- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - After the upper edge of a historic downtown building sent crumbling debris to a Cleveland sidewalk, city officials are considering a program that requires property owners to pay for exterior inspections every five years.

If the city decides to implement a facade-inspection requirement, it would join nine other cities. Most have created inspection laws after falling debris caused injury or death, The Plain Dealer reported (http://bit.ly/1FZs0sk).

In April, a deteriorating parapet wall at the decades-old Garfield Building on East Sixth street crumbled, releasing several bricks that fell on a Toyota minivan parked at a meter. The vehicle was empty and no one was injured.

“Saying that East Sixth Street was a miracle is not enough,” said Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman, who represents much of downtown.

Cimperman said he hopes to introduce legislation in July that would require a facade inspection every five years for any commercial building or apartment complex that is at least 30 years old and three stories tall. The proposal would kick off a series of public discussions this summer or fall.

Property owners would need to hire design professionals to do the work and put together a report, a process that could cost $1,000 to $20,000, depending on the city, size and age of the building, choice of firm and extent of the analysis.

Ronald O’Leary, the city’s director of building and housing, said his department expects to work with council members to draft a proposed ordinance.

“This happened here,” O’Leary said of the Garfield Building parapet collapse. “It’s something that’s reasonably foreseeable that could happen again, given the height of buildings and the age of buildings.”

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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

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