Office of Facilities Planning
Newsletter #41 Ė July 2003


Special Inspections:

In Chapter 17 of the Building Code of New York State there are structural inspections and tests required during construction. Even though this chapter is called "Special Inspections" they are not related to special circumstances. These are structural inspections and required for all new buildings or building additions. We will eventually have requirements in place that every project professional will be required to follow. In the meantime, we would like all designers to begin implementation of these requirements for every project as soon as possible if they havenít already. Our requirements will be to provide for the inspections and the Substantial Completion Report will be altered to recognize the inspections. Please become familiar with this code section if you are not already, so our new requirements arenít a surprise.

Any designer wishing to e-mail their suggested inspection requirements that they are or will be adding to their documents may do so at any time. It will be helpful to hear your suggestions for the inspection requirements and the methods you feel should be included for compliance with the code.

Alternative to an Elevator Vestibule

Everybody owes a thank you to three gentlemen from EYP for bringing this piece of information to our attention, Nikolas Dando-Haenisch, Rob Lopez and Paul Stockert. There is an alternative to making a vestibule on elevators as required in the Building Code of New York State, section 707.14.1. Adding a smoke guard will comply with number two of the exceptions listed. Here is a link to the ICC approval of this smoke guard.

Commissioner's 155.5 Regulations and the Exiting Plan During Construction:

The RESCUE Regulations have been in effect since October 7, 1999. On our web site we have provided the "Checklist of items required by 155.5 to appear in contract documents"

Beginning July 1, 2001 we required that all projects would be required to have one single specification section or sub-section addressing the Commissioner's 155.5 Regulations. This specification section or sub-section will address these requirements only, nothing else should be in this section and every requirement must be in this section. This section must be paper-clipped when you send it to SED.

We still have many clarifications necessary regarding the exiting plans submitted for approval. This exiting plan is required for all construction that will block an exit door. The exiting plan must be sealed by a licensed architect of engineer. It must include information to resolve any exterior and interior obstructions that effect exiting the building. The basic premise of this plan is that all construction workers and equipment should be completely separated from exits and spaces used by students or school staff.

On the plan or plans show the following: 1) Construction fences for staging areas, storage, areas around the construction and gates; 2) Overhead protection of exits as necessary; 3) Construction workers entrances to the building to provide separation of workers from occupants and 4) Construction barriers. All barriers must be noncombustible with a minimum of one-hour fire protection.

As you design this plan, be careful of the exiting. All exits outside the building must have a walk-able "sidewalk" surface. Sidewalks can be gravel, asphalt or concrete. Unattended surfaces that can become mud or ice are not acceptable. Sidewalks must be provided from every door from a corridor or assembly space and the sidewalks must be maintained, cleared of snow, and be protected from construction activity. If the sidewalks lead through the construction area then a fence must be provided on each side of the sidewalk to keep it independent of the construction area. All rescue windows must still be accessible from the exterior and cannot exit into a fenced-in construction area. All of this also applies inside courtyards that are being made as a result of construction.

If the exiting plan depends on phasing items over the summer when the school is not occupied, this needs to be provided on the plan. Prior to deciding to do this the school district must be consulted to be sure the building will not be occupied for summer school or by staff. Occupied portions of the building can still be partitioned off if the exiting is code compliant.

This plan must be approved by our office prior to project approval. Therefore, if the Construction Manager is designing it we need the plan as part of the submission for approval. You may not delegate this responsibility to the contractor.

An Index of our Newsletters is available on our web site at

If you would like to have this Newsletter sent directly to you by e-mail, please send your e-mail address to Joe Levy at

Please continue to send in your comments and requests. If you have a subject you would like addressed, feedback on the material you read, input or general comments we are happy to hear from you.