Local Law 126: New York City Parking Structure Inspections
Local Law 126 (LL 126) mandates periodic assessment of all parking structures within the five boroughs of New York City every six years to ensure they’re maintained in a safe condition. Owners are responsible for the proper inspection, repair, and maintenance of their parking structures, which must be examined by a Qualified Parking Structure Inspector (QPSI), and a report filed with the DOB.
LL 126 is similar in form to the DOB’s Facade Inspection & Safety Program (FISP), also known as Local Law 11 (LL 11).
The law comprises a section of the NYC Administrative Code (1 RCNY 103-13) fleshed out in a rule promulgated by the DOB.
LL 126 took effect on January 1, 2022. The first inspection reports are due by the end of 2023.
The content of the tabs below will help you understand LL 126 and what it means for your parking structure.
Qualified Parking Structure Inspectors (QPSIs)
Assessments must be conducted by a Qualified Parking Structure Inspector (QPSI)—a Professional Engineer with at least three years of parking structure experience. QPSIs are certified by the NYC DOB Parking Structures Unit.
Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and three years of relevant experience, or individuals with five years of relevant building experience, working under the QPSI’s direct supervision, may be delegated to perform selected inspection tasks other than the final inspection.
Time Frames / Deadlines
Assessments must be conducted at least once every six years, and after each notification of an UNSAFE condition. Initial Condition Assessments for new parking structures are to be conducted in the second year following the issuance of the initial Certificate of Occupancy (CO), or Temporary CO.
The owner’s retained QPSI must submit a written report to the DOB within 60 days of completing the Condition Assessment, but not more than six years from the submission of the preceding Condition Assessment report, certifying the results of the assessment.
The map and table below will help you determine when your assessment and report are due.
Classification of Observed Conditions
Based on conditions observed during the QPSI’s assessment, parking structures are classified as:
- IMMEDIATELY UNSAFE. This requires immediate notification to the DOB, installation of safeguards, and commencement of repairs.
- SREM: Safe with Repair and/or Engineering Monitoring (by a registered design professional) with a subsequent assessment occurring no more than three years from the initial inspection. SREM reports cannot be filed for the same parking structure for two consecutive filing periods, unless the second report contains the QPSI’s attestation that all defects identified in the prior report have been corrected.
LL 126 defines “Parking Structure” as any space for parking or storing motor vehicles, other than an unenclosed outdoor lot, 1- or 2-car garage, or auto service station or showroom.
There are three main components of LL 126’s assessment requirements:
1) The Initial Condition Assessment for a new parking structure must be conducted in the second year following the completion of a parking structure or as otherwise prescribed by rule as evidenced by the issuance date of a temporary or final certificate of occupancy. Existing parking structures shall have an initial condition assessment performed by an approved agency (e.g., SUPERSTRUCTURES). During this assessment, the approved agency shall develop and provide to the parking structure owner or owner’s authorized agent an annual observation checklist containing minimum requirements and elements to be inspected as part of the required annual observation.
2) Subsequent Condition Assessments. Condition Assessments shall be conducted at intervals specified in the rules of the Department. Subsequent Condition Assessments shall include a complete review of the most recently prepared Condition Assessment report, owner’s annual inspection checklists since the last Condition Assessment, inspection of structural elements, and a structural assessment.
3) An Annual Parking Structure Observation shall be performed by the parking structure owner or owner’s authorized agent at intervals specified in the annual observation checklist, but not less than once a year after the owner receives the most recent Condition Assessment report. The observation shall include, at a minimum, observation of the items included on the annual observation checklist provided or verified by the approved agency during the most recent Condition Assessment. Copies of all annual observation checklists completed since the last Condition Assessment shall be maintained at the parking structure.
A Condition Assessment of a parking structure and its appurtenances must be performed by or under the direct supervision of a QPSI retained by the owner of the structure. During the first Condition Assessment, the QPSI develops an annual observation checklist containing baseline items to be inspected during subsequent annual observations conducted between Condition Assessments.
Before the inspection, the QPSI must consider the structure’s history of maintenance and repairs, reviewing the most recent compliance report and any available previous reports, all annual observation checklists for the prior cycle, any available structural design or repair drawings, violations, and FISP reports, where applicable.
The QPSI must design a condition assessment program for the specific structure in question, which must include inspection methods to be employed in the assessment. The program must be based on the considerations of the type of construction of the parking structure, age of the material components, the parking structure’s specific exposure to environmental conditions, and the presence of specific details and appurtenances.
The methods used to evaluate the parking structure in question must permit a complete physical examination of the structure, including: load tests, optical survey, non-invasive scanning, and cores. The QPSI must identify the most deleterious locations and perform physical examinations at those locations. Physical examinations must be performed on a minimum of 10% of each structural element including beams, columns, and slabs.
The known history of the parking structure, the nature of the materials used, and the conditions observed will dictate the extent of the Condition Assessment. The QPSI must apply a professional standard of care to assess the structure’s condition and the individual building systems that comprise the structure including the building’s structural components, waterproofing systems, fire proofing and fire stopping systems, and wearing surfaces.
When the QPSI finds any deficiencies, he/she must ascertain their cause. The QPSI must order any special or additional inspections, probes, and/or tests, including sounding procedures, that may be required to support the Condition Assessment and to determine the causes of any defects.
Photographs must be taken, sketches made, and/or any other methods of documentation utilized to properly document the location of all conditions observed during the Condition Assessment, that are either UNSAFE or SREM.
