New York City recently made over 600 major updates and thousands of smaller changes to its construction codes—the first such wholesale revamping since 2014.
The changes are “intended to improve safety for New Yorkers, and incorporate the latest in building technologies,” according to a statement from the city. “The new codes use the highest international standards for the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings as a baseline, while continuing our city’s proud tradition of implementing additional enhancements to ensure we have among the strongest building regulations anywhere in the world.”
· Increased material choices available to builders by expanding the use of sustainable building materials such as cross-laminated timber and structural composite lumber.
· Expansion of the applicability of flood zone requirements of the 100-year flood hazard area to all critical facilities (including fire, rescue, ambulance, police stations, and designated emergency shelters) located in the 500-year flood zone.
· Policies to support the use of alternative energy production processes including hydrogen fuel cells.
· Clear compliance criteria for elevator systems to ensure greater accessibility and usability for building occupants with physical and intellectual/developmental disabilities.
· Reduction of the required 8-foot basement clearance height for two-family homes to 7 feet to increase affordable housing opportunities.
· Permission to use netting, low barriers, and chain link fencing in lieu of solid fencing that creates blind tunnels for pedestrians.
· Creation of a new license type for advanced crane technology, such as articulating boom cranes and roto-telehandlers.
The updated code requirements will go into effect next year, with some regulations taking effect on Jan. 1, 2022.