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Special Inspection Agency FAQs

Topics
Compliance
Registration
NYC Business Addresses
Insurance Requirements 
Accreditation
Statement of Inspection (TR1)
 
The Special Inspection Rule Amendment (1 RCNY § 101-06)

Compliance

Question: Can a registered design professional (PE or RA) perform Special Inspections?

Answer: Yes, however each Special Inspection type has specific qualification requirements. These qualifications are listed in Appendix A of the Special Inspection rule, 1 RCNY 101-06

Question: When did special inspections replace controlled inspections?

Answer: Special inspections have been mandatory for all construction jobs whose applications were submitted on or after July 1, 2008.

Question: Are progress inspections the same as special inspections?

Answer: No. Progress inspections are defined in BC 109 and 1 RCNY 101-07 Special inspections are defined in BC 17 and 1 RCNY 101-06 1 RCNY 101-06. When it is specified by the Code, Progress Inspectors are required to verify that Special Inspections were performed and that work has been substantially completed.

Question: What is the difference between a progress inspections and a Special Inspection?

Answer: Progress inspections are performed during the progress of work to verify substantial compliance with the Code and with approved construction documents; these are specified throughout the Construction Codes as progress inspections.

By contrast, Special Inspections are inspections of selected materials, equipment, installation, fabrication, erection or placement of components and connections; these inspections confirm compliance with approved construction documents and referenced standards required by NYC Building Code Chapter 19 (elsewhere in the Building Code or its referenced standards).

Question: Can the design professional of record perform Special Inspections for a project (s)he designed?

Answer: Yes, as long the design professional is working for a registered Special Inspection Agency and long as being the design professional of record is not a conflict of interest. The registered design professional of record must not engage in any activities that may conflict with his/her objective judgment and integrity.

Question: If a design firm performs Special Inspections and registers as a Special Inspection Agency, does it need to form a separate business entity?

Answer: No, a separate business entity is not required, though it is an option.

Question: Can someone serve as the director for multiple Special Inspection Agencies?

Answer: No, the Special Inspection rule prohibits anyone from serving as a director of more than one agency. Per §(c)(6): “…directors must not be retained by any other agency that provides special inspection or testing services.”

Question: Can someone serve as a director for a Special Inspection Agency and be a Special Inspector for a different agency?

Answer: No, the Special Inspection rule prohibits a director from working at multiple agencies performing special inspections. Per §(c)(6): “…directors must not be retained by any other agency that provides special inspection or testing services.”

Question: Under Special Inspection rule (1 RCNY §101-06)§(c)(6), what is “full-time” when pertaining to primary and alternate directors?

Answer: “Full-time” means that the primary and alternate directors must: 1) be available to the Department at all times for all inquiries regarding special inspections performed by the Special Inspection Agency; 2) have no other conflicts that would interfere with meeting and providing adequate and timely responses to the Department; 3) provide supervision as defined by Section (a) of the Special Inspection rule; and 4) have no other conflicts that would interfere with providing such supervision. Part-time primary and alternate directors do not have to satisfy this last requirement.

Reference:With respect to a director of a Special Inspection Agency, supervision will mean oversight and responsible control by a registered design professional who must ensure that qualified inspectors are dispatched for special inspections, that such special inspectors properly document their activities, and that reports and logs are prepared in accordance with section 28-114.2 of the Administrative Code. Such supervision will include ensuring training and/or education necessary to qualify the special inspector for his or her duties, including continued training and education necessary to keep pace with developing technology.”)

Question: Can a class 2 or class 3 Special Inspection Agency inspect work in a major building?

Answer: Yes, but a class 2 or class 3 Special Inspection Agency cannot perform inspections for work requiring a class 1 agency. See 1 RCNY 101-06 Sectin (c)(2)(ii) for types of work which require a class 1 Special Inspection Agency.

Class 3 agencies are limited to (1) inspections involving the construction, demolition, or alteration of a one-, two-, or three-family dwelling or (2) inspections of less than 10,000 square feet of gross floor area in total and may not perform inspections involving underpinning, mechanical means and methods of demolition, or the protection of the sides of excavations greater than 10 feet in depth.

Registration

Question: When does registration begin?

Answer: Registration to become a Special Inspection Agency began on May 14, 2012.

Question: When is the registration deadline?

Answer: Registration deadline for the 2008 special inspection categories is May 13, 2013 (see 1 §RCNY 101-06 (effective May 13, 2012) and Executive Order 4/12). The registration deadline for the special inspection categories introduced in the 2014 NYC Construction Codes is October 1, 2014.

Question: What are the special inspection categories introduced in the 2014 Construction Codes?

