The DOB is always issuing new requirements, but many of them only become relevant months, or years later. The upcoming sprinkler requirement as of November 14, 2021, was instituted by the DOB a full two years ago.
Here’s what you need to know about the new sprinkler requirements and how to stay compliant.
What are my requirements?
Previously, in compliance with Local Law 26 of 2004, owners of buildings over 100 feet tall were required to install an automatic sprinkler system by July 1, 2019.
Now, effective November 14, building owners must file a sprinkler report with the DOB, certifying that the required sprinklers have been installed in their building. The report must be prepared by an architect or engineer.
How often do the reports need to be filed?
Sprinkler reports don’t need to be filed annually. In fact, they are only required to be filed every 14 years. However, it’s important to note that the DOB will begin issuing fines to all building owners who do not file their initial sprinkler report by the required deadline.
What is the deadline for filing a sprinkler report?
To remain compliant, building owners must file a sprinkler report by January 1, 2022. If you have not yet had your sprinkler system installed and inspected, you have two months to get the job done, have your report prepared by a qualified architect or engineer and file it with the DOB before they start issuing violations.
If you have already filed your report since July 1, 2019, there’s no need to file another one now.
What are the penalties for noncompliance?
Failure to file an acceptable sprinkler report can result in a civil penalty of $5,000 per year, beginning on January 1, 2022. For each month in which the building owner is late in filing a report, the DOB will slap on another $1,000. This means that if you have not filed your report by February 1, 2022, you can be fined $6,000 by the DOB. Each additional month in which you do not file can cost you another $1,000.
Can I challenge a civil penalty?
You can challenge a civil penalty by providing proof of compliance. This can include any of the following:
- A copy of an acceptable sprinkler report, or
- A certificate of occupancy indicating that the building does not need to comply with the requirement.
Challenges must be submitted in writing to the DOB within 30 days from the date of the violation.
If I’m a new building owner, can I request a waiver of penalties?
New owners of buildings may request a waiver of penalties due to change in ownership. To do so, they must submit proof of a recorded deed showing transfer of ownership to the current owner after the penalties were issued. They must also provide any additional documentation as requested by the department.
In addition, an owner may be granted a waiver of penalties if they submit a copy of an order signed by a bankruptcy court judge, or if a state of emergency that prevents the owner from conducting a report has been declared.
If you haven’t filed a sprinkler report, schedule an inspection today! Need help staying compliant? Contact us today for further assistance.