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PR- 135-07
May 3, 2007


New NYC Construction Codes Make Construction Easier, Faster, Less Expensive;
New Emphasis on Safety and Sustainability

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster announced today the submission of a landmark modernization of the City Building Code, the first since 1968, to the City Council for review and consideration. Fulfilling a promise made during the 2001 campaign, the Mayor's proposal overhauls all aspects of the City's construction codes, including the Building Code, setting new standards and rules in order to emphasize safety, efficiency and sustainability. The proposal, to be called the NYC Construction Codes, draws on suggestions and input from hundreds of stakeholders the Administration brought together for this effort, simplifies construction standards and fosters long-term, environmentally-friendly growth.

"Our City's population is expected to grow by one million by 2030, and the pace of new construction is likely to continue to be brisk in the years ahead," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "If this massive revision to the City's Building Code is approved by the City Council, outdated regulations that are unnecessarily complex and convoluted will be replaced. The international competitiveness of our City will be increased with new, streamlined Construction Codes that allow for the cheaper construction of safer and more environmentally responsible buildings. This proposal will make new construction less expensive and make it easier to build more affordable housing."

"The City's economic development depends on construction codes that achieve a delicate mix of enhanced safety requirements, opportunities for cost savings, and incentives for innovative and sustainable building," said Commissioner Lancaster. "My staff and I, along with the countless professionals involved in the Code program, have worked hard to develop these new, comprehensive Construction Codes that will ensure New York's economic growth and development today is compatible with the needs of this City in the future. I am proud to have worked with such a professional team throughout this process and I would like to thank them for their dedication to this important initiative."

The new NYC Construction Codes will modernize building in the City by being more user-friendly and encouraging sustainability. The new Codes adopt certain national standards and accept the use of new materials and technologies, which will make building easier and less expensive.  The proposed Codes recognize electronic submissions and digital documents and will be organized according to the International Code Council format, which is widely recognized by the industry as being more user-friendly. To make sure the Codes never become dated again, the proposed law will be tied to the national three-year revision cycle, enabling the City to take advantage of innovations in new materials and technology. The Department of Buildings will also allow online application filing and longer license durations. A cost study by the Department of Buildings has identified new code provisions that will provide opportunities for significant construction cost savings.

The Codes will seek to facilitate sustainable building by providing fee rebates for green design, requiring more efficient heating and cooling systems, requiring white roofs, and encouraging plumbing systems that conserve water. The Codes achieve a reduction in fuel burning as a result of energy savings through energy efficient ventilation design and allowing for the intermittent operation of ventilation in kitchens, bathrooms, and showers.  New provisions in the Codes will also facilitate the development of biotechnology facilities in hospitals, laboratories, and pharmaceutical research centers.  City accessibility standards will be improved and brought in line with federal mandates.

Safety requirements are strengthened and enhanced in the new Codes. For example, sprinkler requirements will be expanded to include more building types and smoke detectors will be required to be hardwired and interconnected in more occupancies. Automatic sprinklers will be required in new types of buildings including a portion of one- and two-family homes, large places of assembly, factories, and fuel storage areas. Also, the design of standpipe systems in high-rises will be enhanced to provide substantial in-house water reserves for more efficient firefighting. Requirements for impact-resistant stairways and elevator shafts, and photo luminescent markings from commercial high-rises -first instituted in the World Trade Center bill -, will be expanded to more high-rises. New structural integrity requirements in the Codes include wind load requirements tailored to each building location, stronger building connectivity to better withstand extreme events and new design methods to protect key elements in areas containing high pressure gas.

The proposed NYC Construction Codes were tailored to meet the unique conditions that New York's density, small lot size, and its variety of occupancy and building types create. The Codes have been overhauled and modernized with the help of over 400 dedicated professionals from industry, labor, government, academia, and real estate. The diverse team was able to reach consensus on most of the thousands of sections of the Codes. The proposed Codes will be submitted to the Council shortly, and are available on the Buildings Department section of the New York City website The website includes section-by-section documents that summarize each chapter and note key changes from the current Codes.


Stu Loeser/John Gallagher   (212) 788-2958

Kate Lindquist (DOB)   (Buildings)
(212) 566-3473

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