Publication Date: Summer 2000
FIRE SAFETY PLAN SERVICE
The spring issue of the CNYC Newsletter described the new
Fire Safety requirements of the City. Every multiple dwelling
must prepare and distribute annually either in October or
in January a Fire Safety Plan detailing fire safety and evacuation
procedures for the building. In addition, building owners
(and Boards of cooperatives and condominiums) must post in
the lobby and distribute to all units a fire safety notice
prepared by the Fire Department outlining procedures to be
followed in the event of a fire in the building. The Fire
Safety Notices delivered to apartments are to be in a format
suitable for affixing to the inside of the front door of the
apartment (though the cooperative or condo-minium is not responsible
for verifying that the resident installs it). The requisite
texts differ according to whether the building is combustible
The Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) is offering a service to help
your building comply with the new Fire Safety rules. RSA is a membership
organization providing information and services to rental properties through-out
New York City. Among the ser-vices it offers its members are annual mailing
and record keeping on window guard notices and lead paint notices. Now
RSA has a menu of services relating to fire safety. Members and non-members
(at different rates, of course) can order from RSA a full Fire Safety
package including a plan designed exclusively for your building and the
safety information for posting in apartments. Rates depend upon the number
of plans ordered, but the minimum for this full package is $25 for RSA
members and $35 for non-members. Buildings preferring to order only the
Fire Safety Notices from RSA. will be purchasing decals made of long-lasting,
wear-and-tear resistant, self-adhesive vinyl. The cost is modest. To order,
contact RSA at 212 214-9200, being sure to specify whether your building
is combustible (fire proof) or non-combustible.
At CNYC's 20th annual Housing Conference on Sunday, November 12, 2000,
representatives of the New York Fire Department will give a seminar on
Fire Prevention and Safety, including guidelines on preparing the Fire
Safety Plan for your building. This will be a fine opportunity to get
answers to all of your questions about the Fire Safety Plan requirements.
Click here for more details on the Conference.
LEAD PAINT INSPECTIONS UPON
Local Law 38 of 1999 sets numer-ous requirements to prevent lead paint
hazards in buildings constructed prior to 1960. This includes annual notification
to every units to ascertain where young children live (followed by inspection
of those units). Cooperatives and condominiums cope with these requirements
without much difficulty. Where challenges arise is in complying with the
requirement that when units become 'vacant', the "owner" must abate and
repair chipped or peeling paint, smooth all bare floors and repair deteriorated
subsurfaces and binding doors, windows and cabinet doors. Because the
responsibility for maintaining the interior of apartments in most cooperatives
and condominiums lies with the shareholder or unit owner, and most contracts
of sale obligate the purchaser to accept title to the apartment in 'as
is' condition, the question is when and how to require compliance with
this provision of Local Law 38 for condominium and cooperative sales and
Attorney Marc Luxemburg, who is president of CNYC, suggests that cooperatives
resolve this dilemma by requiring that seller and purchaser determine
between themselves which one shall bear the responsibility for lead hazard
abatement, and that this decision be memorialized in a document included
in the application packet. Similar documentation should be required with
A cooperative's closing forms should be modified to reflect the obligations
imposed by Local Law 38. The Assignment of Proprietary Lease should be
modified to contain a representation that the seller has complied with
any obligation imposed on it pursuant to Local Law 38. The Acceptance
of Assignment should be modified to contain a representation that the
purchaser: (i) has received and signed the Lease/Commencement of Occupancy
Notice and received the Federal Lead Paint Hazard pamphlet, (ii) agrees
to undertake required repairs before occupying the apartment, and (iii)
agrees to certify as Owner that all work has been done. Regardless of
the division of responsibility, a board may wish to required that a purchaser
acknowledge that such purchaser may not occupy the apartment before all
corrective work has been completed.
Monitoring compliance is even more of a challenge in a condominium, where
the board does not have a role in closings on units. Bylaws could be amended
to require compliance notice, but many condominiums require an impossible
100% affirmative vote of unit owners on amendments. An alternative could
be to require a signed LCON before permitting a new unit owner to move
Once a board has adopted a policy for complying with Local Law 38, this
policy should be clearly stated and widely circulated so that sellers
can make brokers and buyers aware of their responsibilities.
Two recent events adversely affect many buildings with canopies in New
York City. Because they encroach upon the sidewalk, canopies come under
the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, whose authorization
is necessary to the installation of any new canopy (once other requirements
such as landmark criteria have been satisfied). An annual $50 fee renews
a canopy permit. In 1998, with little fanfare, the Department of Transportation
amended its canopy regulations and granted buildings six months to bring
their canopies into compliance. Now DOT is no longer renewing permits
for non-compliant canopies and is citing these canopies with violations.
The new regulations require, for example, that the poles supporting
the canopy be located no less than 18" from the curb nor more than 24".
The Department of Transportation explains that its new rules are carefully
designed to enhance the safety of persons and property and to mitigate
the chance of lawsuits which injured parties typically lodge against BOTH
the city and the building.
Recent modifications of bus routes have also had an unanticipated effect
on canopy questions. The city has reduced the number of bus stops and
has therefore relocated many stops. If a bus stop is now at a building
with a canopy, DOT will not permit the renewal of its canopy permit. This
to ensure that there are no unnecessary obstructions at the bus stop.
The DOT will not make any exceptions in the enforcement of its new policies.
Buildings at bus stops must quickly eliminate their canopies and other
buildings must cure violations to keep their canopies. The building can
opt to eliminate the canopy completely, or it can consider two other alternatives,
an awning or a marquee, both of which are affixed to the front of the
building. Permission of the Department of Buildings is a prerequisite
for the installation of an awning or a marquee. An architect or engineer
must submit plans to the Department for the propsed structure. Approval
must be granted and a permit obtained before construction can commence.
An awning is affixed to the front of the building. It has no supporting
poles. A marquee is a rigid, rectangular structure attached to the building
with rigid poles supporting it from above. A landmarked building or one
in a landmarked district must show that its awning or marquee plan complies
with landmark requirements before DOB will consider an awning permit.
This is true even when a canopy is being removed and replaced with an
awning or truncated into awning form. The Department of Buildings is happy
to provide information on either of these canopy substitutes. Contact
DOB at (212) 312-8011.
A study is in progress aimed at improving survival rate from sudden cardiac
arrest. New York City has been identified as one of 25 sites to participate
in a federally-funded research program that will investigate whether placing
automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in specific public locations
can help improve survival from sudden cardiac arrest. These locations
may include shopping malls, office buildings, manufacturing plants, hotels,
senior residence facilities, or any place where large number of the middle-aged
and elderly public may gather.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death among adults in North
America. It is a condition in which the heart stops abruptly and unexpectedly.
The best treatment is prompt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) performed
by witness to the arrest, plus prompt defibrillation by the Emergency
Medical System Thus, it is believed that more immediate access to CPR
and defibrillation would significantly enhance the survival rate in persons
suffering sudden cardiac arrest. This study will investigate whether training
and equipping non-medical personnel in the use of AEDs can help improve
survival and whether such a program is cost-effective.
The PAD Trial design calls for identification of individual study units
to be included in the Trial. A study unit might be an office building,
a retail store, an apartment complex, etc. A unit would be randomly assigned
either to CPR training or CPR training plus AED training. In the unit,
non-medical staff (such as security guards, residents or office workers)
would be recruited to be volunteer responders. Volunteers would be trained
and also would receive periodic refresher training. Each unit will participate
in the study for 15 months, beginning between September 2000 and January
2001, and all cardiac events occurring in the unit will be investigated.
Larger cooperative or condominium complexes would be well suited to take
part in this trial, as would a neighborhood housing many seniors in contiguous
buildings. If your building is interested in participating, contact CNYC,
which will forward your information to Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, which
is administering the program in this area.
At CNYC's 20th annual Housing Conference on Sunday, November 12, 2000
there will be a workshop on Meeting Special Needs of Frail and Elderly