UPDATING LOCAL LAW 11

Why Embracing Drones is a Must for the FISP

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed countless systemic and infrastructure flaws. From an overtaxed health care system, to an ever widening wealth and education gap, and countless other challenges, there is another dangerous side effect of the pandemic.

In the last year, there’s been an unfortunate uptick in the number of facade related accidents in New York City. Architect Erica Tishman was killed in December 2019 when a chunk of building facade fell off a Midtown tower and struck her. In July alone, within a span of a week, there were two serious accidents, one of which was deadly. A massive wall of bricks collapsed on East 38th Street, injuring a bystander, and just 7 days later, a few blocks away, a construction worker died and at least three other people were hurt in a horrendous chain reaction accident when part of a building facade collapsed onto scaffolding.

Partial Collapse of Parking Garage.

Woman Killed by Falling Debris.

Man killed in Scaffolding Collapse.

These dangerous accidents keep happening even though New York City has one of the most extensive Facade Safety Inspection Programs in the country, known as Local Law 11, which has even been “toughened up” this year to respond to the increase in accidents. Some of the new requirements, which took effect in late February, include an increase in physical inspections, or “drops”, an increase in the cost of penalties and fines for non-compliance, and, Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWIs) must now have at least seven years of relevant experience. Before, inspections could be made by anyone with at least one year of relevant experience. This change is dramatic, as there are only so many QEWIs in New York City, and the stricter requirements greatly reduces the pool of qualified professionals able to certify an NYC Facade Inspection, potentially creating a bottleneck process.

While many of the new additions are common-sense and understandable, especially with the increase of facade accidents, they will undoubtedly increase the cost of an inspection for a property owner. So what is a solution? The answer: investment in drone inspections. AeroSpect is an innovative drone based data company, revolutionizing the way facade inspections are done. Using the combination of highly skilled drone pilots and a cutting-edge online inspection portal to achieve 100% façade coverage, AeroSpect’s drone inspection makes a practice that typically can take days, weeks, or even months to complete, achievable in just hours.

For one of AeroSpect’s founders, the mission for safer and more efficient building facade inspections is personal. Edward Kostakis and his brother were driving to New Jersey together when a brick from an overpass near the George Washington Bridge came loose from the wall above, and crashed through the windshield of the car, nearly costing Edward and his brother their lives.

Bird’s eye view of West-bound GWB.

Missing brick.

Wide shot of missing brick.

AeroSpect’s drone inspection system gives QEWIs a massive productivity boost by creating a full “map” of each facade that needs to be filed, completely cutting out the most-time consuming part of facade documentation, and making the entire process drastically more efficient without compromising safety.

One of the other new Local Law 11 requirements, as mentioned earlier, is the increase in “physical drops”, like scaffolding, every 60 feet for a QEWI to perform a “hands on” inspection. While they’re an important part of the process, they can become incredibly costly. A QEWI would need to determine where along the 60 feet the physical drop should be planned, and often, the QEWI will request more drops out of caution, which drives up the price of the inspection.

AeroSpect’s processed imagery for a façade inspection.

By using drones and the cutting edge AeroSpect Web Portal, the QEWI can use the drone-produced facade map to determine where to place a physical drop, and rule out locations where extra drops wouldn’t be necessary, greatly cutting the cost of an inspection without reducing the level and commitment to safety.

With AeroSpect’s revolutionary drone inspection technology and easy to use Web Portal, property owners and QEWIs can adopt the new Local Law 11 changes with minimal increase in inspection costs. Drones balance efficiency, safety, and offer 100 percent facade inspection coverage in a way no other technology can.

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