FACADE ASSESSMENT

& CERTIFICATION

Our lengthy portfolio of completed inspections provides us with the experience and knowledge to assess your building envelope’s conditions accurately. We help you document existing conditions, scope repairs, and develop cost estimates. We employ a variety of techniques, including visual observations, core sampling, material testing, leak investigation and water testing to ensure your building facades are safe, water-tight, and to maximize the service life of your asset.

We employ a variety of techniques, including visual observations, core sampling, material testing, leak investigation and water testing to ensure your building facades are safe, water-tight, and to maximize the service life of your asset.

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We help you document existing conditions, scope repairs, and develop cost estimates.

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In addition to the performance of the inspection, EM reviews the building’s maintenance and repair history to understand how it has been performing over the years to identify areas that may warranty closer analysis or problematic trends where reoccurring issues may still exist, or failures may be likely in the future.

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We employ a variety of techniques, including visual observations, core sampling, material testing, leak investigation and water testing to ensure your building facades are safe, water-tight, and to maximize the service life of your asset.

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Ordinance 9-9.12 (amended June 29, 2022) has the following requirements:

  • Scope: all occupied buildings over 70 ft high or any exterior wall of an unoccupied building, of over thirty-five thousand (35 000) cubic feet must be inspected for unsafe conditions, movement, significant deterioration, and water tightness (single and multiple family dwellings excluded)

  • Frequency: once every five years for occupied buildings and once per year for unoccupied buildings

  • Inspector: Massachusetts registered architect or engineer

  • Report: written report prepared by the inspector documenting the condition of the exterior walls and filed with the City

  • Consequence: owners of occupied structures without an exterior wall certificate are subject to a fine of $300 per day

The report must include:

The report shall include, on the front page, the name and license number of the Registered Professional and shall be signed, sealed and dated by the Registered Professional in accordance with the professional registration laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and shall include:

 

  1. The address and the location from the nearest intersection.

  2. The name, mailing address, telephone number and email address of the owner of the building and of the owner's agent or person in charge, possession or control of the building, if any.

  3. A description of the building, including number of stories, height, plan dimensions, usage, age and type of exterior wall construction, and system of water management.

  4. A brief history of any settlements, repairs, revisions to exterior enclosures, if available.

  5. The date of the start and completion of the inspection, a detailed description of the procedures used in making the inspection, and the extent and location of all physical inspections performed.

  6. A report of all conditions including but not limited to significant deterioration and movement observed as well as a statement concerning the apparent water-tightness of the exterior surfaces, and the deleterious effect of exterior appurtenances, including exterior fixtures, flagpoles, signs, parapets, copings, guard rails, window frames (including hardware and lights), window guards, window air conditioners, flower boxes, and similar items. The report shall classify each such condition as Safe, Unsafe, or Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program.

  7. The probable causes of the reported conditions.

  8. The status of the exterior maintenance.

  9. For any conditions listed in the previously filed report (if any), whether such conditions have been repaired and/or maintained as recommended in that report.

  10. Recommendations for repairs or maintenance, if appropriate, including the recommended time frame for the repairs or maintenance to be performed.

  11. The classification of the building according to the following scheme:

    1. "Unsafe", if there is at least one Unsafe Condition.

    2. "Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program", if there is a condition that is "Safe with Repair and Maintenance Program" and there are no Unsafe conditions.

    3. "Safe", in all cases other than (a) or (b).

  12. Photographs and/or sketches documenting the locations of any conditions that are either Unsafe or Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program.

  13. A statement by the Registered Professional indicating which repairs and/or maintenance require the obtaining of work permits prior to their commencement.

  14. A statement signed by the owner or agent of the building, acknowledging receipt of a copy of the report and acknowledging all required repairs and/or maintenance (if any) and the recommended time frame for performing such repairs and/or maintenance.

  15. The Registered Professional's certification that the physical inspection was performed in accordance with applicable rules and regulations and within the appropriate professional standard of care.

  16. The Registered Professional's seal and signature.

  17. Such other matters as the Commissioner may by regulation require

According to Boston’s Façade Ordinance 9.9‐12, occupied high-rise structures greater than 70 feet in height, must be inspected once every 5 years or every year if the building is unoccupied. The ordinance is in place to identify high priority waterproofing issues and to offer life-safety protection to pedestrians against injuries and/or death from failed or compromised façade components falling from buildings. The inspection is overseen and certified by a licensed Inspectional Services Department architect or engineer.

 

Ordinance 9-9.12 (amended June 29, 2022) has the following general requirements:

 

  • Scope: any exterior wall of a building over seventy (70') feet in height, or classified as a high rise structure, or any exterior wall of an unoccupied building, of over thirty-five thousand (35 000) cubic feet must be inspected for unsafe condition, movement, significant deterioration, and water tightness (single and multiple family dwellings excluded).

