Local Law 11 / Facade Inspection & Safety Program (FISP)

As experts in façade restoration and repair, CEA Architects is also heavily involved in Local Law 11/FISP work.  Please review the following information to learn more about the FISP program.

What is Local Law 11/FISP?

New York City Local Law 11 requires a Façade Inspection & Safety Program (FISP) for the protection and safety of the public from unmaintained buildings.
The law and inspection program resulted from the tragic death of Grace Gold in 1979, when a piece of masonry killed Grace at Columbia University.

Who Qualifies for FISP?

The FISP program requires NYC buildings that are higher than six (6) stories to have their exterior facades, balconies, and other appurtenances inspected every five (5) years by a Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI).

How Does FISP Work?


Owners of buildings above six stories must register their building with the Department of Building’s (DOB) façade unit.  Registration and reporting can be completed on DOB’s online portal, DOB Now: Safety.

Hire a QEWI

Hire our CEA Architects QEWI, to inspect your building and submit the FISP report with the DOB.  The QEWI will provide you with a proposal for the work.

The QEWI will need your FISP report from the previous cycle before inspecting the building for the new cycle.


Access will be required for a QEWI to perform the FISP inspection.  FISP inspections require 1-2 hands-on inspections on street-facing facades and will need inspection at facades facing areas residents or the public access, such as courtyards.  Sometimes inspections can be done by existing fire escapes, however oftentimes additional access will be required.  The owner will need to hire a contractor to provide scaffolding for the inspection.  The QEWI can assist the owner with getting a scaffolding proposal from a contractor.  An alternative for some buildings is utilize rope access instead of scaffolding (learn more here).

FISP Examination and Report

The FISP Critical Examination consists of visual observations of all exterior walls, with additional close-up examination of at least one representative full-height portion of a street-facing façade. The QEWI determines the necessary extent of the examination. The examination also includes all balconies, railings, fire escape stairs, and any other appurtenances on the building’s façades. The close-up examination can be performed from a suspended scaffold, house rig, boom lift, or other viable means of access. The rigger would need to file a CD5 Application with the NYCDOB to permit use of a suspended scaffold.

Based on the findings of the examination, the QEWI’s Critical Examination report classifies a building’s façades into one of three categories:

SAFE: The building’s façades do not have any conditions that would cause them to be classified as SWARMP or UNSAFE. A SAFE classification means that, in the judgment of the QEWI, the building will not become UNSAFE during the next five years.

Safe With Repair and Maintenance Program (SWARMP): The building’s façades have at least one condition which, although SAFE at the time of the inspection, if not repaired within a the timeframe specified by the QEWI, may deteriorate into an UNSAFE condition. If a SWARMP condition is not addressed prior to filing the next cycle’s report, it automatically becomes an UNSAFE condition in that next cycle.

UNSAFE: The building’s façades have at least one condition which is either an immediate hazard to the public or, if not repaired within 12 months, will pose a hazard to the public. If an USAFE condition is observed that is hazardous at the time of the inspection, the QEWI must notify the NYCDOB and the owner immediately using a FISP-3 (Notification of Unsafe Conditions) Form. The owner is obligated to install measures to protect the public, such as a sidewalk shed.

UNSAFE conditions are expected to be repaired within 30 days, however, a series of time extensions, each up to 90 days, is usually granted by the NYCDOB if an owner is making a real effort to address the conditions. Requests for extensions of time are made using FISP-1 (Initial Extension of Time Request) and FISP-2 (Additional Extension of Time Request) Forms.

When an UNSAFE report has been filed, the NYCDOB will usually send an inspector to verify the extent of the UNSAFE conditions, and confirm that adequate safety measures have been provided to protect the public. The inspector will also look at the progress of the repairs undertaken to address the conditions. Even if the measures are in-place and the work is progressing, the inspector may issue a NYCDOB violation for “failure to maintain.” If protection measures are not in-place, the NYCDOB may issue more severe penalties.

FISP Filing Timeframes

During every 5-year cycle, there are three FISP filing window sub-cycles, each a two-year duration staggered by one year. A building’s sub-cycle is arbitrarily assigned by the last digit of the its NYCDOB Block Number. The close-up examination must be performed within one year of filling the report, and the visual examination within 60 days of filing the report.

The FISP reports are prepared and filed electronically on-line via the DOB NOW Safety portal. In-person filing of hard copies of the FISP report is no longer an option. The DOB NOW system requires that both the QEWI and Building Owner are registered in advance with NYCDOB.

The tables below specify the timeframes for cycle 8 and cycle 9 filing.


CEA Architects - Local Law 11 Nyc


CEA Architects - Local Law 11 Nyc

Initial FISP Filing for New Building

For a new building greater than six stories, or an alteration of an existing building that involves a vertical enlargement to a height greater than six stories, an initial Critical Examination Report must be filed in the next applicable FISP Cycle that occurs on the fifth anniversary of the first Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO). If the fifth anniversary occurs during that building’s applicable sub-cycle filing window, the building must file at that time.

CEA Architects - Local Law 11 Nyc

We Can Help!

CEA Architects has assisted clients for many years on all aspects of the FISP process, helping owners remain in compliance with the NYCDOB façade safety requirements. Our services include the FISP critical examination itself, along with all of the required follow-on work, including preparing contract documents for the repairs, assisting in bidding and negotiation with qualified contractors, and performing construction phase services.

Over the years, we have established an excellent working relationship with the NYCDOB and the Façades Unit, and have served as consultants on a number of efforts aimed at improving the Façade Inspection and Safety Program for all the stakeholders.

To arrange for a FISP examination, or if you have any questions regarding the process, contact our office on 212 201 9000 or email info@https://ceaarchitects.com.

For More Information:

Click here to learn more about the FISP program.

Click here for the Building Owner Manual and click here for the Owner’s Representative Manual.