Upon discovery of any UNSAFE condition, the QPSI must immediately notify the DOB and the owner of the parking structure. The QPSI must identify the location of any UNSAFE condition, advise the owner on the appropriate protective measures to be taken, and include the recommended type and location of public protection in the notification to the DOB.
Completion of a Condition Assessment means that the QPSI has conducted a final inspection to determine that the parking structure conditions as described in the compliance report are consistent with the actual conditions. Such final inspection must, at a minimum, include an actual visual assessment and a complete walkthrough of each level dedicated to parking.
UNSAFE or SREM: Required Actions
Whenever a representative of an approved agency learns of an UNSAFE condition through a
Condition Assessment, he/she must notify the owner and the DOB immediately. A compliance report shall be filed after each UNSAFE notification. Whenever an owner or an owner’s authorized agent observes an UNSAFE condition during annual observations—or at any other time between assessments—the owner shall notify the DOB immediately and undertake repairs.
Upon the notification to the DOB of an UNSAFE condition, the owner or the owner’s authorized agent shall immediately secure public safety by removing the UNSAFE condition or safeguarding the area. The owner shall then engage an approved agency to conduct a Condition Assessment and file a compliance report.
1. The owner shall commence repairs, reinforcements, or other measures to make the structural
elements of the parking structure conform to the provisions of this code.
2. All UNSAFE conditions shall be corrected within 90 days of filing of the Condition Assessment
3. The approved agency shall reinspect the premises and file an Amended Report within two
weeks after the repairs have been completed certifying that the UNSAFE conditions have been corrected.
4. The DOB may grant an extension of time of up to 90 days to complete the repairs
required to correct an UNSAFE condition upon receipt and review of an initial extension application submitted by the approved agency together with such additional documentation as
may be prescribed by rule.
5. The DOB may grant further extensions of time to complete the repairs required to remove an UNSAFE condition upon receipt and review of an application for a further extension submitted by the approved agency together with such further documentation as may be prescribed by rule.
Safe with Repair and/or Engineering Monitoring (SREM): A parking structure or any part thereof that may pose a potential danger to persons or property but does not require immediate action shall be rated SREM. This condition requires further investigation and timely remedial action to prevent its deterioration into an UNSAFE condition. A registered design professional shall be responsible for appropriately monitoring the structure until the repair is completed.
SREM assessment requirements: When the results of an initial assessment indicate a parking structure is SREM, the structure shall be subsequently assessed no more than three years from the date of the Initial Assessment and an Amended Report filed with the DOB.
The LL 126 Compliance Report issued by the QPSI must contain:
- Building address, Block and Lot number, Building Identification Number (BIN), landmark status, and owner contact information
- Building description, including size, dimensions, usage, age, type of construction, materials, and structural systems.
- A summary of findings and recommendations.
- Classification of the structure as SAFE, SREM, or UNSAFE.
- Description, classification, and mapping of every significant condition, classifying each as SAFE, SREM, or UNSAFE.
- Description of any distress, repairs, or modifications.
- Procedures used in assessing conditions.
- Extent and location of physical examinations, contractor contact information, a location diagram, and date of the assessment.
- Recommendations for public protection (for UNSAFE conditions).
- Photographs of SREM and UNSAFE conditions, keyed to locator drawings, plus photos of each elevation and parking level.
- Evaluation of guards and railings for positive securement.
- Analysis of causes of observed SREM and UNSAFE conditions.
- Maintenance work to-date and a maintenance plan.
- An annual observation checklist.
- Proposed monitoring program for SREM parking structures.
- Recommendations for repairs or maintenance.
- Timeframe by which repairs must be performed.
- Work permits that may be required.
- Seal and signature of supervising QPSI.
Reports cannot be filed describing the same condition at the same location as SREM for two consecutive filing cycles. If a previous SREM condition remains uncorrected, the QPSI must classify the parking structure as UNSAFE.
Reports are filed with the DOB by the QPSI via email, together with a filing fee.
Reports of annual observations are to be maintained at the parking structure (similar to displaying elevator certificates).
Amended and Subsequent Reports
An Amended Report is filed to update the status of a building for which an UNSAFE initial Compliance Report had been filed. The Amended Report will indicate the structure is either SAFE or SREM, based on whether the UNSAFE condition has been successfully repaired (SAFE) or simply stabilized (SREM).
Filing Fees and Penalties
Initial Reports: $305
Amended and Subsequent Reports: $85
Application for an Extension of Time to complete repairs (for each 90-day extension): $65
Failure to file an Initial Report on time incurs a penalty of $1,000 per month until the report is filed. Failure to file overall incurs a penalty $5,000 per year (in addition to the monthly $1,000).
UNSAFE conditions not corrected within 90 days incur a penalty of $1,000 per month until the condition is fixed and an Amended Report is filed (unless an extension has been granted).
Allowing a SREM condition to become UNSAFE will incur a $2,000 penalty.
Waivers may be requested when change in ownership, a state of emergency, bankruptcy, or demolition preclude compliance.
In 2015, a two-level parking structure in Johnson City, NY partially collapsed. Fortunately, there were no fatalities, but nearly two dozen vehicles were trapped under concrete rubble. This and other collapses in the state underscored the need for a proactive program of parking structure condition assessment and reporting.
In 2018, New York State enacted a rule requiring periodic condition assessments, performed by a Professional Engineer, of all parking structures state-wide—except in New York City. Subsequently, NYC developed its own rules for keeping parking structures safe and well-maintained.
In 2021, the City Council enacted a major revision to the NYC Construction Codes, including a new section (Article 323) mandating parking structure inspections—promulgated by the Department of Buildings (DOB) as Local Law 126. The law took effect on January 1, 2022.