NYC Enacts Five Building Resiliency Laws
As part of its continuing efforts to make New York City better prepared for future hurricanes, the City Council recently passed a package of legislation that’s intended to strengthen building standards and enhance building and infrastructure resiliency against the effects of future storms such as Superstorm Sandy. Mayor Bloomberg signed the bills into law on Oct. 2, 2013.
The laws were the result of findings made by the Building Resiliency Task Force (BRTF), which was convened following the storm last year and was charged with making recommendations to improve building resiliency and to maximize preparedness for future weather emergencies. The new laws, summarized here, are:
Local Law 79 of 2013 (BRTF Proposal #24)—Ensure Toilets and Sinks Work Without Power. As an emergency sanitation measure, bathrooms will now be required to have at least one faucet and toilet that can work without external electrical power. In other words, at least one faucet and toilet must work either mechanically or on battery power.
Local Law 80 of 2013 (BRTF Proposal #13)—Capture Stormwater to Prevent Flooding. This law directs the Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to study the creation of permeable roadways and sidewalks that can absorb water to limit flooding.
Local Law 81 of 2013 (BRTF Proposal #12)—Analyze Wind Risks. This law requires a study of the effects of high winds on existing New York buildings, including buildings under construction.
Local Law 82 of 2013 (BRTF Proposal #10)—Clarify Construction Requirements in Flood Zones. DOB must create a manual that clarifies flood protection requirements that apply to new construction and renovations. City regulations already include many flood-protection measures for flood zones, but the requirements aren’t always clear.
Local Law 83 of 2013 (BRTF Proposal #8)—Prevent Sewage Backflow. To deal with sanitation, buildings in flood-prone areas will have to install devices to prevent backflow of sewage into homes and offices when the system is overwhelmed by flood waters.
Together, these laws will implement 20 percent of the legislative recommendations of the Task Force. More bills are expected based on other BRTF proposals this fall. For further information, you can visit the Web page of Task Force member Urban Green Council at www.urbangreencouncil.org/BuildingResiliency.