FDNY has 198 Engine Companies and 143 Ladder Companies, all of which are responsible for inspecting buildings within their respective administrative districts. These inspections are part of FDNY’s Building Inspection Safety Program ("BISP"). In addition to ensuring Fire Code compliance at these building inspections, companies familiarize themselves with the buildings and check for violations of lawful occupancy, egress, sprinkler system and standpipe system requirements. Company officers have the flexibility to prioritize those buildings whose histories merit increased attention.
To improve the effectiveness of BISP inspections, FDNY is working with DOB to upgrade technology and improve coordination and information-sharing between the two agencies. For example, DOB now transmits construction and demolition permit information from DOB's Building Information System (BIS) to FDNY. FDNY then transmits this information to the local fire company in whose district the building site is located and whose responsibility it is to inspect. The local company inspects -- depending on building height -- every 15 or 30 days: every 15 days for buildings over 75 feet and every 30 days for buildings less than 75 feet. [Link to Rule 11-01]
These inspections continue until the completion of the construction or demolition work. Any newly-constructed building then becomes part of the local company's portfolio for regular inspections, the frequency of which will depend on what kind of building was constructed, e.g., a school or hospital will be inspected annually.
If, during the course of any inspection (not just at construction or demolition sites), a fire company identifies:
- something of concern that DOB has sole authority to enforce, the fire company issues a referral report to DOB;
- that a FDNY permit is required at the site, the fire company notifies Fire Prevention's local district office;
- a condition that violates the Fire Code, or a provision of the Building Code over which it has enforcement authority, the fire company can issue a notice of violation ("NOV") returnable before the New York City Environmental Control Board ("ECB"), a violation order ("VO") that orders compliance, and/or a summons returnable before the New York City Criminal Court; or
- a condition that is illegal or imminently hazardous, the fire company can initiate the process by which the illegal work is ordered to cease and/or the premises vacated.
Fire Prevention inspectors have similar enforcement powers.
With respect to asbestos abatement work, DEP now notifies FDNY about certain abatement projects, e.g., abatement projects that exceed 7,500 square feet or when an abatement project affects egress from the floor or building.