The New York City Department of Buildings requires Special Inspections in NYC to be conducted for all construction projects as of the 2008 NYC Building Code. Special Inspections are conducted to ensure construction work is completed in accordance with all applicable building codes, NYC Department of Building approved plans and specifications. Special Inspections must be conducted by an NYC DOB registered Special Inspection Agency. No other signoffs will be valid after May 13, 2013. A TR-1 sign-off requiring Special Inspections cannot be processed without a Special Inspections Agency.
A brief history of Special Inspections:
- Special Inspection first appeared in the 1961 edition of the Uniform Building Code.
- In 1984, the US House Sub-Committee on Science and Technology presented a report on structural failures that called out the need for improved communications during the construction process and inspection. In 1988, BOCA National Building Code introduced Special Inspection requirements.
- The 2008 NYC Building Code replaced Controlled Inspections with 45 Special Inspections and 8 Progress Inspections, with more stringent standards for inspectors and Special Inspection Agencies.
- In the 2014 NYC Building Code, 5 new inspections were added and 16 were renamed.
When are Special Inspections needed?
Excluding these exemptions, if performing work in NYC, your project will most likely require Special Inspections:
- Special Inspections are not required for work of a minor nature as defined by the local building official or as warranted by conditions in the jurisdiction as approved by the building official.
- Special Inspections are not required for building components unless the design involves the practice of professional engineering or architecture as defined by applicable state statutes and regulations governing the professional registration and certification of engineers or architects.
- Plumbing and fire alarm systems are exempt from Special Inspection requirements.
- Unless otherwise required by the building official, Special Inspections are not required for Group U occupancies that are accessory to a residential occupancy.
The structure of a Special Inspections agency:
- The Director signs compliance forms and supervises inspections and the inspections process.
- The Director performs Special Inspections and is responsible for the performance of inspections by personnel under the required qualifications.
- Inspectors either have Primary Inspector Qualifications or meet alternate qualifications (those required with supervision). A further description of required qualifications can be found in RCNY 101-06
What is the IAS?
Alan Margolin & Associates is an accredited Class One Special Inspections Agency by the International Accreditation Service, known as the IAS. A subsidiary of the International Code Council, IAS provides objective evidence that an organization operates at the highest level of ethical, legal and technical standards. Worldwide demand for reliable and safe products and services makes accreditation a necessity. Since 1975, IAS has set the standards for accreditation by providing rigorous criteria for compliance and continued oversight of its accredited agencies. We are one of the first agencies in the NYC metro area permitted to perform Special Inspections.
Registered NYC Class 1, 2, and 3 Special Inspection Agencies
An agency registered as a Class One Special Inspection Agency for a Special Inspection category will be permitted to perform the work associated with such special inspection category on any project. Accreditation is required for this class.
An agency registered as a Class Two Special Inspection Agency for a special inspection category will be permitted to perform the work associated with such special inspection category on any project, except those involving:
- 1. The construction of a new major building;
- 2. The full demolition of a major building;
3. The alteration of a major building including;
- 1. The removal of an entire story or more;
- 2. The partial demolition of twenty thousand (20,000) square feet or more of gross floor area; or
- 3. The partial demolition of twenty (20) percent or more of the gross floor area.
- 4. the enlargement of a major building by more ten thousand (10,000) square feet of gross floor area.
Major building defined in 2014 NYC BC Chapter 33, Section 3302:
An existing or proposed building 10 or more stories or 125 feet or more in height, or an existing or proposed building with a building footprint of 100,000 square feet or more regardless of height, or an existing, or proposed building so designated by the commissioner due to unique hazards associated with the construction or demolition of the structure.
An agency registered as a Class Three Special Inspection Agency for a special inspection category will be permitted to perform the work associated with this category on the following projects only:
- 1. The construction, demolition, or alteration of a one-, two-, pr three-family dwelling; or
- 2. The alteration of any building, including partial demolition, of less than ten thousand (10,000) square feet of gross floor area in total.
Exception: The special inspection categories of underpinning, mechanical means and method of demolition, and the protection of the sides of excavations greater than ten (10) feet in depth must be performed only by special inspection agencies registered as either class 1 or class 2 special inspection agencies for such categories.