A new rule requires parking garage condition assessments to be performed by a qualified professional engineer at least every three years. With the first assessment due as soon as next fall for most of the buildings represented by the Association of Riverdale Cooperatives and Condominiums, Boards of Directors and building managers have little time to waste in meeting this new mandate.
According to the new rule (full text available here) parking garage owners must retain a qualified professional engineer, experienced in structural evaluation, to conduct an on-site inspection and evaluation of the parking facility. The purpose of the inspection is to identify deterioration and evidence of any unsafe conditions. Once the engineer completes the Condition Assessment, he or she must prepare, sign, seal and submit a Condition Assessment Report. The engineer must provide an evaluation and description of:
- Deterioration and distress that could result in unsafe conditions,
- Conditions that should be remedied immediately to prevent them from becoming unsafe,
- Conditions that are already unsafe,
- Problems that are leading to deterioration and unsafe conditions,
- Corrective options available, including recommended time frame for remediation,
- Risks of not addressing the deterioration and/or defects,
- Recommendations for preventive maintenance, and
- Recommended timing of the next Condition Assessment.
Following the initial Condition Assessment, parking garages must undergo Condition Assessments at least every three years. If recommended by the professional engineer, or if new or increased deterioration warrants, then the property may need to be evaluated again even sooner. Every parking garage Condition Assessment Report will be reviewed by the authority charged with oversight and may be followed with an appropriate enforcement action, such as issuing an Order to Remedy, imposing a fine, or suspending or revoking an operating permit.
With the first assessment deadline less than a year away, it is important to begin planning parking structure Condition Assessments now — and anticipate the considerable cost of the assessments and the repairs. Given the large number of parking structures in New York State, qualified professional engineers with appropriate experience will be hard to come by once deadlines approach. ARC strongly suggests that if your Board of Directors or building manager has not already done so, an architecture/ engineering firm familiar with the newly adopted code and with the qualifications specifically delineated in the new New York State rule be contacted soon. (It may even be wise to engage an engineer to conduct an informal assessment in advance!)
Right now, all garages originally constructed prior to January 1, 1984, which includes most of the buildings represented by ARC, must have the initial condition assessment completed by October 1, 2019. BUT, this deadline MAY NOT ultimately apply to New York City buildings. The City Council will review the State mandate and may adjust the effective date. (Stay tuned!)