Long before the tragic accident near Times Square in which falling terra cotta killed architect Erica Tishman, new façade inspection rules had been proposed by the Department of Buildings.

The new rules appear stricter, but New Yorkers may not feel any safer given the time they will take to be implemented — as well as the number of lingering violations already on the books.

In addition to increasing fines, the new rules will require more education for inspectors who must examine walls at closer intervals as well as dated photographs of both the inspections and the inspectors to “guard against false filings.”

A new sign stating the status of the façade must be posted in the lobby.

Every “shall” in the law has been changed to “must” while the new language also changes from requiring a “prompt” repair to “within one year of completion of critical examinations.”

But if an unsafe condition is found, the news rules also lengthen the time for repairs from 30 to 90 days, which the department can extend.

Penalties have also been doubled and will also include a charge each month based on the linear feet of scaffolding. Fines will also no longer be waived for those taking title as part of an economic development program or for those that have a tax-exempt status.

Inspection reports for the upcoming “9th cycle” can be filed starting on Feb. 21, 2020, with the last group of buildings filing by Feb. 21, 2024 — more than four years from now, which is a long time for those worried about walking around town.

Tishman, 60, made headlines earlier this month when a piece of a Midtown Manhattan building came loose and fatally struck her, raising awareness of the dangers lurking from above.

Erica Tishman
Erica TishmanOwen Hoffmann/ PMC

On Monday, The Post reported there are 5,300 open citations citywide for failing to maintain safe exterior walls under NYC Admin Code 28-302.1.

And this reporter has discovered 10,500 active violations on the books that cover numerous façade issues, which could include a dangerously hung air conditioner or any number of hazards. While many have been likely rectified, 381 were deemed “unsafe” going back to May 8, 2008, according to the search of NYC Open Data records.

Along with pure Department of Buildings façade violations, there are also 445 Environmental Control Board violations marked “hazardous.” These owners did not go to the hearing and are still not in compliance — going back to 1988.

Open Data shows the Dept. of Buildings has some 2,115,188 violations on the books and of these, 1,531,942 were resolved or dismissed. The remainder, 583,246, may be putting the public in danger or are moot — with the item fixed, upgraded or even the structure long demolished.

Elevators are a huge generator of violations and are expensive to build and to maintain. There are 887,917 elevator violations and of these, 747,772 were resolved with an astounding 140,145 still active — although they may have been fixed or replaced years ago.

Scaffolding Amsterdam Ave.
Workers install safety scaffolding at 1627 Amsterdam Ave. Tuesday, just one day after the building was cited by city inspectors.Robert Miller

But 2,577 elevator violations carry a notation to “cease use” and of those, 666 are still marked active and should not be in use, a Buildings rep said.

The department has so much to do, it has resorted to handing out missing paperwork violations via computer with nary a visit from a live inspector.

These violations are generated en masse after another computer determines the proper paperwork was never filed — but these violations can be for a filing that was due some months or even years earlier — and they also generate fines.

As I reported in November, 1,088 violations were churned out — all on Sept. 3 — for not filing a report by July 1 that sprinklers were installed.

On Nov. 8, 2019, 15,954 violations were issued for not filing a low-boiler paperwork report for 2017 — two years earlier.

On Nov. 24, 2017, the same violation was issued to 11,426 for not filing a report in 2015. And on May 15, 2014, 15,954 violations — the very same number as in 2019 — were issued for not filing a report in 2012.

All of these violations are still listed as active, meaning even more violations were issued but “resolved” in some way.

Another 28,192 violations have been handed out for failure to benchmark energy consumption.

While the City Council and other agencies keep coming up with reports, filings, paperwork and construction work that is required of property owners, many own just one and are not professional managers. Much of this is laudable and represents maintenance and safety issues, but there are mounting requirements that are following a “feel good” agenda — such as new solar roof mandates — and are simply overwhelming.

Although no one was available to comment on the record, the Buildings Dept. believes it has “sufficient staff to meet its obligations.”