Flurry of filings ahead of new building rules 1

New York City’s building codes were revised for the first time since 2008 at the end of last year, with the 2014 version replacing 2008’s requirements on New Year’s Eve. Filings with the Department of Buildings made after Dec. 30 are subject to the new codes.

A revision of the New York City building codes sent dozens of architects scurrying to file applications with the Department of Buildings just before the new regulations went into effect New Year’s Eve.

In order to have permits and other construction plans reviewed under the 2008 Construction Codes, developers had to send in their applications by Dec. 30, with all filings submitted on or after Dec. 31 being scrutinized under the 2014 iteration of the city’s regulations.

Hundreds of architects from across the city flooded the DOB with filings in the days leading up to the changeover, with many of the applications in Queens involving the construction and/or demolition of smaller structures, between one and four stories high.

There were a few exceptions, as new building permits were filed for a 15-story, 88-unit mixed-use structure at 27-01 Jackson Ave. and a 17-story, 243-room hotel at 41-08 Crescent St., both in Long Island City, as well as a seven-story, 46-unit residential building at 30-92 29 St. in Astoria and a six-story, 85-room hotel at 139-01 Archer Ave. in Jamaica, among other applications.

Each plot of land is occupied by either a small warehouse or gas station, with the structures needing to be demolished to make way for construction.

The change in building codes comes eight years after the previous edition was enacted, with many of the alterations having to do with safety inspections and standards, reorganizing and rearranging passages and new technology,

Requirements in the new codes include the installation of temporary fire hydrants near large construction sites, professionally designed monitoring plans for excavation work, and the banning of scaffolding work in sustained winds 30 mph or stronger.

Steve Fisher, a Chronicle contributing photographer and a retired architect with 29 years of experience in the industry, said the most logical reason why so many architects filed last-minute applications is they are more familiar with the 2008 construction codes.

“It’s incumbent on architects to know the codes. When you’re licensed by the state, it has nothing to do with pretty buildings. It has to do with public safety,” Fisher said. “It’s partially why architects would want to get in under the old codes. More than not, it’s because you’re familiar with what you can and can’t do.”

Despite admittedly not being too familar with the new building code, Fisher added that there’s often a rush of submissions whenever there’s a change.

Additionally, anti-flooding standards were also strengthened with the change in codes, with buildings such as hospitals and nursing homes now being required to have their generators sit above the designed flood elevation of the area where the property is located.

All gypsum and cement boards being installed in the basement or cellar of any new or existing building must also be mold resistant, under the new codes.


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