Special Testing & Consulting LLC has certified personnel to perform all of the New York City Department of Buildings required special inspections. Please choose from the drop down menu for a general description of each inspection.
Concrete Cast-In Place: The Special Inspection for Concrete Cast-In Place shall be based upon the approved construction documents, approved shop drawings and approved submittals. The inspector shall check and verify that all reinforcing steel is of the proper size, and grade, and has the correct spacing and location. Concrete placement will also be inspected by verifying the concrete mix design and that proper field tests have been performed.
Concrete Precast: To perform a concrete precast inspection, the special inspector shall periodically visit the precast plant to verify that the plant has been approved and is following acceptable manufacturing processes and techniques. The installation of the precast members in the field will also be inspected for conformance to the approved construction documents.
Pre-stressed Concrete: A pre-stressed concrete inspection will generally follow the same inspection procedures of either Concrete Cast-in-Place or Concrete Pre-cast inspections. With pre-stressed concrete, the application of the tensioned steel used must also be inspected and verified to comply with the approved construction documents.
Concrete Test Cylinders: Field testing of fresh concrete is performed by Certified Technicians. A series of tests are performed, which include temperature, air content, plastic unit weight (density), and slump, at a frequency specified by governing code and project specifications. Specimens of the fresh concrete are made in the field and after initial curing, are transported to the concrete testing laboratory. Compression testing is then performed on the cured concrete at specified ages to verify that the required design strength is achieved.
Structural Stability: Alterations to existing structures in which loads are transferred from one structural system of structural elements to another shall be subject to special inspection. The special inspector shall review the contractor's proposed sequence of operations and determine the areas that require design. The inspector shall visit the jobsite in agreed intervals, including adequate frequency to assure the contractor's continued compliance with the proposed design and sequence of operations.
Underpinning: Any new foundation elements installed as part of underpinning operations shall be subject to continuous special inspection as a permanent installation according to applicable sections of the NYC Building Code. The special inspector shall field verify that the method of underpinning and the frequency of supports are installed in strict accordance with the approved construction documents. They shall also verify that proper sheeting/shoring and shims are installed, when required, and witness any dry-packing of cavity between top of underpinning and existing foundation.
Excavation - Sheeting, Shoring and Bracing: The special inspector shall field verify that he method of sheeting, shoring, and bracing and the frequency of supports are installed in strict accordance with the approved construction documents. They will check that the proper shoring members and sizes are used, that the proper excavation depth is maintained and that the correct sequencing of any bracing is being adhered to. This inspection is a continuous inspection, meaning that the special inspector shall be present whenever any excavation work is being performed.
Mechanical Demolition: Where mechanical demolition equipment, other than handheld devices, is to be used, a special inspection shall be required. The special inspector shall visit the site a minimum of three times, before the demolition begins, during the demolition, and after the demolition has been completed, to verify that the contractor is performing the work according to the submitted approved demolition plans.
Raising and Moving of a Building: A periodic special inspection is required where the lowest above-grade floor or the lowest subgrade of a floor of a building is to be raised, lifted, elevated or moved. The special inspector shall field verify that the work is being performed in accordance with the approved construction documents.
Pile Foundations and Drilled Pier Installation: A special inspector shall be present when pile foundations are being installed and during load tests. Depending on the type of piles, the inspector will inspect and verify the driving techniques and the concrete/grout placement methods. The inspector shall also witness and record the installation of each pile and submit these records to the NYC Building Department.
Pier Foundations: The special inspector shall field verify that the pier was constructed to the proper dimensions and of the proper materials.
Seismic Isolation Systems: The special inspector shall perform periodic inspections of the seismic isolation units during fabrication and installation to verify that they are in conformance with the approved construction documents and installed according to the manufacturer's written recommendations.
Chimneys: During a chimney inspection, the special inspector shall field check and verify that the work is in compliance with the approved construction documents and that there is proper clearance or isolation from adjacent combustible construction. A smoke test must be performed on newly installed chimneys and any existing chimney should the lining be affected by any alterations.
Photoluminescent Exit Path Markings: This special inspection shall be based upon the approved construction documents and related approved submittals. The inspector shall field verify that exit signs, and photoluminescent exit path markings have been properly installed at all required locations and that proper photoluminescent materials were used. The inspector will also check that the proper directional markings are in place and that a battery backup has been installed, when required.
