Task Force Releases Recommendations to Strengthen NYC Building Standards
New York’s Building Resiliency Task Force, the expert panel that convened after Hurricane Sandy to outline steps to fortify New York’s buildings and strengthen building standards, recently released a report that includes 33 recommendations. They address resiliency in a wide range of buildings and offer options to help existing buildings become more resilient and strengthen the Building Code and Zoning Resolution to ensure future construction meets the highest level of resilience. The report also proposes measures that would establish backup power if primary networks fail, protect water supplies, and stabilize interior temperatures if residents need to shelter in place.
For now, the city won’t require extensive improvements to existing commercial and residential properties. Officials emphasized that the new rules would largely affect new construction and sizable renovations on existing buildings.
Revisions to the building code would have to be approved by the City Council. At the news conference, Speaker Quinn, who has made the code changes a priority, said legislation was already being drafted to adopt the recommendations of the task force.
While most changes would apply to new construction, the task force is calling for some precautions in existing multifamily residential buildings. For example, emergency lights will be required in hallways and stairwells in case of extended blackouts. Existing buildings will have to add faucets to a common area on lower floors, like a laundry room. That is intended to allow people on upper floors, which lose water pressure from electric pumps during blackouts, to obtain water.