Frequently Asked Questions: Periodic Inspection of Parking Structures (PIPS)

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Who can apply to be a QPSI (Qualified Parking Structure Inspector)?

Only professional engineers with three years of relevant experience and in good standing may qualify for the QPSI (Qualified Parking Structure Inspector) designation and submit PIPS (Periodic Inspection of Parking Structures) reports.

Can anyone report an unsafe condition at a parking structure to the Department of Buildings? If so, who can do so and how?

Anyone can call 311 at any time whenever they see or suspect an unsafe condition in any building. Only a Professional Engineer, Registered Architect, or a QPSI may submit an UNSAFE Notification of Parking Structure (UNPS) in DOBNOW.

Is the QPSI required to remove finishes or fireproofing to physically examine steel members?

Removing finishes or fireproofing is not required for physical examination. The QPSI must design a complete inspection program that will allow them to determine the status of the various elements of the parking structure, which may or may not involve destructive testing.

What happens if a condition reported as SREM and recommended to be corrected is not repaired by the next cycle?

If a recommended SREM (Safe with Repairs and/or Engineering Monitoring) repair is not completed by the next cycle, it must be reported as unsafe.

Is shoring acceptable as public protection from an unsafe condition in a parking structure?

The QPSI is ultimately responsible for providing guidance on protecting the public and tenants from unsafe conditions. Shoring should not be used in areas that are open to vehicular traffic since it is highly susceptible to being dislodged by impact from vehicles.

When is stability analysis required?

Stability analysis is always required for SREM reports.

What is DOB looking for in the stability analysis of the parking structure?

The stability analysis must report the code-required structural loading conditions and the calculated load-carrying capacity of typical and worst-case structural framing members, showing that the structure is stable under current and expected loading condition. It should also include factor of safety of each structural member affected by SREM conditions.

For buildings where the assessment of the parking structure also requires the façade to be inspected, must the facades be reviewed by a QEWI?

If 50% or more of a building’s square footage is used for parking, the QPSI is required to conduct façade inspections and discuss their findings in the PIPS report.

If a building is more than 6 stories in height and therefore subject to the Facades Inspection and Safety Program (FISP), the QPSI is not required to report on the façade, it will be included on the FISP report. This does not exempt the QPSI, owner, or anyone involved in building maintenance from reporting unsafe conditions on a façade or anywhere else in the building as required under AC 28-301.1.

For parking structures with 4-6 stories, is the QPSI required to inspect the façade?

If more than 50% of the total area of the building is used for parking, the entire façade must be visually examined and 10% of it must be physically examined. Buildings 6 stories or less where less than 50% of the total square footage is used for parking are exempt from reporting on the facades.

In a scenario where the second floor is a parking structure and the first floor is commercial or residential, is review of the structure of the first-floor ceiling required? These locations often have finishes installed, hung ceilings, drywall, etc. Are destructive probes required to inspect the structural elements above the ceiling?

Visual inspection is required for 100% of all structural elements of the parking structure. Close-up inspection is required for 10% of the structural elements.  In this case, the ceiling of the first floor (second floor framing) must be inspected. The QPSI must determine the best methods to physically examine the structural elements, which may or may not involve destructive testing.

Can the DOB provide examples to illustrate the difference between SREM and unsafe conditions?

The QPSI must determine the status of each condition observed based on their inspection and 1 RCNY 103- 13.

What are the requirements for the initial observation reports required under 1 RCNY 103-16 for parking structures in the B and C sub-cycles?

Initial observation reports for parking structures in cycles B or C are due by August 1, 2024, except for properties in sub cycle B where an acceptable, complete PIPS report is submitted before August 1, 2024. The QPSI must assess the condition of the structural components, waterproofing systems, wearing surfaces, fire proofing and fire stopping systems. Visual inspection of 100% of these elements may suffice, unless deficiencies observed warrant further investigation, in which case the QPSI must employ an inspection program that permits a complete examination to determine the cause of the defects. Please see 1 RCNY § 103-16 for additional information on requirements for initial observation of parking structures.

How should the initial observation report be filed with the Department of Buildings?

To submit an Initial observation report, log in to DOB NOW and select Parking Structures from the DOB NOW: Safetymenu. From the dashboard, select the +Initial Observation button and complete the required information. A Parking Structure ID is required to submit the report. See the Parking Structure Resources for instructions on how to submit a Verification or Parking Structure ID Request.

Can the DOB provide a template for the Annual Observation?

A PIPS annual checklist should contain conditions/findings of all parking structure elements and appurtenances and method for locating and recording observed conditions.

Do the annual observation reports need to be filed with the DOB?

Completed annual observation reports must be kept on site and be made available to the Department and the QPSI upon request, but do not need to be submitted to the DOB.

Is the QPSI required to provide traffic mark-ups?

The PIPS program is concerned primarily with structural stability, so traffic mark-ups are not required.

If a parking structure is filed with SREM status, and it was determined that engineering monitoring is required, what sort of monitoring programs/plans are you expecting to see?

The QPSI should indicate the methods, tools, and equipment for monitoring SREM conditions, and specify how frequently the monitoring should be performed. Additionally, the name of the engineer retained by the owner to perform the monitoring must be included in the PIPS report. This engineer is not required to be a QPSI.