Wall Panels, Curtain Walls, and Veneers: The special inspection for wall panels, curtain walls and veneers is required for exterior architectural wall panels and the anchoring of veneers designed for installation on buildings above a height of 40 ft. The inspection consists of reviewing all approved construction documents including shop drawings, instructions for the sequence of component installation and any related approved submittals and then field verifying that framing components, anchors, drainage components, joints, etc. are properly placed and that the overall supporting structure is properly aligned with design tolerances and approved contract drawings.
Exterior Insulated Finish Systems (EIFS): This special inspections is required for all EIFS applications installed more than 15 feet above adjacent finished grades. It includes verification of compliance with the approved construction documents for attachment to structure, installation of waterproofing membranes, weeps, drains, mold prevention features and conformance with the manufacturers' installation guidelines.
Sprayed Fire-Resistant Materials (Fireproofing): The Special inspection for sprayed fire-resistant materials shall be based on the fire-resistance design as designated in the approved construction documents and submittals. The inspector shall verify that the surfaces of the structural members have been properly prepared and sprayed according to the approved construction documents. Thickness testing and density testing will be performed in accordance with ASTM E605. Adhesion/Cohesion bond testing will be performed in accordance with ASTM E736.
Firestopping, Draftstop, and Fireblock Systems: Once the special inspector reviews the approved construction documents and submittals, they will field verify that the materials used and quality of installation conform to those documents. If a listed system is used, the inspector will verify that the system was installed as per the listing's instructions.
Masonry: A masonry inspection consists of verifying that the materials used and installation techniques are in conformance with the approved construction documents. The special inspector will also verify that the masonry units are being spaced properly and that any reinforcement bars, anchors, etc. are of the correct size and spacing required. Mortar and grout (if any) samples shall be taken and tested for compressive strength.
Mechanical Systems: All approved construction documents, and any approved shop drawing submittals related to the mechanical systems shall be reviewed. The special inspector will field verify that the required components of the system is complete and in accordance with the manufacturer's installation guidelines and the approved drawings. Ductwork, support hangers, seismic bracing and vibration isolation equipment should be properly installed. Fire and smoke dampers should be installed and functioning properly. Noise control testing shall be performed where applicable and all signage and labeling will be verified.
Heating Systems: This inspection is required when boilers or heating systems greater than 350,000 BTU's are installed in a building. The special inspector shall field verify that installation conforms to contract documents. The chimney connections, test gauges, supports and safety release valves will also be checked. The manufacturer's certificate will be reviewed for any pressure vessels. The special inspector shall also witness any hydrostatic tests required.
Sprinkler Systems: New and altered sprinkler systems shall be inspected as per the NYC Building Code. After reviewing the approved construction documents and all related submittals, the special inspector shall verify that all materials, fittings, hangers, assemblies and signage are installed accordingly. The special inspector shall also witness all required acceptance testing (Hydrostatic, etc.) and ensure that the proper certification forms have been submitted to the Fire Department and the Department of Buildings.
Standpipe Systems: The special inspection for Standpipe Systems consists of reviewing the approved construction documents, shop drawings and submittals and field verifying that the installation of the standpipe system conforms to these documents. The inspector shall check the installation of all materials and signage and ensure that the owner has received the maintenance literature and instructions. The special inspector shall also witness all required acceptance tests (Hydrostatic, etc.) and ensure that certification forms have been submitted to the proper agencies.
High-Pressure Steam Piping (Welding): The special inspector shall field verify existing field conditions against the approved construction documents, including shop drawings and erection drawings. The inspection is performed in accordance with ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section 1X. The inspection includes a visual examination during or after manufacture and, if the engineer requires, supplementary types of non-destructive testing such as magnetic particle, radiograph or ultrasonic.
Fuel Gas Piping (Welding): The special inspector shall field verify existing field conditions against the approved construction documents, including shop drawings and erection drawings. The inspection includes a visual examination during or after manufacture and, if the engineer requires, supplementary types of non-destructive testing such as magnetic particle, radiograph or ultrasonic. Radiography shall be performed on all butt welds in gas meter and gas distribution piping with a pressure exceeding 3psig (20 kPa) within buildings.
Fuel-Oil Storage Piping Systems: After reviewing the approved construction documents, the special inspector shall verify that the system was installed properly and adhered to the drawings and any applicable standards. The inspector must witness the hydrostatic testing of the system, as well as ensure that the installation contractor prepares and submits all the required documents.