Answer: See Buildings Bulletin 2014-017. The special inspection categories introduced in the 2014 Construction Codes are as follows:

  • Mastic and Intumescent Fire-resistant Coatings (BC 1704.12);
  • High Temperature Hot Water Piping (Welding) (BC 1704.18);
  • Post-Installed Anchors (BC 1704.32); and
  • Raising and Moving of a Building (BC 1704.20.5)

Question: Where do I go to register online to become a Special Inspection Agency?

Answer: Go to the Applications and Permits page under the Development link on the Department’s website. Scroll down and click "Click Here to Register" under the Updates/Special Inspectors & Inspection Agencies heading. This is the specific address: https://a810-efiling.nyc.gov/eRenewal/SIARegistration.

Question: Where can I learn more about how to register to become a Special Inspection Agency?

Answer: Read the Special Inspection Agency Registration User Guide.

Question: What kinds of inspections can my agency register for?

Answer: Your agency may register for all inspection types your agency is qualified to perform. The types of inspections and their qualifications are listed 1 RCNY 101-06, Appendix A.

Question: Can my agency perform Special Inspections if I am not a New York State-licensed professional engineer or registered architect?

Answer: Yes, your agency may register to perform special inspections – as long as the agency employs NYC-licensed trade professional (Class A and Class B Master Fire Suppression Piping Contractor electrician; Class A and Class B Oil Burner Equipment Installer; or Master Plumber) meeting the qualifications per 1 RCNY 101-06 Appendix A. Agencies and inspectors must be in good standing with the Department.

Question: Can my agency register to be a Class 1 Special Inspection Agency for some inspections and a Class 2 or Class 3 Special Inspection Agency for other inspections on the same registration form?

Answer: Yes. However, underpinning, mechanical demolition and excavation special inspections can only be performed by Class 1 or Class 2 Special Inspection Agencies. (Class 1 Special Inspection Agencies must be accredited.)

Question: When uploading my supporting documentation, I am asked for my Temporary Reference number. Where do I find this?

Answer: Your Temporary Reference Number is on the bottom of the PDF version of your SIA1: Special Inspection Agency Form or in the confirmation email you received after successfully submitting your online form. (Note: This number is not your Special Inspection Agency number and cannot be used as proof that you are registered with the Department as a Special Inspection Agency.)

Question: How do I change the number or type of inspections my agency is permitted to perform after it has been approved to be a Special Inspection Agency?

Answer: Once you have submitted your application to the Department, your registration will be processed with the inspections indicated on the submitted form. If you would like to change inspections to your original registration, you must complete a paper SIA1: Special Inspection Agency Form on the licensing forms page of the Department’s website, check the change box, complete all the required fields and resubmit your application to the Licensing Unit.

Question: How do I switch my registration to another registration class?

Answer: To make changes to your SIA registration, please complete the following:

  • Complete the SIA1 form:
    • Indicate “Change” in section 1.
    • Complete section 2 (provide SIA#), 3, 4 and 11 (all registered directors must provide signature and seal).
  • Complete the SIA1 Registration Cover Sheet:
    • Complete all sections.
    • Section 2. If adding new special inspection categories, calculate change fee and make check for the appropriate amount payable to “Department of Buildings”. If you are not adding new special inspection categories, indicate “No new categories” on line (A).
  • On Company letter head provide an explanation of the registration changes being requested.
  • Please submit all documents and check (if applicable) to the address listed in Section 4 of the SIA1 Registration Cover Sheet.

Question: Is there a fee to change the type or number of inspections my agency is registered to perform?

Answer: There is no change fee, but there is a $35 fee for each inspection added to the original registration.

Question: Can I publish my Special Inspection Agency number on promotional materials?

Answer: Yes. This is encouraged.

Question: Is there a period where Special Inspections may be performed without a registered Special Inspection Agency?

Answer: Special inspections for projects permitted after May 13, 2013 must be performed by a registered Special Inspection Agency. However, Special Inspections for projects permitted before May 13, 2013 do not have to be performed by a registered Special Inspection Agency. (Please note: Executive Order 4/12 extended the original registration deadline from November 13, 2012 to May 13, 2013)

Question: When am I required to be registered a Special Inspection Agency to perform Special Inspections?

Answer: Agencies wishing to perform special inspections are required to be registered with the Department by May 13, 2013. (Please note: Executive Order 4/12 extended the original registration deadline from November 13, 2012 to May 13, 2013)

Question: Are Special Inspectors required to register with the Department?

Answer: No, only Special Inspection Agencies are required to register with the Department.

Question: Does the Department maintain a list of registered Special Inspection Agencies?

Answer: No. However, one can use the Buildings Information System to search for and verify that a Special Inspection Agency is registered by searching the name and number of the agency or its directors.

Question: Can I contact someone for assistance with my registration?

