April 2, 2018

(Published May 20, 2016 and Updated June 7, 2016, June 16, 2016, October 31, 2016, June 7, 2017, March 27, 2018 and April 2, 2018

*Update: April 2, 2018*

Cleveland City Council voted to remove the Sunset Clause.

What does this mean?

It is a procedural move that City Council was required to do in accordance with the original text of the ordinance. This was essentially a "check & balance" measure where the Department of Building & Housing was required to report to City Council that they were in fact taking steps to enforce the law.

For building owners & managers: there is no alteration to the facade inspection law. Buildings over the age of 30 years that are above a certain height (5 stories or 75 feet - whichever is shorter) must still file their inspection reports with the City every 5 years.

*Update: March 27, 2018*

The Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee within Cleveland City Council voted to remove the Sunset Clause from the facade inspection ordinance.

*Update: June 7, 2017*

Michael Nagle (Associate Principal for WJE in Cleveland) participated in an Ask the Expert session today to update BOMA Greater Cleveland members on the facade inspection ordinance that was enacted by the City of Cleveland last year.

Here is a copy of his presentation.

*Update: October 31st, 2016*

Click to view a PowerPoint presentation that Commissioner Tom Vanover (Department of Building & Housing) put together for a Facade Forum that BOMA and DCA co-hosted on October 28th.
The form building owners are required to submit to the Department of Building & Housing are now available online. Click here to view.

Many cities throughout the country require periodic inspections of building facades. Two incidents in downtown Cleveland during 2015 prompted City Council to introduce legislation requiring them.

"Cleveland considers facade-inspection law, after Garfield Building incident"

"Debris falls from facade of downtown building for 2nd time this year"

From the very beginning BOMA staff was in frequent communication with (now former) Councilman Joe Cimperman, the sponsor of the legislation. Graciously, Councilman Cimperman spearheaded a transparent process and even spoke frankly with BOMA's Government Affairs Committee in June 2015. Councilman Cimperman made it clear that "doing nothing" was not an option - the City of Cleveland needed to put forth a facade inspection requirement to ensure the safety of residents, workers, and visitors.

BOMA worked closely with the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA) to lead the lobbying effort on behalf of property owners and managers within the City of Cleveland. BOMA and DCA worked together with Councilman Cimperman and City Council staff for months to craft what became the facade inspection requirement. NAIOP Northern Ohio was also instrumental in the legislative efforts.

"Proposed City Ordinance will Mandate Building Facade Inspections"

After the initial draft of the legislation was released BOMA and DCA relied on feedback from their respective leadership and Government Affairs/Advocacy Committees to offer suggestions on how to improve the proposal. Here are some of the main suggestions BOMA and DCA made that were eventually incorporated into the finished legislation:

  • Specify that a "general" inspection is required - a "detailed" inspection is only required if unsafe conditions are found
  • Clarify the definition of a "qualified inspector"
  • Create a phase-in process where the oldest buildings are required to be inspected first
  • Ensure that buildings that have undergone recent inspections and/or facade work can receive credit for it
  • Eliminate the requirement for certification of the facade inspection to be framed under glass at all building entrances

Another major change that appeared in the final version of the bill was for the facade inspection requirement to "sunset." This means that after the law has been in effect for one year the Department of Building & Housing must present a status report to City Council and after two years City Council must reauthorize the law.

Here are the key points of the law (read the full version of the law here) that was passed by City Council on April 4, 2016:

  • Buildings that meet the below characteristics must have their facades inspected every five years
    • Buildings 5 stories tall (or 75 feet tall - whichever is shorter)
    • Buildings that are over 30 years old
      • Buildings 50+ years old must complete the initial inspection within 12 months
      • Buildings 30-50 years old must complete the initial inspection within 24 months
  • Facade inspections must follow the ASTM E2270-14 standard
    • A "general" inspection is required initially
      • Visual observation of facade components from distances equal to or greater than 6 feet with or without magnification or remote optical devices
    • A "detailed" inspection is required should unsafe conditions be found
      • Visual observation from less than 6 feet and tactile evaluation of facade components, including probing and non-destructive testing to observe concealed conditions of wall construction

"Cleveland City Council approves facade-inspection requirement for buildings"

"Facade Inspections Mandate Adopted - With Sunset Clause"

As the City's Department of Building & Housing finalizes rules for the facade inspection requirement we will update this article accordingly.

For this article we asked associate members of BOMA Greater Cleveland to provide any educational pieces they may have about facade inspections. We received responses from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., RAM USA, Carl Walker, Inc., and Grunwell-Cashero Co.

www.facadeordinance.com from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

"Facade Ordinances: Inspection, Maintenance, Repair" from an Ask the Expert sponsored by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

"Services & Maintenance: Think Outside the Box" from RAM USA and Jones Lang LaSalle

"The New ‘Façade Ordinance’ and Asset Management" from Carl Walker, Inc.

"Condition Assessment of Masonry Buildings From the Contractor’s Perspective" from Grunwell-Cashero Co.

Below is a list of all BOMA Greater Cleveland associate members that can assist your building with façade inspections:

Grunwell-Cashero Co.

Rep: Frank Caspio

216-432-1488 fcaspio@grunwell-cashero.com


Rep: Tom Mowry

440-665-9813 tmowry@ram-usa.com

THP Limited, Inc

Rep: Sara Peters

(216) 553-4972 speters@thpltd.com

Western Specialty Contractors

Rep: Jeff Knittel

216-485-1540 jeffreyk@westernspecialtycontractors.com

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Rep: Dave Cheyne

216-642-2300 dcheyne@wje.com

Category: General News

Tags: architects, Cimperman, City Council, Cleveland, engineers, Facade, facade inspection