Local Law 11

Understanding Local Law 11: Compliance Guidelines & Insights

The Facade Inspection & Safety Program (FISP), or Local Law 11 in NYC, mandates a comprehensive examination of buildings’ exterior walls every five years by Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWIs) for structures over six stories.

Results are reported to the Department of Buildings (DOB). Local Law 11, detailed in the NYC Administrative Code (1 RCNY 103-04) through DOB rules, ensures safety and compliance. Essentially, it regulates the frequency of facade inspections for buildings exceeding six stories.

What is Local Law 11?

Wondering ‘What is Local Law 11?’ New York City, renowned for its iconic skyline, houses over 14,000 buildings subject to the inspection protocols of Local Law 11 NYC, now known as the Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP). This regulation mandates a five-year inspection of facades and appurtenances for structures taller than six stories.

A facade includes exterior walls and windows, while appurtenances encompass various attachments. The law, established in 1998, obliges buildings to undergo inspections by Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWIs), who categorize buildings as Safe, SWARP, or Unsafe. Corrective actions are required within specified timeframes, and amended reports are issued after deficiencies are rectified.

Local Law 11 Importance

In response to a tragic incident in 1980, where a falling masonry claimed a life, Local Law 10 was enacted to address facade safety. In 1998, after a building collapse on Madison Avenue highlighted safety concerns, LL 11 expanded the ordinance, enforcing more rigorous inspection standards. Unlike its predecessor, NYC Local Law 11 mandated thorough examinations of all four sides of buildings, introducing nuanced categories like “safe,” “safe with a repair and maintenance program,” or “unsafe.”

The law aimed to promptly address potential hazards from deteriorating structures. In recent years, the Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP) has further strengthened facade repair initiatives, prioritizing safety for NYC residents.

Local Law 11 Objective

To address fatalities caused by falling debris from building facades, New York City implemented Local Law 11 in 1998, requiring inspections for buildings over six stories. Triggered by incidents in 1979 and 1997, Local Law 11/98, now known as FISP, enhanced regulations. Tragically, in 2015 and 2019, fatalities occurred from falling debris, leading to criminal charges against the building owner in the latter case. The laws aim to protect public safety by preventing facade-related accidents.

How Does Local Law 11 Work?

Under LL 11’s five-year cycle, building owners must hire a Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI) who is also an Architect or Engineer. The QEWI assesses the building’s condition, filing a report with the NYC Department of Buildings and categorizing it as SAFE, SWARMP (Safe With a Repair and Maintenance Program), or UNSAFE. 

If SAFE, the cycle repeats in five years. For SWARMP or UNSAFE, an architect or engineer devises a repair plan, filed with the DOB. After repairs, the QEWI submits an amended report to update the building’s status.

How Can You Comply with Local Law 11?

To comply with New York Local Law 11, schedule a thorough facade inspection by a Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI). This examination covers all exterior walls and appurtenances. It’s important to know the Local Law 11 requirements. Following the inspection, a technical report (FISP report) must be filed with the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). 

The report categorizes the facade as Safe, Safe with a repair and maintenance program (SWARMP), or Unsafe. SWARMP necessitates specified repairs within the next cycle, while Unsafe demands immediate attention and repairs within 30 days, accompanied by public protection measures.

Local Law 11 Penalties

Adhering to specific deadlines is crucial for FISP reports based on the last digit of a building’s block number. Filing fees for new, amended, or subsequent reports are $425 each, with a potential $305 fee for a 90-day extension on unsafe facade repairs. 

Violation-related fees include $1,000 per month for late filing, $5,000 annually for failure to file an initial report, and $2,000 for failure to correct SWARMP conditions. Delays in addressing unsafe conditions incur additional penalties, ranging from $10 to $40 per linear foot of shed per month based on the duration of the delay.

Ways to Avoid Violations

Getting ready for a FISP examination is crucial for building owners to avoid unnecessary costs and stress. Here are some key steps: share details about your building’s age and changes, keep records of repairs and permits, make sure everything is easily accessible, clear away debris, secure external fixtures, and check window A/C units. Collaborating with a reliable property management company can make the process smoother. 

On examination day, having your superintendent guide the inspector enhances understanding and communication. Pay extra attention to materials like terra cotta, masonry, brickwork, joint materials, and metal parts, ensuring thorough maintenance for optimal building conditions.

How Local Law 11 Impacts Your Building’s Worth

The Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP) plays a crucial role in keeping pedestrians safe from potential dangers. While it may not be the most exciting task for property owners or board members, complying with FISP brings long-term advantages. It ensures safety by proactively dealing with building issues, and financially, it requires routine inspections and maintenance, avoiding unexpected costs and penalties. 

Compliance positively influences property value and how buildings are perceived, making well-maintained structures more attractive to tenants and buyers. Embracing regular upkeep, as FISP suggests, is not only cost-effective but also a smart and budget-friendly approach to building maintenance.

Protection of Neighboring Properties

In New York City, FISP compliance involves coordination with neighboring properties, necessitating access agreements for certain protection measures. Access agreements provide the legal framework for access over adjacent properties during FISP work, as per NYC Department of Buildings Building Code. Proactive negotiation is crucial to prevent delays in FISP work.‌


LL11, or FISP as it is also called, crucially ensures safety and compliance for NYC buildings. Essential to this process are regular inspections, prompt repairs and meeting deadlines. The Cotocon Group, a trusted partner in compliance consulting, provides expertise not only in maintaining buildings effectively through LL11 requirements navigation but also enhancing property value.


What is FISP and what is the importance?

FISP, or Local Law 11, mandates five-year facade inspections for NYC buildings over six stories. It ensures facade safety, preventing accidents and fatalities.

How does LL 11 work?

QEWIs assess buildings, categorize them as SAFE, SWARMP, or UNSAFE. Compliance involves periodic inspections and potential repairs..

How to avoid violations and how does it affect property value?

Prepare for inspections, maintain records, clear debris, and collaborate with a property management company. Positively impacts value by enhancing safety, compliance, and overall building perception.

What is FISP’s purpose and How to comply with Local Law 11?

Protects pedestrians from falling debris, prompted by past incidents and fatalities. You can schedule facade inspections by QEWIs, file FISP reports, and address repairs promptly.

What is an access agreement in FISP and How does FISP impact neighboring properties?

Legal framework for neighboring property access during FISP work, vital for coordination, requires coordination with adjacent properties, needing access agreements for certain protection measures.