Jersey City mulls stricter building inspections after Surfside collapse

Owners’ group warns of redundancy in bill being introduced Wednesday

Tri-State /
Jul.July 13, 2021 09:00 AM
Mayor Steven Fulop (Getty, iStock)

Mayor Steven Fulop (Getty, iStock)

Jersey City officials are seeking to ramp up building safety enforcement in response to the fatal condo collapse in South Florida.

Mayor Steven Fulop plans to introduce legislation Wednesday that would require periodic structural and facade inspections on certain buildings.

Under the ordinance, building owners would need to pay a licensed architect or engineer to conduct a facade inspection every five years for properties six stories or taller, or at least four stories with a masonry facade. Concrete residential and commercial buildings that rise six stories or more would need visual structural inspections every 10 years.

The measure is in response to the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, last month, which killed at least 90 people.

“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,” Fulop said in a statement. “There aren’t many policies in the state to protect in this area, so we’ll be introducing some locally.”

At the state level, residential buildings with three or more units and hotels already must be inspected every five years by the New Jersey Division of Community Affairs’ Bureau of Housing Inspection, though such evaluations focus on general building safety. Jersey City doesn’t require facade inspections, though its building code mandates that residential dwellings be “maintained in a structurally sound condition and in a state of good repair” and that exterior walls be “maintained so as to prevent its deterioration due to weather and insects and to preserve its appearance.”

Ron Simoncini, the executive director of the Jersey City Property Owners’ Association, said the mayor’s response to the disaster in Florida is “understandable,” but said New Jersey’s inspection program is already “among the most stringent in the United States.”

“The intent of Mayor Fulop’s proposed legislation is laudable and we certainly support the city’s desire to assure safety,” he said in a statement. “We view this proposal as a starting point, and in good faith, we will offer suggestions as to how building safety and structural integrity can be safeguarded while avoiding redundant activity and unnecessary additional costs.”

Jersey City is not the first locality to react to the Surfside collapse. More than three dozen in Palm Beach County are mulling new inspection requirements. New York state lawmakers are doing the same. In New York City, owners of buildings six stories or larger are already required to have their properties’ façades inspected by a licensed professional every five years.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Tishman Speyer, Goldman Sachs plan 2K units in Jersey City
    Tishman Speyer, Goldman Sachs plan 2K units in Jersey City
    Tishman Speyer, Goldman Sachs plan 2K units in Jersey City
    Silverstein's Larry Silverstein and KRE's Murray Kushner with 808 Pavonia Avenue (Studio V Design + Planning, Getty)
    Kushners, Silverstein team on Jersey City development
    Kushners, Silverstein team on Jersey City development
    Equity Residential CEO Mark Parrell and 70 Greene Street in Jersey City (Equity Residential, LVC Interiors, Getty Images)
    Equity Residential’s Jersey City tenants allege floods, faulty elevators
    Equity Residential’s Jersey City tenants allege floods, faulty elevators
    Mayor Steven Fulop (Mayor Steven Fulop)
    Jersey City needs developers to make its inclusionary housing work
    Jersey City needs developers to make its inclusionary housing work
    Marcus & Millichap Associate David Ferber in front of part of the 30-building, 319-unit portfolio concentrated in Jersey City (Marcus and Millichap, iStock)
    Hot rental market boosts NJ multifamily despite rate hikes
    Hot rental market boosts NJ multifamily despite rate hikes
    Jersey City mayor Steven Fulop, Kushner Companies' Nicole Kushner Meyer and render of One Journal Square (Getty Images, Kushner Companies)
    “Charlie, we did it”: Kushner breaks ground on long-delayed towers
    “Charlie, we did it”: Kushner breaks ground on long-delayed towers
    5000 Corporate Court in Holtsville, NY (JLL, iStock)
    Tri-state deal roundup: RXR, Veris, CBRE, Lidl make waves
    Tri-state deal roundup: RXR, Veris, CBRE, Lidl make waves
    3 New York Avenue in Jersey City, NJ (Google Maps, iStock)
    Developers land $97M for Jersey City multifamily
    Developers land $97M for Jersey City multifamily
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...