Special Inspections were mandated since the 2008 NYC Building Codes, and they are essential as a quality assurance measure on construction projects. A special Inspector monitors and oversees the quality of construction, ensuring that the integrity of the approved construction plans, Building Department Code and relevant industry standards is maintained. Special Inspections are performed by accredited agencies licensed with the NYC Buildings Department. Aside from being the law, proper utilization of such measures provides additional, invaluable quality assurance benefits:
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SPECIAL INSPECTIONS
The need for stricter regulations arose during the 1970’s and early 1980’s as a result of several disastrous structural failures which gained national attention and resulted in many casualties and injuries.
- Hyatt Regency Walkway (Kansas City, Missouri) On July 17th, 1971
- Skyline Plaza Apartment (Fairfax County, Virginia): On March 27th, 1973
- Harbor Cay Condominium (Cocoa Beach, Brevard County, Florida) On March 27th, 1981
The then Chairman of the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee presented the Report which stated: “For various reasons, the structural engineer of record or the designee is often not present on the jobsite during the construction of principal structural components. The absence of the structural engineer has permitted onsite flaws and changes to go unnoticed and uncorrected”.
The Subcommittee recommended provisions be “Written into the building codes and adopted in public forum which make the onsite presence of the structural engineer mandatory during the construction of structural components”.
Over the years, the Special Inspection requirements were revised and expanded to include new structural components.
WHEN SPECIAL INSPECTIONS ARE REQUIRED
The New York City Department of Buildings requires Special Inspections whenever building construction projects are designed by licensed Architects or Engineers.These inspections are required prior to closing out a project and getting DOB sign off.
In order to successfully obtain a permit for a building construction project, the owner is required to retain a Special Inspection Agency. Inspections fall under the following broad categories: