Council Approves Requirement for Self-Closing Doors Inspections

Image credit: New York City Council.

The bill is a part of the Council’s response to the Twin Parks tragedy this past January. On June 2, 2022, the City Council voted to approve Int. 208-A, a bill that requires increased inspections for self-closing doors in multiple dwelling buildings. The bill is sponsored by Council Member Nantasha Williams. Int. 208-A is the most recent in a series of bills passed by the City Council in response to the tragic Twin Parks fire in January 2022, in which 17 people were tragically killed by smoke inhalation from a fire that spread due to the failure of a self-closing door.

Local Law 111 of 2018 requires multiple dwelling buildings to have doors providing access to stairs or interior corridors with a self-closing apparatus. Failure to provide a functioning self-closing door is considered an “immediately hazardous” violation, in which landlords will have two weeks to correct the issue. Int. 208-A will require the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to select 300 buildings annually for inspection for self-closing door compliance, in addition to compliance with requirements for posting fire safety information for residents. 

The criteria for selecting these buildings will be determined by HPD but will include buildings identified in consultation with the Fire Department. Buildings that are inspected do not need to be inspected again for five years. Buildings that are in HPD’s alternative enforcement program or that are the subject of a court order requiring an administrator to take control of the building to make necessary repairs are not subject to inspection under this bill, as these buildings will already be inspected for safety hazards. 

In addition, the bill requires HPD to submit an annual report to the City Council and Mayor, and post for public viewing, that details the findings of that year’s inspections. The report will include the building’s address; owner; number of floors; when the inspection occurred and whether the building could be accessed; and the number of violations discovered and corrected. 

Under the new law, HPD will have until July 1st to provide the Fire Department access to all records of fire safety violations issued by HPD from January 2017 to the present. The sharing of information between agencies will help improve inspections for both HPD and the Fire Department. 

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, “Following the tragedy at the Twin Parks North West residential building in the Bronx, it is imperative that we continue to take meaningful and impactful actions to safeguard the lives of all New Yorkers. Strengthening inspection processes for self-closing doors will ultimately save lives, especially in higher risk buildings.”

Council Member Williams stated, “Residents deserve to live in buildings that take steps toward security and safety. I’m proud to be the bill sponsor of Int 208-A, which will require landlords to maintain self-closing doors on all residential floors and to post-fire safety notices in residential buildings. This bill will provide families reassurance and ensure that landlords are held accountable for the safety of their tenants.”

By: By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



One thought on “Council Approves Requirement for Self-Closing Doors Inspections

  1. HPD does not train their inspectors in the NFPA codes that govern doors. Nor do they feel the need to train them. Sadly, there is more to a fire rated door than being self closing.. It also has to be without gaps or that could cause the fire door to fail. Additionally, if there is work done on the fire rated door, that too has to be with fire rated materials. HPD ignores. Our fire doors have clearance and gap issues. We also had gaps between the wall and door frame. HPDs accepted repair was expanding foam, they dont care if said foam is fire rated. Where the FDNY does take issue with our gaps and wants to ensure the expanding foam was fire rated. SO doors that HPD say are FINE the FDNY say will fail in the event of a fire. HPD not training their inspectors is problematic and dangerous . How is HPD to enforce our safety codes if they’re not trained in them? As I write this, HPD refuses to write violations for the gaps around our fire door AND has told me that the type of foam doesn’t matter. So if there is a fire, not only will our doors fail but the FDNY will also have to deal with a ring of toxic burning foam. The NFPA class is 1 1/2 hours, why not train our inspectors so they can actually ensure our fire safety codes are being enforced?

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