11.

Prevent Wind Damage to Existing Buildings

Enacted
Implemented

Legislation at a Glance

11: Prevent Wind Damage

Implemented

Local Law 101 of 2013

Summary

High winds can cause flying debris to break windows and louvers, and force rainwater into building systems. This law improves the wind resistance of new or renovated buildings by requiring impact-resistant windows in certain particularly sensitive buildings in wind-prone areas. In addition, all buildings must have rain- and impact-resistant louvers.

New Requirements or Changes

Effective: These requirements will take effect at the same time as the pending law that will revise the NYC building, mechanical, fuel gas and plumbing codes in order to bring them into line with the 2009 edition of the international version of those codes (currently, Intro 1056-2013).

The requirements of this legislation will apply to new buildings, and to renovations that trigger the applicable sections of the building or mechanical code.

NYC Building Code, Section 1609.1.2

NYC Building Code places each building in both a Structural Occupancy Category (based on the building’s use) and an Exposure Category (based on its location and susceptibility to strong winds). This law requires that the windows of buildings of certain occupancy types located in wind-prone exposures must be protected with ASTM-compliant impact-resistant covering or glass. It will apply to:

  • Hospitals, garages for emergency vehicles, emergency shelters, power stations, and other buildings designated as essential facilities that are located in designated coastal zones or within 2,600 feet of designated shorelines. In practice, this regulation will be applicable to most of the Manhattan shoreline and along most of the shorelines of the other boroughs.  
  • Places of public assembly for over 300 occupants, schools over 250 occupants, colleges over 500 occupants, health care facilities over 50 occupants (but without surgery or emergency care), any occupancy over 5,000 people (such as jails), and water treatment and similar utility facilities located within designated coastal zones. There are no areas of Manhattan covered by this regulation, but it will be applicable along the eastern shore of the Bronx from Pelham Bay Park to the Whitestone Bridge; the southern shores of Brooklyn and Queens from the Verrazano Bridge to the border of Nassau County; and the south side of Staten Island from St. George to Tottenville.

The requirement for impact-resistant glass will apply only to the lowest 60 feet of a building, unless there are aggregate-surfaced roofs within 1,500 feet, in which case the impact-resistant glass must be in place to a height at least 30 feet above such roof.

NYC Building Code, Section 1609.1.2.1

Louvers protecting intake and exhaust ventilation ducts not assumed to be open and within 30 feet of grade must meet ASTM or another approved standard for impact resistance.

NYC Building Code, Section 1609.1.2.2

Garage door windows must meet the impact resistance requirements of ANSI or another approved standard.

NYC Mechanical Code Section 401.6.1

All exterior louvers for building ventilation systems must meet a certain minimum rating for resistance to wind-driven rain, or be installed on a plenum that would intercept the rain and prevent it from entering the ductwork.

NYC Mechanical Code Section 501.2.2.1

All exterior louvers for building exhaust systems must meet a certain minimum rating for resistance to wind-driven rain, or be installed on a plenum that would intercept the rain and prevent it from entering the ductwork.

Enforcement

The Department of Buildings will enforce these requirements as part of its normal inspection process.

Implementation

There are no known issues with implementing these recommendations. The required components and materials are widely available.