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Jersey City Mayor Seeks to Strengthen Building Safety Mandates

Following the tragic collapse of the Champlain Tower in Surfside, Florida, Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop announced new legislation to increase safety requirements for structural and facade inspections of all Jersey City high-rise buildings to better protect residents. The enhanced mandates will require ongoing inspections at a minimum of every five years for façade inspections and every 10 years for structural inspections.

The new legislation will go before Jersey City’s Municipal Council at the next City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, July 14.

“Following the tragic collapse of the Champlain Tower, we’ve been re-examining the local policies that exist in both Jersey City and New Jersey to protect our residents that live in older high-rise structures, as we certainly have the most in the State,” said Mayor Fulop. “Since the sad news from Florida, we’ve had Jersey City residents in several buildings reach out with the knowledge that their condo boards are delaying work because of the potential cost to residents. There aren’t many policies in the state to protect in this area, so we’ll be introducing some locally at the next City Council meeting.”

The new legislation amends Jersey City’s Property Maintenance Codes to strengthen the requirements set forth for all residential and non-residential building owners and managers to ensure buildings are adequately maintained and structurally sound.

The amendments address both interior and exterior safety requirements, as follows:

  • Structural inspections – All concrete residential and commercial buildings above six stories must perform a visual structural inspection by a licensed third-party engineer at least every ten years. The inspection shall include but not be limited to structural foundations, balconies, any appurtenant structures, all structural members, and waterproofing conditions. A licensed architect or engineer must subsequently prepare a structural report and provide it to the City’s Division of Construction Code Official.
  • Façade inspections – Owners of buildings above six stories or with masonry facades of four stories or more must have exterior walls and appurtenances inspected every five years. Additionally, a technical façade report must be submitted to the Division of the Construction Code.

Failure to comply with these requirements will subject the building owners to fines and penalties.

“Jersey City has the most high-rise buildings than any other municipality in New Jersey, with various building structures and ages, and so our goal is to strengthen our policies in order to provide the best protection for our residents and the community at large,” Mayor Fulop concluded.

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