• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

    Understanding the Legal Capacity of Rooftop Lounges in New York City

    BySharna Bass

    Feb 10, 2024
    Understanding the Legal Capacity of Rooftop Lounges in New York City

    Rooftop lounges are a popular feature in many condominium buildings throughout New York City. These versatile spaces provide residents with a place to unwind and socialize, and they are often rented out for private events. However, it is essential to understand the legal capacity limits of these rooftop lounges to ensure compliance with city codes and regulations.

    Finding out the maximum number of people allowed in a rooftop lounge is a straightforward process. Every legal rooftop lounge must be listed on the building’s certificate of occupancy. This document includes important details such as the purpose of the space, maximum occupancy limits, and load limits. To access your building’s certificate of occupancy, you can visit the Department of Buildings’ website and navigate to the Building Information System or use DOB NOW for certificates issued after February 2021.

    Determining the maximum occupancy of a rooftop lounge involves several factors. City regulations consider the square footage of the space and the occupant load factor specified in the building code. Safety is a key concern, so rooftop spaces typically have lower capacities compared to indoor areas. The width of the stairs is also considered to facilitate speedy evacuation during emergencies.

    If the listed limits in your building’s offering plans appear lower than what the city code allows, it is possible that the board made the decision to restrict activity and noise on the rooftop or avoid additional costs associated with place of assembly requirements. As Bruce Cholst, a partner at Herrick in Manhattan points out, the board has the right to impose restrictions.

    If your rooftop lounge is not currently permitted, there is a solution. Hiring an architect or engineer to create plans for the space and obtaining the necessary approvals from the city allows you to legalize the rooftop lounge. After construction is complete, your building can be issued a new certificate of occupancy that includes the rooftop lounge.

    Remember that staying informed about the legal capacity and compliance requirements of your rooftop lounge is crucial. By ensuring that your rooftop space meets all necessary regulations, you can provide a safe and enjoyable environment for residents and guests alike.

    FAQ

    Q: How can I find out the maximum number of people allowed in a rooftop lounge in New York City?
    A: Every legal rooftop lounge must be listed on the building’s certificate of occupancy, which includes important details such as maximum occupancy limits. You can access your building’s certificate of occupancy through the Department of Buildings’ website.

    Q: What factors determine the maximum occupancy of a rooftop lounge?
    A: The maximum occupancy of a rooftop lounge is determined by the square footage of the space and the occupant load factor specified in the building code. Safety considerations and the width of the stairs for emergency evacuation are also taken into account.

    Q: Why might the listed limits in my building’s offering plans be lower than what the city code allows?
    A: It is possible that the board made the decision to restrict activity and noise on the rooftop or avoid additional costs associated with place of assembly requirements. The board has the right to impose restrictions.

    Q: What can I do if my rooftop lounge is not currently permitted?
    A: You can hire an architect or engineer to create plans for the space and obtain the necessary approvals from the city to legalize the rooftop lounge. After construction is complete, your building can be issued a new certificate of occupancy.

    Key Terms and Definitions

    1. Rooftop lounge – A versatile space in a condominium building’s rooftop that provides residents with a place to unwind, socialize, and is often rented out for private events.
    2. Certificate of occupancy – A document that includes important details such as the purpose of a space, maximum occupancy limits, and load limits. It is required for a building or space to be legally occupied and must be obtained through the Department of Buildings.
    3. Department of Buildings (DOB) – The regulatory agency responsible for ensuring the safe and lawful use of buildings and construction sites in New York City.
    4. Occupant load factor – A factor specified in the building code that determines the number of people allowed in a space based on its square footage.
    5. Place of assembly requirements – Requirements related to the use of a space as a gathering or assembly area, which may involve additional costs and regulations.

    Suggested Related Links
    Department of Buildings
    City Environmental Control Board
    Certificate of Occupancy – New Construction