Emergency Power Systems (Generators): The special inspector shall check and verify that the power system was installed according to the approved construction documents and that the quality of installation, materials, used, supports, feeder lines and other aspects have been completed with good building practice. Smoke Control System: After reviewing the approved construction documents, shop drawings and submittals, the special inspector shall perform his inspection during the installation of ductwork to verify that the smoke control devices are being installed in their proper locations. After substantial completion, the inspector shall verify the pressure difference and flow measurements to confirm the system can properly detect smoke and react accordingly.
Ultrasonic Testing: An Ultrasonic Testing inspection is non-destructive and begins where structural visual welding inspections end. Generally a percentage of welds to be inspected with ultrasonic testing is determined by the design professional. Once it is verified that the welds are clean and sized properly, an ultrasonic instrument is used to determine if there are any irregularities within the weld metal that a visual inspection cannot detect. The inspector utilizes a portable flaw detector to introduce a sound wave into the weld metal. Any discontinuities can be accurately measured and identified in real time. The results are determined by referring to the acceptance criteria in AWS D1.1
Magnetic Particle Testing: The special inspector performing a Magnetic Particle inspection will first review the approved construction documents. Magnetic particle inspections are non-destructive and begin where structural visual welding inspections end. Generally, a percentage of welds to be inspected with magnetic particle testing is determined by the design professional. Magnetic Particle inspection can be performed using wet or dry media, with visible fluorescent lighting. Surface discontinuities can be immediately detected and evaluated as AWS D1.1.
Liquid Penetrant: Penetrant Testing (PT) is a Non-Destructive testing method typically utilized in non-magnetic materials, such as stainless steels to discover cracking, porosity and other discontinuities which break the normal structure of the component inspected. PT is highly portable, provides immediate evaluation by a trained inspector and can be performed in various environments. Defects can be evaluated per AWS D1.1 for immediate acceptance or repair.
Energy Code Compliance: The special inspector shall perform periodic inspections of all required energy code items for conformance to the approved construction documents and the approved energy analysis. The inspections shall be performed in accordance with the frequencies and standards as given in Table I and Table II found in the NYC DOB "1 RCNY 5000-01 New York City Energy Conservation Code".
Footing and Foundation Inspection: This is a progress inspection and shall be made after excavations for footings are complete and any required reinforcing steel is in place. For concrete foundations, any required forms shall be in place prior to inspection. Materials for the foundation shall be on the job and inspected for compliance with the approved construction documents.
Lowest Floor Elevation: In areas of special flood hazard, upon placement of the lowest floor, including the basement, and prior to further vertical construction, the elevation inspection report shall be submitted to the NYC DOB. The special inspector shall verify that the placement of the lowest floor is in conformance to the approved construction documents.
Frame Inspections: This progress inspection shall be performed for wood structural framing to determine compliance with the approved construction documents. Fire-Resistance Rated Construction: This progress inspection shall be performed to determine compliance with the approved construction documents, and includes inspection of the fire-resistance-rated partitions, floors, ceilings, shafts, as well as inspection of the fire shutters.
Public Assembly Emergency Lighting: This progress inspection shall be performed to verify that the emergency lighting system is installed in conformance with the approved public assembly drawings. All plan layouts and routes to egress will be checked. Lumineers of all exit signs shall also be checked and verified to ensure compliance with the approved construction documents.
Site Storm Drainage and Detention System Installation: This special inspection includes verification that the storm water detention, roof retention, and dry well systems are in conformance with approved construction documents. All construction materials, bedding of pipe and facilities, volume capacity, and installation of volume flow control devices will be checked. Hydrostatic testing of the detention system shall be required when the system is designed as water tight.
Soil Percolation Test – Dry Well Inspection: This special inspection requires the excavation contractor to excavate a test pit for the soil percolation test and witness and record the findings. Should the test show that the soil is inadequate for the proposed drywell system, the designer will be notified and changes made accordingly.
Soil Percolation Test – Septic System: This special inspection requires the excavation contractor to excavate a test pit for the soil percolation test and witness and record the findings. Should the test show that the soil is inadequate for the proposed septic system, the designer will be notified and changes made accordingly.
Subgrade: Immediately prior to the placement of the footings, foundations, fill or other supporting materials, the special inspector shall determine that the site has been prepared and is in accordance with the approved geotechnical report.
