Lineage of the New York City Construction Code

NYC DOB Code RevisionOver the past month, I’ve spoken to numerous engineers in New York City who all mentioned the pressing need to get construction documents filed before the end of the year. For design professionals, building developers and owners, filing by 2015 avoids the need to be in compliance with the new 2014 NYC Construction Code. Intrigued to find out more about the changes, I dug around on the NYC Department of Buildings website.  What first caught my eye was a video presentation by Helen Gitelson, Executive Director of the Code Development Unit.  The 14 minute clip is about the code revision process that leads off with the history, or rather lineage, of NYC code changes.  Inspired by an old Fred Wilson blog, I believe lineage is important.  In this case, lineage refers to understanding how and why the construction code is what it is today.

After 9/11,  a Commission was formed by Mayor Giuliani and tasked with updating the construction code.   At this point, the current code dated back to 1968 – almost 40 years old.  The Mayoral Commission recommended to follow the International Code Council (ICC) codes and allow for periodic revisions with input from key stakeholders of the industry.  The first revision was made six years ago – the 2008 NYC Construction Code.

After a two year review process and based on the 2009 ICC codes, the 2014 NYC Construction Code is the first “periodic” revision made.   A lot of the resources on the NYC DOB website state that October 1, 2014 is the effective date.  The DOB pushed this date back and the new code is now effective as of December 31, 2014.