Local Law 152: Updated Requirements for Boards and Buildings

On Dec. 18, the New York City Council voted to extend 2020 deadlines for building owners to complete gas pipeline inspections required by Local Law 152. The extension specifically effects buildings located in Community Districts 1, 3 and 10 in all boroughs which now have until June 30, 2021 to file inspections and certifications with the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). Buildings located in Community Districts 2, 5, 7, 13 and 18 in all boroughs are still expected to file with the DOB by December 31, 2021, as originally required.
 
Despite this welcomed reprieve from the City Council, FirstService Residential recommends that buildings move forward with any previously scheduled inspections in the event of unforeseen violations or deficiencies in the building’s gas piping systems.
 

A Brief History of Local Law 152


Local Law 152 was enacted in 2016 and is one component of a 10-piece legislative package designed to prevent dangerous gas leaks and pipeline explosions in New York City. The local laws cover inspection schedules, fines for non-compliance or existing hazardous conditions, the installation of combustible gas leak indicators or detection devices, and how building owners are expected to notify residents in the event of a gas leak among other requirements.
 
Local Law 152 requires the periodic inspection of gas piping systems of all buildings at least once every four years. For multifamily properties, this includes exposed gas piping outside and inside the building, in boiler rooms, in all amenity and common spaces, rooftop mechanical spaces and publicly-accessible areas. Owners of mixed-use residential properties with subcomponent spaces (i.e. retail, offices, community facilities, etc.) will also need to complete piping inspections in these areas of the building.

Initially, Local Law 152 filing deadlines were scheduled and organized by borough. In 2019, the filing deadlines were modified according to individual Community Districts in all boroughs. As of December 2020, current deadlines are as follows:
Local_Law_152_Schedule-2021.jpg
 

What Does a Local Law 152 Inspection Entail?


All gas piping inspections must be completed by a New York City-Licensed Master Plumber (LMP) or a qualified individual working under the direct supervision of an LMP at least once every four years. Within 30 days of each inspection, the LMP must complete and deliver a Gas Piping System Periodic Inspection Report that details all results for the building owner or board to review. This report will include a list of conditions requiring correction, frayed or worn piping components that affect safe and reliable operation, non-code compliant installations or illegal connections, the detection of combustible gas and any other conditions determined to be unsafe by the LMP.
 
The LMP will also verify that portable combustible gas indicators and detection devices are present in the building. Click here for a list of acceptable devices approved by the New York State Department of Public Service.
 
No later than 60 days following a building’s inspection date, the building owner must submit the inspection report to the DOB. Any reports submitted more than 60 days after the inspection date will require a new inspection. Failure to submit a certified inspection will result in a $10,000 fine. All inspection reports and certifications must be kept on file for 10 years and be made available to the DOB upon request.
 

Unsafe or Hazardous Conditions

If the LMP determines existing conditions to be hazardous or unsafe, an immediate notification must be delivered to the building owner, the utility providing gas service to the building, and to the DOB. Upon notification, corrective action must begin immediately and in compliance with New York City Construction Codes, including procurement of all required work permits.
 
Examples of unsafe/hazardous conditions include:
  • the detection of combustible gas in surrounding air
  • evidence of illegal connections or non-code compliant installations
  • excessive piping corrosion or cracks
  • any immediate hazard requiring the operator to shut off the gas and lock the meter
 

Deficient Conditions

In the event that deficient, but not immediately unsafe or hazardous, conditions are identified by the LMP, the building has up to 120 days to correct all deficient conditions, complete another round of inspections to certify any repairs, and file the inspection reports with the DOB. If additional time is needed to correct deficient condition, a building owner can petition the DOB for a 60-day extension.
 

Buildings Exempt from Gas Piping Inspections


Buildings that do not have gas piping are required to certify existing conditions by a registered architect or a professional engineer. The certification must then be filed with the DOB and is subject to the same inspection deadlines as buildings with gas piping systems in the same Community District. Building owners are also required to keep the certifications on file for 10 years and make them available to the DOB upon request. Failure to file an inspection certification before the applicable due date may result in a civil penalty of $10,000.
 
Buildings that are classified as Residential Group R-3 are generally exempt from these requirements dependent on the number of rooms or occupants within the property. To verify the classification of your property, refer to the building’s Certificate of Occupancy.
 
Exemptions are also in place for newly completed buildings that have already certified gas piping inspections. In accordance with the local law, initial inspections for new buildings must be conducted in the tenth year following the issuance of a certificate of occupancy or an official letter of completion from the DOB.
 

Working with FirstService Residential


FirstService Residential is here to help boards and building owners comply with Local Law 152. This includes the retention of qualified contractors and inspectors, the completion of DOB filings on-time or ahead of schedule and access to a library of educational resources to help our managed properties plan, finance and complete any necessary capital improvements.
 
To learn more about how FirstService Residential works with VIVE to pre-qualify contractors and vendors on behalf of our managed properties, click here.
 
If you’re a board member or building owner looking to jumpstart Local Law 152 inspections or have questions regarding compliance, contact us today.