Building facade inspection programs are mandated by many cities in the United States to proactively identify unsafe conditions that may present a risk of causing injury or damaging property.
While the specific requirements of each city’s ordinances differ, all regulations stipulate that inspections be performed at regular intervals.
Vertical Access can assist with city-mandated inspections by using industrial rope access to gain hands-on access to building facades.
Rope access is a safe, efficient and cost-effective option for facade inspections particularly for getting to locations that would otherwise require scaffolding. Reports generated by Vertical Access for facade inspection projects include annotated drawings and photographs, as well as identification of condition priorities based on the specific facade ordinance.
Download Facade Ordinances Technical Highlight
The following cities have mandatory facade ordinance laws.
- Boston, MA
- Chicago, IL
- Cincinnati, OH
- Cleveland, OH
- Columbus, OH
- Detroit, MI
- Milwaukee, WI
- New York, NY
- Philadelphia, PA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- St. Louis, MO
- San Francisco, CA
- Quebec, CANADA
Buildings over 70 feet in height, classified as high-rise structures, or greater than 35,000 cubic feet must be inspected every 5 years (yearly for unoccupied buildings) by a registered architect or engineer.
Inspection of Exterior Walls and Appurtenances of Buildings Requiring Periodic Inspection
City of Boston Municipal Code Ordinance 9.9-12
website: Inspectional Services Department
Buildings 80 feet tall or more must be inspected. The frequency of the inspections varies between 4 and 12 years, based on the assigned category of the building.
Maintenance of high rise exterior walls and enclosures (pdf)
website: City of Chicago Department of Buildings Exterior Wall Program
Buildings of 5 stories or more that have a completed construction date of 15 years or more must be inspected by a registered architect or engineer according to an inspection schedule of 8 or 12 years, based on the assigned category of the building.
website: Cincinnati Code of Ordinances
Structures that are at least 30 years old and 5 stories or 75 feet tall must undergo an exterior inspection every 5 years.
Exterior Wall and Appurtenances Inspections
website: Building and Housing Ordinances
Buildings more than 20 years old and located withing 10 feet of a public right-of-way, pedestrian walkway or plaza, excepting residential buildings up to 3 stories, must be inspected every 5 years. Those located in a designated downtown area must be inspected by a registered architect or engineer.
Chapter 4109.073 / Ordinance 1296-85
Exterior Walls and Appurtenant Structures
website: Critical Observation Report
Buildings 5 stories or greater in height must be inspected by a qualified person every five years.
Ordinance 15-88, Section 9-1-35
Inspection and Certification of Cornices and Other Projections attached to Buildings
website: Buildings and Safety Engineering Department
Buildings of 5 or more stories and more than 15 years old must be inspected by a registered architect or engineer. The frequency of the inspections varies between 5 and 12 years, based on the assigned category of the building.
Building Maintenance – Chapter 275 Secion 32-13
website: Department of Neighborhood Services
NEW YORK, NY
Buildings of 6 or more stories, including basements, must be inspected by a registered architect or engineer every five years. Vertical Access holds two special rigger licenses with the NYC Department of Buildings and partner Kelly Streeter, P.E., is a registered Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI).
website: New York City Department of Buildings: Facade Inspection & Safety Program
Buildings of 6 or more stories or with any appurtenance over 60 feet tall must be inspected by a registered architect or engineer every 5 years.
website: City of Phildelphia – Department of Licenses and Inspections
All buildings and structures shall be inspected by a licensed professional engineer or registered architect to determine the structural soundness of items covered in Sections 304.8, 304.9 and 304.11 of the property maintenance code. All inspections made prior to the adoption of this code shall continue on their previous schedule at five year intervals.
Property Maintenance Code of the City of Pittsburgh, Chapter 1004
website: Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections
ST. LOUIS, MO
Buildings of 6 or more stories must be inspected every five years.
St. Louis City Ordinance 68791
website: Building Division
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Buildings of 5 or more stories must be inspected periodically by a licensed architect or engineer.
San Francisco Building Code Ordinance No. 67-16
website: San Francisco Department of Building Inspection
All buildings of 5 or more stories must be inspected by a licensed architect or engineer every 5 years.
website: Facades – Maintenance and Inspection