parking garage

Lessons from the Ann Street Parking Garage Tragedy: Crucial Legal Advice for Cooperative and Condominium Boards

The tragic collapse of the Ann Street Garage in Downtown Manhattan emphasizes the critical importance of conducting timely garage inspections for NYC Cooperative Condominium Boards and building owners in the NYC Metro area. In light of the strengthened parking garage inspection regulations, which occurred last year, NYC Coop Condo Boards and Property Managers must ensure compliance with these updated requirements.

Mayor Eric Adams stated in response, “The City Council passed a law requiring property owners to carry out these inspections through an engineer. It’s the law, and they must follow it. An investigation is underway to determine what happened here.” Mayor Adams’ statement serves as a wake-up call for New York City building owners, Cooperative and Condominium boards with garages that have yet to complete their mandated inspections.

At Woods Lonergan, our experience lies in working closely with cooperative and condominium boards and building owners in New York. We would like to draw your attention to the essential aspects of Local Law 126 and the requirements for Qualified Parking Structure Inspectors (QPSI), to inform you and your Board members and safeguard your property:

  • Local Law 126: Implemented in 2022, mandating that all NYC parking garages undergo evaluations by a city-certified inspector every six years. Garages must be classified as safe, unsafe, or safe with a prescribed repair plan, akin to the Facade Inspection and Safety Program.
  • Inspection Deadlines: Garages below Central Park and on the Upper West Side, including the Ann Street Garage, must be inspected by the end of 2023. Garages in the rest of Manhattan and Brooklyn have until the end of 2025, while those in the remaining three boroughs have until the end of 2027. The six-year cycle restarts after the initial cycle is completed.
  • Qualified Parking Structure Inspectors (QPSI): Inspections must be carried out by certified QPSIs, as required by the Department of Buildings (DOB). To become a certified QPSI, candidates must be registered professional engineers in New York State with experience in Structural Design, Design of Structural Repairs, Inspection and Structural Evaluation, and Forensic Structural Engineering Assessments in parking structures.

We strongly advise our NYC Cooperative Condominium Board clients to remain diligent and compliant with the most recent parking garage inspection regulations in New York City.

To ensure the safety and well-being of all occupants and users, Cooperative and Condominium boards and building owners should consider these key takeaways:

  1. Timely Inspections: Engage certified QPSIs to ensure mandated inspections are completed on time.
  2. Adherence to Deadlines: Follow inspection deadlines based on the parking garage’s location.
  3. Repair Plans: Implement required repair plans to maintain the parking structure’s safety.
  4. Violation Monitoring: Address existing violations promptly to prevent potential issues.
  5. Corrosion Prevention: Recognize the corrosive nature of parking garages and implement preventive measures to protect steel reinforcements from water and salt infiltration.

By proactively completing mandated inspections, adhering to deadlines, addressing necessary repairs, and monitoring existing violations, New York Cooperative and Condominium boards and building owners can significantly improve the safety of their parking garages. If you need legal guidance or have concerns regarding cooperative or condominium board governance, we invite you to consult with the Real Estate Practice Group at Woods Lonergan.

The Woods Lonergan Advantage

Trust our legal counsel to provide cost-effective solutions for your most pressing legal needs.