Answer: Yes, email registration questions to SIAregistration@buildings.nyc.gov. You may also email the Licensing Unit at LicensingDOB@buildings.nyc.gov or visit us the Department’s headquarters at 280 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10007.

NYC Business Addresses

Question: Must my agency maintain a New York City address to perform Special Inspections?

Answer: An agency must have a New York City address or be registered with the New York State Secretary of State as an agent for domestic or authorized foreign entity. To learn more about registering with the Secretary of State, visit www.dos.state.ny.us/

Question: When registering to become a Special Inspection Agency, I am prompted to upload proof of my agency’s New York City address, but my agency is not located in New York City. What do I do?

Answer: An agency must have a New York City address to become a registered Special Inspection Agency. Your agency can also register with the NYS Secretary of State as an agent for domestic or authorized foreign entity. If your agency is registered with the NYS Secretary of State as an agent for domestic or authorized foreign entity, upload the proof of filing receipt from the NYS Secretary of State.

Question: I am an out-of-state company conducting business in New York City. How do I satisfy the requirement where I am asked to provide proof of my agency’s New York City address?

Answer: To satisfy this requirement, a foreign business corporation may apply for authority to do business in New York State by filing an Application for Authority pursuant to Section 1304 of the Business Corporation Law with the Secretary of State. Upload your filing receipt from the Department of State into this section.

Question: What constitutes proof of a NYC business address?

Answer: A utility bill (electric, water, gas, etc.), lease, or deed is sufficient proof of your agency’s NYC address.

Insurance Requirements

Question: I am a Master Plumber. Do I need general liability insurance to perform Special Inspections?

Answer: Yes, but since general liability insurance is required to become a licensed Master Plumber, you have already satisfied this requirement and need not purchase additional general liability insurance.

Question: I am a registered design professional. Do I need general liability insurance to perform Special Inspections?

Answer: No. Registered design professional are required to carry professional liability insurance, which satisfies this requirement.

Question: Must I obtain workers compensation insurance to perform Special Inspections?

Answer: All companies operating with and/or employing more than one individual must obtain workers compensation insurance in order to perform Special Inspections. This insurance is not required if: 1) you are an individual or sole proprietor; you have a partner, but no employees; or 2) your company has one or two corporate officers with no employees.

Question: Can my company be exempt or waive workers compensation Insurance to perform Special Inspections?

Answer: A waiver may only be obtained if your company has no employees. This waiver can be obtained through the Workers Compensation Board by completing a Request for WC/DB Exemption (Form CE-200) on the Worker Compensation Board’s website at www.wcb.ny.gov/.

Accreditation

Question: If I am a Class 2 or 3 Special Inspection Agency am I required to be accredited?

Answer: No, only Class 1 Special Inspection Agencies are required to be accredited.

Question: Does my agency need to be accredited for all Special Inspection categories for which my agency is registered?

Answer: No. You only need to be accredited for the Special Inspections categories that are registered as a Class 1 Special Inspection Agency.

Question: When is my agency required to be accredited?

Answer: Special inspection agencies registered for the special inspection categories introduced in the 2014 NYC Construction Codes and registered as a Class 1 special inspection agency w required to be accredited by October 1, 2015. All other Class 1 special inspection agencies were required to obtain accreditation by May 13, 2013. Projects permitted before this date do not need to be inspected by accredited Class 1 Special Inspection Agencies.

Question: Once my agency is accredited, is the Special Inspection Agency number provided by the accrediting body my SIA number?

Answer: No. The Special Inspection Agency number is the number issued by the Department once the Department has approved your agency’s registration.

Question: Are there other acceptable accrediting agencies similar to the International Accreditation Service (IAS)? If so, where can I find a list of them or more info?

Answer: Please reference the List of Recognized Accredited Bodies.

Statement of Inspection (TR1)

Question: When do I need to include my Special Inspection Agency number on the TR1 form?

Answer: Beginning May 13, 2013, include your Special Inspection Agency number on TR1 forms,

Question: Who signs the TR1 form?

Answer: The Special Inspection Agency’s primary director or any of its alternate directors who are listed on the valid registration.

The Special Inspection Rule Amendment (1 RCNY § 101-06)

Question: When did the amendment to the Special Inspection Rule become effective?

Answer: The first amendment was published in the City Record on April 13, 2012 and became effective on May 13, 2012. Registration began on May 14, 2012 and is mandatory by May 13, 2013 to perform Special Inspections. (Please note: Executive Order 4/12 extended the original registration deadline from November 13, 2012 to May 13, 2013). The second amendment will become effective December 31, 2014

Question: Does the amendment state how I am to perform my inspections?

Answer: No. However, there are some duties and responsibilities for performing Special Inspections referenced in the NYC Construction Codes.

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