Master the 2022 NYC Code Changes

New York City's 2022 code changes went into effect on Nov. 7. Our team of code experts got together to analyze the new code to understand how the upcoming changes will affect a variety of project types.

Commercial interiors

One major commercial interior change introduced by the new building code relates to elevators and hoistway vents. The new code eliminates an older provision requiring smoke vents to be equivalent to 3.33% or a minimum of three square feet of the size of elevator hoistway. The elimination was due to the prior use of technologies that were deemed more harmful than effective.

The code also aims to address changes in the use of rooftop terraces. These structures have become more of an amenity as they have gained popularity over the years. The new code requires that the occupant load factor for occupied terraces that are accessory to business uses must be 100 gross square feet per occupant.

Fire protection

The new code updates also introduce a series of changes related to fire protection and fire alarms. Provisions for specific occupancy types include:

  • Group A: Occupancies with 300 or more persons will be treated in the aggregate as opposed to single rooms or spaces when a fire barrier is not provided between each room and space.
  • Group E: K-12 educational occupancies will be required to have a one-way communication system when there are more than 100 persons in the occupancy or building.
  • Group S: Storage occupancies will be required to have a fire alarm system where there is a fire area or aggregate fire area regardless of the occupant load of the space (previously this was only required for areas that constituted 300 or more persons).
  • Group I-1: The smoke alarm requirement has been eliminated from Group I-1 occupancies, but it remains for dwelling units in certain types of occupancies (specifically Group R-2 and R-3).

Additionally, there are new carbon monoxide detector requirements for specified occupancy types and uses.

Construction safety enhancements

The 2022 code also updates safety guardrails with respect to construction and demolition of buildings. New laws seeking to enhance construction safety include:

  • Local Law 163 allows certain types of artwork to be installed on sidewalk sheds, construction fences and construction scaffolds.
  • Local Law 149 limits the number of building jobs assigned to each construction superintendent to a maximum of five jobs (a reduction from 10 in the previous law). This limit will eventually be reduced to one job by 2027.
  • Local Law 147 changes the definition of a major building to one that is seven or more stories in height, 75 feet or more in height, and 100,000 square feet in area. This law will go into effect Dec. 11, 2024.

Healthcare facilities

While many of the code changes related to healthcare facilities were put in motion before the COVID-19 pandemic, they reflect a healthcare industry that has changed substantially over the previous few years.

One change in particular relates to ambulatory care. Ambulatory care facilities (i.e., doctor's offices) were previously required to have a sprinkler, fire alarm and smoke compartment in an area of refuge if it was 10,000 square feet or more. A new provision now requires ambulatory facilities with four or more people who are incapacitated to have fire partitions to separate those users from the rest of the facility.


One provision that is applicable to most buildings but especially relevant to retail uses regards a previous accessibility exception. Under older regulations, existing buildings with a grade difference of 18 inches or more were not required to provide an accessible entrance. That exception has been removed.

To help compensate for this update, limited-use/limited-application (LULA) elevators are now explicitly allowed for both buildings and spaces 10,000 square feet or less (this provision only previously applied to buildings).

Residential amenity spaces

The new building code will make important changes to residential amenity spaces (i.e. lounges, gyms, swimming pools, etc.), which are an emerging trend for tenants. In particular, the code will clarify how to calculate occupant loads for amenity spaces. The code currently uses a floor area/occupant or density calculation set at 200 gross square feet per person.

This figure is intended for apartments but doesn't track with how amenity spaces are used. The 2022 code will introduce an occupant density of 15 net square feet per person for concentrated residential amenity spaces.


The 2022 building code will introduce new floodproofing special inspection requirements. In some cases, active floodproofing that requires human intervention will now be permitted as an appropriate means of floodproofing a structure. This requires a flood emergency plan that designates a person responsible for installing the floodshields and who has knowledge of procedures, equipment and sufficient warning times.

Floodproofing will be required to be monitored by a special inspection agency. The agency's responsibilities include inspecting the location of the flood shields in their stored positions, how they are moved to installed positions, and how they are deactivated and transported back to storage.

Special inspections

The code also introduces a few new requirements for special inspections. For example, the code recognizes that exterior insulation finishing systems (EIFS) need to be inspected to assure a means of drainage over a water-resistant barrier.

The new code will require combustible exterior wall coverings (i.e. foam, plastic insulation) to be inspected to prevent the spread of fire up the building's exterior.

Parking garage inspections

A new inspection program aims to protect the public from parking structure failure through routine maintenance of these facilities. The law requires an assessment to be performed by a professional engineer and a report to be filed with the DOB every six years. An inspection checklist must be developed by the engineer for an annual observation in addition to the assessment.

The above list is by no means exhaustive, and there are many other changes that could affect your construction projects. Contact our team at Milrose Consultants with any other questions you may have regarding the NYC's upcoming building code.