Soils - Fill Placement and In-Place Density: During placement and compaction of the fill material, the special inspector shall determine that the material being used and the maximum lift thickness comply with the approved geotechnical report. The special inspector shall also determine, at the approved frequency, that the in-place dry density of the compacted fill complies with the approved construction documents.
Erection & Bolting: During this inspection, the special inspector shall review all approved construction documents including relevant drawings and submittals. Verification of the proper installation of the steel frame, bracing, stiffening, member locations and proper application of joint details at each connection will be performed. The inspector will check that the correct bolts, nuts and washers are being used and the correct installation method is also being used.
Welding and Aluminum Steel Welding: The special inspector shall verify existing field conditions against approved construction documents, shop drawings and erection drawings. The inspection is performed in 3 stages, Pre-Weld, In-process Weld and Post Welding, according to AWS D1.1. Pre-welding inspection includes reviewing the mill certification, welding procedures and welding certifications. The In-process welding inspections consist of verifying that the welding machine and materials are set-up properly, determine what process is being used, and that the welding is being performed according to the approved welding procedure. During the Post-Welding inspection, it will be verified that all slag has been removed and the faces of welds are exposed, and that the welds are properly welded and sized, with no imperfections.
Structural Cold Formed Steel: Once the approved construction documents are reviewed, the special inspector shall field verify the materials for connectors, steel members and welding materials, inspection of high-strength bolts, welding and steel frame joint details. The special inspector can also determine when temporary bracing / shoring can be removed.
Wood - Off Site Fabrication of Structural Elements: This special inspection should be performed at the shop that is fabricating the structural elements. The inspector shall verify the fabricator’s quality control procedures, and verify their current certification that is acceptable to the NYC Department of Buildings.
Wood - Installation of Metal-Plate Connected Trusses: The use of all metal plate-connected wood trusses shall be subject to special inspection for compliance with the approved construction documents, and the requirements of the NYC Building Code. The special inspector will field verify that damaged members are not used for construction, that the profiles of members used structurally are the correct dimensions and that the installation of the members are in conformance with the approved construction documents.
Wood - Fabrication of Prefabricated Joists: This inspection consists of verifying the quality control procedures of the fabrication shop, as well as the installation of the prefabricated wood I-joists in the field. All installed members will be checked for any signs of damage, and that the dimensions of the member, and the size, locations, and number of penetrations, are all in compliance with the approved construction members.
Wood - Installation of High-Road Diaphragms: The special inspector shall inspect the wood structural panel sheathing to ascertain whether it is of the grade and thickness shown on the approved construction documents. Additionally, the special inspector must verify the nominal size of framing members at adjoining panel edges, the nail or staple diameter and length, the number of fastener lines and that the spacing between fasteners in each line and at edge margins agrees with the approved construction documents.
An Anchor Pull Test can test the tensile strength (pull-out strength) of an installed anchor into concrete. Many times, contractors may install anchors or rebar into concrete without special inspections being performed. If this occurs, these anchors need to be physically tested for conformity by a pull-test. The test load is given by the Engineer of Record and often the maximum allowable tensile load as stated by the manufacturer is used for the test load.
A steel rod is connected to the anchor to be tested. The test rob is extended through a steel frame test apparatus through a center holed hydraulic jack. The hydraulic jack is pumped to the proper pressure that is equal to the test load and maintained, usually for five minutes. If the pressure is maintained during the test and there are no signs of distress to the tested anchor or surrounding concrete, the anchor is considered to be satisfactorily installed.
A BPP-11 Sidewalk affidavit is generally required when a new sidewalk/pavement is placed or work is performed on an existing sidewalk. Concrete cores of the sidewalk/pavement must be taken to verify depth of concrete and compressive strength. The amount of cores required depends on the square footage of the sidewalk/pavement installed. The affidavit is completed once the cores are tested and meet the required minimum strength.
Core drilling is used to test the compressive strength of in-place concrete. Generally core drilling is requested when there is doubt about the quality of the in-place concrete due to low strength test results during construction or signs of distress in the structure. The Engineer of Record determines the quantity and area of the structure for the cores to be taken. The drilled cores are then cured and tested in accordance with ASTM C 42.
