Frequently Asked Questions: Parapets

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

1RCNY 103-15 Q & A

How do I submit a Parapet Report?

No submission to the Department is required. An observation report must be supplied to the owner. Owners must maintain the observation reports for at least 6 years and must make the reports available to the Department upon request.

What is the start date of the program and are there deadlines?

Parapets subject to this rule must be inspected annually starting January 1, 2024. A parapet inspection must be completed by December 31, 2024 and by December 31 every year thereafter. Owners must have an observation report on file by December 31.

How should DOB be notified of an UNSAFE condition?

The person performing the observation must immediately notify the Department of Buildings by calling 311. If a building is subject to FISP (Façade Inspection Safety Program) filing an Unsafe Notification (FISP3) in DOB NOW Safety is also required.

How is a parapet defined?

1 RCNY 103-15 defines a parapet as the part of any wall entirely above the roof line.

Do parapet walls on balconies need to be inspected?

No, these do not fit the parapet definition above.

In the year a FISP report is submitted for a building can that count toward the parapet report for that year or does a separate report need to be created?

If the FISP report includes all information required to satisfy rule 1 RCNY 103-15 no separate report is required.  The owner must have a copy of the FISP report available upon request.

Do the close-up inspections requirements include boom trucks, scaffolds, or rope access for cornices and other non-easily accessible parapet appurtenances on a yearly basis?

Physical examinations from scaffolding or other observation platforms must be performed annually. Inspections conducted from fire escapes or roofs are also acceptable.

Where access to the outer face of the parapet is limited by building geometry, is it acceptable to perform the physical inspection from the inside face of the parapet?

It is acceptable for the physical inspection to be done from the inside of the parapet and a detailed visual inspection from a fire escape, balcony, or any location that affords an unobstructed view of the parapet and appurtenances. If any potentially unsafe conditions are apparent at visual inspection, a hands-on inspection may be required to determine the status of the parapet and appurtenances.

Do all parapets along a public right of way elevation need to be inspected, including those that are setback from the street?

All parapets on the public right of ways must be inspected.

If UNSAFE parapet conditions are found requiring more than 90 days to correct can the building file some kind of extension of time such as we do for the FISP reports?

There are no extensions.

Do cornices need to be inspected?

Cornices attached to the front wall/roof with no parapet behind do not need to inspected, however, cornices that are attached to parapet walls are subject to annual inspections as they are considered an appurtenance.

What is considered a public right-of-way?

The elevation of an exterior wall is part of the public right-of-way if a member of the public who is not associated with the property in question can freely walk up to the façade of the building, even if that exterior wall is on private property. Buildings with a continuous barrier within a perpendicular distance from the exterior wall that is equal to or less than half the height of the exterior wall must be inspected.

What if my building has a fence, wall or other barrier?

Buildings with a continuous barrier within a perpendicular distance from the exterior wall that is equal to or less than half the height of the exterior wall must be inspected. Buildings with a continuous barrier beyond half the height of the exterior wall need not be inspected.

Would parapets over an adjoining property’s rear or side yard, occupied by persons not associated with the property, be subject to inspection?

The Rule requires that, at a minimum, parapets fronting a public right-of-way be inspected. Other parapets may be inspected at the inspector’s discretion.

Is there a template for the report?

The format of the report must follow RCNY 103-15 (c) (1). The order and sequence as outlined in the rule must be followed.

Do we need to remove the waterproofing membrane to observe the condition of the structural substrate underneath?

Not required. The inspector must determine the inspection methods that will allow them to assess the status of the parapets.

Would inspections cover compliance with parapets/guardrails provisions for height, opening limitations, and positive securement?

Code compliance does not have to be included in the report. We are looking for a structural stability inspection only.

Do we need to provide a status on the building parapet?

The observation report must state if the parapet is unsafe, safe or requires maintenance. The observation must indicate the general condition of the parapet. If it is unsafe or requires maintenance indicate what actions are necessary to remedy the conditions.

Must the report include photos to document the safe status of the parapet?

Photos are not required; the inspector must determine how to best document the results of their inspection.

NOTE: For questions and additional information, please contact

Helpful Links