NYC Parking Structure Inspections Law

Enhanced Safety Measures

Local Law 126 Insight
for NYC Parking Structure Inspections

Local Law 126
For 2021

NYC has mandated new periodic inspection requirements for owners and operators of parking structures, facilities, and garages across all five boroughs. Effective January 1, 2022, Local Law 126 for 2021 dictates that parking structures undergo condition assessments performed by a New York State licensed and registered professional engineer at least once every six years.

Local Law 126 of 2021 added a new Article 323 regarding periodic inspections of parking structures to Title 28 of the Administrative Code which requires every parking structure in the city to have a one-time initial observation of the parking structure performed (or under direct supervision) of a QPSI, with a report filed to the NYC DOB by August 1, 2024. The new article also states that the annual observation checklist must be done by or under direct supervision of a QPSI.

The hired PE must meet the eligibility requirements for Qualified Parking Structure Inspectors (QPSI) as required by 1RCNY 101-07. For subject buildings, an assessment report must be submitted by the QPSI with the inspection results and filed with the Department of Buildings (DOB).

Much like New York City’s existing Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP), the updated Local Law 126 strives to enact enhanced safety measures by way of recurring structural evaluations. These assessments look for any evidence of deterioration or unsafe conditions.

According to the law, parking structure owners are responsible for the proper inspection, repair, and maintenance of the parking structure. As such, assessments must be made for any indication of damage, decay, or dilapidation. Additionally, an inspector can identify signs of faulty construction or unstable foundation which could result in a partial or complete collapse.

Parking structures that are subject to the ordinance include buildings (or portions of a building) used for parking or storing motor vehicles. This includes space inside or under a building, as well as both open and enclosed parking garages. Exceptions to Local Law 126 include autobody and automotive shops, or garages with fewer than 3 car occupancies.

NYC Parking Structure
Inspection Engineering

Cycles + Districts

The first inspection cycle for parking garages and structures began on January 1, 2022 and runs through December 31, 2023. During this cycle, owners of parking structures located within Community Districts 1 through 7 in Manhattan will need to have them inspected and file the required report with the DOB. The NYC Department of Building will continue to announce filing dates for other community districts.

QPSI: New York Parking Structure Inspections

Focused on maintaining safe buildings, New York City and New York State each have distinct inspection requirements for parking garages and structures. While both entities mandate inspections by Professional Engineers (PE), NYC goes a step further by requiring these engineers to be Certified Qualified Parking Structure Inspectors (QPSIs). In contrast, New York State sets the minimum requirement as a PE.

To become certified as a QPSI, a PE must be qualified to recognize and assess the nuanced structural features and deterioration factors specific to parking structures, including the uniquely accelerated deterioration caused by overloading, environmental factors, and de-icing measures. These experts are proficient at identifying potential issues, conducting root cause analyses, and offering remediation support. Regardless of minimum requirements, it is in the best interest of parking garage and structure owners, operators, and the public, to have a certified QPSI perform a detailed parking garage inspection to determine any unsafe conditions and provide insights into the necessary actions including emergency measures and the potential consequences for non-compliance.  

From cracked concrete to corroded steel, dilapidated masonry elements, and exposed rebar, parking structures can deteriorate in various ways throughout their lifecycle. If the impaired structural elements are not addressed properly, a building may be at risk of failure and result in a partial or even total collapse, posing serious implications for public safety. To mitigate the potential effects and ensure public safety, preventative measures like regular inspections, routine maintenance, and timely repairs are essential. Proper engineering and design standards, as well as adherence to construction regulations, are critical in preventing these types of structural failures.

McLaren Senior Structural Engineer, Daniel Rachal, PE, QPSI
Daniel Rachal, PE, QPSI

Senior Structural Engineer

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A parking garage is much like a highway bridge as far as its use and environment. Yet, highway bridge conditions are more favorable as rain will at least wash away the corrosive elements every so often. As such, preventing unsafe conditions and maintaining prolonged structural integrity of parking garages requires proactive measures. Parking structures are uniquely susceptible to advanced deterioration based on their function and usage alone.

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About Daniel. A certified QPSI, Daniel works with parking garage owners and reps to provide detailed inspection and investigation services. As an expert structural engineer with an in-depth understanding of code compliance, he can identify structural damage, perform root cause analysis, and help provide proper remediation support. Daniel Rachal is an experienced Structural Engineer and NYS Certified Code Enforcement Official.