Crack Monitoring is often requested when an existing crack is found on a building adjacent to a new building being constructed or renovated. A crack monitor gauge is an effective way to measure the movement of cracks in brick, concrete, or masonry structures. The crack monitor gauge consists of two overlapping acrylic plates. One plate is white with a black millimeter grid while the other is transparent with red cross-hairs centered over the grid. Once the crack monitor gauge is installed into position across a crack, the crosshairs shift vertically or horizontally on the grid if movement occurs so that the actual movement can be determined in millimeters. One millimeter is approximately equal to 1/22 of an inch.
Ground Penetrating Radar is a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image a subsurface. This non-destructive method uses electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band (UHF/VHF frequencies) of the radio spectrum, and detects the reflected signals from subsurface materials. GPR can have applications in a variety of media, including rock, soil, ice, fresh water, concrete, pavements and structures. In the right conditions, GPR can be used to detect subsurface objects, changes in material properties and voids and cracks.
Local Law 11/98 facade inspections are Special Inspections performed mostly for masonry, structural stability, welding and bolting. These periodic inspections are required so that the Owner can be assured of quality and that the facade contractor is adhering to the approved façade repair drawings.
Moisture Emission Testing is performed to determine the amount of moisture that is migrating through a new or existing concrete slab. It is an important test since some floor coverings are sensitive to the moisture being emitted through the slab and if the levels are too high, the floor system may not adhere properly, once installed. The Moisture Emission Testing is performed by placing a moisture absorbing calcium chloride container in the slab surface under a plastic “dome” that is sealed to the concrete. At the conclusion of the test (60-72 hours), the container of calcium chloride is removed and immediately weighed. The weight gain and exposure time values are used to compute the test result, expressed in pounds of moisture emitted per 1,000 square feet in 24 hours.
Pachometer testing (rebar finding) can determine the location of steel reinforcement in a concrete slab, column, wall, etc., within approximately 6-9 inches from the surface. This is especially helpful when cores, or other cuts need to be made in the concrete and can minimize the risk of sawing / drilling through steel reinforcement.
A pre-construction survey is performed for the Owner of a proposed new building. It is a survey documentation of the physical condition of the existing adjacent buildings. The report contains photo documentation along with a written report by an Engineer depicting the physical condition of the building prior to the start of the proposed construction of the new building. Videos can also be used in the documentation if desired by the Client.
Slab load testing is usually requested by the Structural Engineer when an existing building is being renovated and the actual construction of the slab is unknown. To determine if the slab load capacity will be sufficient for the proposed renovation, the Structural Engineer may request testing on a specific portion of the slab, or an entire bay. A maximum uniform test load is given by the Structural Engineer as well as a maximum expected deflection value.
During the test, the uniform test load is applied by various methods (i.e., sandbags, water, steel weights, etc.) and deflection gauges are set-up to determine deflection of the tested slab at locations approved by the Structural Engineer.
A safety scaffold system is set-up directly below the tested slab area in case of any unexpected failure. The staging of the load test is determined by the Structural Engineer and the test is administered in accordance with the applicable codes for load testing.
Vibration Monitoring is often requested by the Owner of a proposed new building to monitor vibrations on existing structures during the new building construction operations to prevent any possible damage. The vibration monitoring is a specialized method for recording and analyzing vibrations resulting from construction operations. A three-component seismograph is used (longitudinal, transverse and vertical planes) to measure and record the extent of vibrations. The seismographs can be set up to record the data remotely and to email alerts if any vibrations meet a pre-determined maximum level set for the project.
The Windsor Probe system is a non-destructive method that can determine in-place strength of lightweight, normal and high-strength concrete. The system drives a probe into the concrete at a known amount of force. The compressive strength of the concrete is directly related to the resistance of penetration, and therefore can be determined by measuring the exact depth of the penetration of the Windsor probe.
The Windsor Pin system is a non-destructive method that can determine the in-place strength of existing concrete, mortar, grout, concrete masonry units, brick and other materials. The system mechanically (spring-loaded) drives a steel pin into the material being tested. The depth of penetration of the pin correlates to the compressive strength of the materials under the test. This is the only system that can test in-place strength of brick mortar joints.
Our in-house laboratory successfully participates in the AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory (AMRL) Proficiency Sample Program and is accredited by the Cement and Concrete Reference Laboratory (CCRL). The tests listed below are a sample of our most commonly performed tests. Special Testing can perform many other tests. If you do not see the testing you need, please contact us.