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Special Notice to Owners of Buildings Five or More Stories

CITY OF MILWAUKEE
FAÇADE INSPECTION ORDINANCE

The City of Milwaukee has adopted an ordinance, effective August 18, 2001 (sec. 275-32-13 Milw Code of Ordinances Vol. II) that requires owners of buildings that are 5 stories or greater to have a critical exam completed to determine if the façade of their building is in a safe condition.

What does this mean?
If you own a building that is 5 stories or greater in height and the building is more than 15 years old, you are now required to hire a registered professional engineer or architect to conduct a critical exam of your building's façade to ensure it is in a safe condition.

How do I know if my building is five stories or more?
A story is the space in a building between the surfaces of any floor and the floor next above or below or roof next above or any space not defined as a basement, ground floor, mezzanine, balcony, penthouse or attic. Count the number of stories in your buildings but do not count the basement, penthouse, balcony, attic, mezzanine or ground floor as a story.

What's a critical exam?
This means a close up visual examination of the façade by having the professional or someone under their direct supervision actually touch the façade with their hands or a tool to determine if the façade is in a safe condition.

Who does the inspection?
A State of Wisconsin registered professional architect or professional engineer shall conduct or directly supervise the person conducting the actual hands-on exam of the façade. This professional shall then provide a written report of the condition of the façade to DNS.

Is this required every year?
No. The requirement to submit the first exam report will be staggered based on the age of the building.

  • Owners of buildings that were built prior to 1920 will be required to submit a report by December 1, 2004.
  • Owners of buildings built between 1920 to 1950 will be required to submit a report by December 1, 2005.
  • Owners of buildings built between 1951 and 1990 will be required to submit a report by December 1, 2006.

The frequency of how often reports are due is based on the exterior wall construction and is outlined in the ordinance.

How do I know how old my building is?
DNS may have the age of the building on our current database. The age may also be found by checking the microfilm for the property and viewing the original building permit or other information that may reveal the age of the building. This microfilm is available for viewing weekdays between 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Milw. Development Center, 809 N. Broadway, 1st floor. You may also want to check your own records for the original drawings or documents for when the building was first built.

A list of properties that are required to have this report submitted is available for viewing by going to: http://www.milwaukee.gov/citygov/dns/home.htm

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL: THE DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES 
Jumaane Cheatham (414) 286-3154 jcheat@milwaukee.gov

The following documents are in the PDF format. To open them, use a PDF reader or download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program.

Click Here-> DOWNLOAD ACROBAT READER 

List of buildings that are subject to this Ordinance (PDF) 

FAÇADE INSPECTION ORDINANCE CH 275 (PDF) {Facade begins on page 566 of ordinance or Page 16 of this PDF file}

FAÇADE Code with Commentary (PDF)

FAÇADE INSPECTION REPORT APPLICATION (PDF)


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Last update 1/28/2014