Bloomberg pushes tougher NYC building codes

A task force convened after Superstorm Sandy has proposed 33 changes in the city's building standards. That's in addition to a $20 billion infrastructure plan.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jun 21, 2013 12:54PM
Carpenter working on house. © Markus Moellenberg/zefa/CorbisNew York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pushing major changes in the city’s building code in the wake of the destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy.
Most of the proposals would apply only to new construction, though some are considered so important they are recommended for existing buildings.
"Sandy clearly underscored why we need to protect our buildings," Bloomberg said at a news conference, as reported by The New York Times. "We learned a lot, and we want to make sure we won’t forget those lessons."
In addition to proposing changes in the building code, the mayor is pushing a $20 billion plan to strengthen the city’s infrastructure, including building seawalls and levees, creating dunes and adding to wetlands.
The building code proposal was drawn up by the Building Resiliency Task Force, convened after the storm to evaluate New York City’s rules. The task force made 33 recommendations, some of which require City Council approval.
The task force concluded that some improvements were important enough to deem them necessary for existing multifamily and commercial buildings. Some of those recommendations came out of the realization that New Yorkers may have to live days or weeks in buildings without power after a major storm. Those include requiring emergency lights in hallways and stairwells and requiring faucets on lower floors so residents can still get water if the pumps quit working in a power failure.
Owners of existing single-family homes, duplexes and triplexes would not be subject to any new requirements until they did major renovations. Then they would be required to use better window and door fasteners and wind-resistant windows. The plan also recommends that homes be anchored to their foundations, The Staten Island Advance reported, though that will not be required.


"Nobody should be coming back to the neighborhood because of being evacuated for flooding and see their house lying in the street," Russell Unger, executive director of the Urban Green Council, told The Advance.

The response of other cities and states after natural disasters has been mixed when it came to building code changes. Florida, for example, significantly strengthened some rules after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but most of the state refused to go along with stricter rules adopted in South Florida. Municipalities in Oklahoma have taken few steps to strengthen building codes after devastating tornadoes.


Bloomberg wants to make sure he turns NYC into the new california before they throw him out of office.
Aug 24, 2013 4:26PM
 More leaching democrats with clip boards and pockets full of your tax money.
Aug 24, 2013 4:24PM

These idiot elected politicians will never learn that you cannot from some imperial ivory tower legislate or regulate everything to the point that nothing bad or harmful will never happen to anyone. The short answer is to have insurance, insurance is for having a fallback when bad things happen. If someone chooses not to have insurance and a bad thing happens they lost. The flip side is that for us that bear the burden of paying insurance premiums, if nothing bad happens we lose. Liberals cannot wrap their minds around the fact that their are some things beyond their control, specifically natural events. The media is complicit in this, reference the comment above about lack of code changes in response to

devastating tornadoes. To make a residential structure structurally sound enough to withstand a direct hit from a tornado you would increase the cost to build a 1000 square foot rambler to probably somewhere around 1500.00/ square foot or a total of 1.5 million dollars. Nobody could afford it so the same idiots who created the regulation and cost structure would want to raise taxes to offer taxpayer funded subsidies to enable potential homeowners to be able to buy the 1.5 million dollar rambler.

Every crisis and problem existing in this country that appears to have no answer was created by some form of government action. If all the politicians and bureaucrats were not so stupid and corrupt the simple answer to their various revenue shortfalls, high unemployment , failed social programs, failed wars (on drugs, on poverty, Vietnam, Afghanistan, on illiteracy etc etc) could be found by looking inward and reading a statement made in the comic strip Pogo (he was a possum) years ago.

"We have met the enemy and it is us".

Aug 24, 2013 4:02PM
Given the kind of  leadership bloomberg offers, I can't help but wonder if he considers Detroit a model to follow.

Aug 24, 2013 11:27AM
This Liberal run city will get it right no matter how much of other peoples money they have to spend
Aug 24, 2013 8:46AM
That should raise the median price about $25k
Aug 24, 2013 7:00AM
the greedy municipalities that issue permits to build on sand dunes by the beach, wilderness forest likely to suffer natural burns, building on wetlands, etc....should be held liable for damages when nature takes these lands back and destroys what is built on shouldn't be a taxpayer problem....just don't issue building permits on those lands.....keep it simple stupid!
Aug 24, 2013 5:56AM
Bloomberg is a tyrant and should be treated like a tyrant!
Aug 24, 2013 5:10AM
Its one thing to pass tougher building codes, but many builders don't follow them all. Inspectors don't actually look at every detail in every home, they do cursory walkthroughs which usually result in many items being missed. Force builders to give 30 year warranties and then you'll see a difference.
Aug 24, 2013 2:54AM

Insurance companies continue to keep a stranglehold on building codes and those who have the power to enact them. To be clear, I think on one hand it's a good idea. But on the other if not thoughtfully and carefully implemented it can tack enormous extra added costs to already high big apple building costs which in turn will prevent many people from building a home.

I think insurance companies woo the mayor and anyone else they can sway into tougher codes so they don't have to pay out money when natural disasters and other things occur that create claims. Think about it...who does it effect most when claims are made on homeowners insurance?  Insurance companies/corporations have a LOT of influential people in their pockets.......sadly. A lot of those influential people most likely have chunks of stock in certain insurance companies. Things happen for a reason....always. And most times the reason boils down to the dollar and getting things/laws done that will increase those the expense of consumers.  

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