  • Frequency: once every five years for occupied buildings and once per year for unoccupied buildings. Any building that has been substantially improved within the preceding five (5) years, is not be required to be inspected for ten (10) years following the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy by the Department.

  • Inspector: Massachusetts registered architect or engineer. The inspector determines the extent of the inspection required, based upon reviewing the past 5 years of known history of the building, the nature of the materials used, and the conditions observed. The Registered Professional shall determine methods employed in the inspection, but need not be physically present at the location where the inspection is made.

  • Report: written report prepared by EM’s inspector documenting the condition of the exterior walls to be filed with the application to the City within 30 days of the inspection. The report will include a classification of the building according to the following:

a.    "Unsafe", if there is at least one Unsafe Condition.

b.    "Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program".
c.    "Safe", in all cases other than (a) or (b).

  • Non-compliance consequences: owners of occupied structures without an exterior wall certificate are subject to a fine of $300 per day (additional fees & fines may also apply). Each day constitutes a separate offense. 

After having received satisfactory proof and certification of the completion of a commercial façade inspection and any unsafe or high priority issues identified have been documented and corrected, the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) Commissioner issues an exterior wall certificate to the owner/ manager of occupied/unoccupied building for display indicating compliance and re-certifying an occupied building for the next 5 years. No building structure referenced in can be occupied without this certificate. The occupancy of such a structure without a valid certificate is an offense that could lead to a citation and fine of one hundred ($300.00) dollars from the governing authority for each day that such violation continues.


By inspecting and certifying your facades, Elements Management can help you stay in compliance & increase the life of your investment.
 

Inspectional Services:
Elements Management (EM) conducts façade assessments and inspections to look for, identify, and document issues or conditions leading to problems in the future. Following the façade survey, EM suggests repair and replacement recommendations (if required), not only to help the Owner stay in compliance with the Façade Ordinance but to increase the life of the asset.

 

EM conducts both general and detailed visual inspections, where our engineers physically assess building components with the use of cameras and telephoto lens, analyzing the condition and stability of the wall components. This visual inspection is typically acceptable for buildings that are less than 125 feet in height. For buildings over 125 feet, the city of Boston ordinance mandates a close-up inspection by bosun chair, swing staging or other means of a minimum quantity of one drop per façade. EM (or the Owner) employs the services of a qualified contractor or window washing company to perform drops of the façade to gain close access for inspection. The actual quantity of recommended drops is unique to each building geometry and a variety of other considerations determined by a comprehensive understanding of the observed conditions elsewhere, historical building performance/ maintenance/repairs, and former inspection information.

 

During inspection, Elements Management generally performs the following activities:

 

  • Reviews plans and specifications for general understanding and to help focus survey to problem areas.

  • Uses binoculars to scan walls for large-scale problems.

  • Conducts a hands-on inspection of representative areas on each face of the façade.

  • Sounds-out materials to evaluate internal cohesion and pulled on adhered materials to evaluate attachment.

  • Surveys interior areas for signs of water damage and interview maintenance personnel on leak history.


Building service history review:
In addition to the performance of the inspection, EM reviews the building’s maintenance and repair history to understand how it has been performing over the years to identify areas that may warranty closer analysis or problematic trends where reoccurring issues may still exist, or failures may be likely in the future.

Detailed Façade Inspection Report:
Once the commercial façade safety inspection is complete, EM provides the ownership team with a detailed written report describing issues found, approximate quantities, locations, and severities of issues and associated data analysis. Typically included in the report are marked-up elevation drawings and/or photographs of sufficient detail to illustrate the locations and approximate quantities of the issues observed and described. The report highlights high priority waterproofing issues, life safety issues, or suspect conditions that require further investigation. 
Equipped with this information, EM will work with the Owner to identify those issues that must be corrected prior to the submission of the façade certification application to the city’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD), due within 30 days of inspection.

 

Required corrective repair work following inspection (if applicable):

If conditions warrant corrective action, and after scope review with the Ownership team, EM will then be in a position to provide architecture, engineering, and consulting services to develop design options, refine the required scope of work and necessary repairs, construction documents, bid management (if required), and construction administration oversight to correct identified problems. Once the required issues have been resolved, EM will certify the facades for compliance with our registered architect’s professional review and seal and assist the Owner in preparing the official application document package to the city of Boston ISD department with the required filing fee for issuance of a certificate.

Why Choose Elements Management?
EM offers clarity and accuracy to our clients minimizing ambiguity, anticipating unforeseen conditions, and improving overall project outcomes. We make sure that the quality and quantity of the desired work is clearly defined and communicated upfront. Our services are tailored to your goals, capital building management plan, and financial objectives, so you can make the informed decisions to maximizing the health and longevity of your assets.

Want to consult a building envelope inspection expert in Boston? Give us a call today!

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