reports prepared by proper officials to the Division of the Construction Code Official within thirty (30) days of inspection that:
- certify the inspection results
- clearly document safe and unsafe conditions
- address any repair and maintenance requirements, listing a timeline for completion
What if Repairs Are Recommended?
If repairs to the building’s structure or facade are required, the property owner, its management, or other liable parties are responsible for immediately undertaking all necessary measures to guarantee public safety. All repairs must be made within the required timeline noted on the inspection report.
What Happens After Repairs Are Made?
An architect or engineer re-inspects the building and confirms if the repairs were correctly made. If the building successfully passes a re-inspection, the property owner has to file an amended report within thirty (30) days.
Owners not in compliance with the ordinance will be fined up to $2,000 as a daily penalty until the building is in compliance. If an owner remains non-compliant, they face the possibility of imprisonment or completing community service requirements, up to ninety (90) days.
Failure to correct unsafe conditions within the designated timeline, as well as any other conditions outlined in the ordinance, are considered to be a separate offense. Such cases may be subject to additional fines.
Structural Workshop has extensive experience in building inspections and working with concrete and masonry facades. Our team of experts are here to help. Give us a call today to schedule an inspection for your building: (973) 771-6970, or email us at [email protected]
For more information regarding Ord. 21-054, please visit the Jersey City website.