High Rise Building Definition

by | Last updated Jul 13, 2020 | New York City, NYC DOB, Property Development

High Rise Building definition is: A building with an occupied floor 75 feet or more above the lowest street level for fire truck access is considered a high rise building. When measuring from the lowest street level on any side of the building where the fire department can gain access the top floor level will be 75 feet or more above the street.

The High Rise Building definition is very important as it will affect building codes that are applied to a building. A high rise will follow a higher standard of construction.


NYC DOB High Rise Building Definition

“A building with an occupied floor located more than 75 feet (22 860 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.”

Why Does the High Rise Classification Matter in NYC?

There are many additional code requirements for high rise buildings in NYC. Multiple aspects of the building will be affected dependent on the buildings height.

Below are just a few Building Systems and areas that can be affected by High rise Status:

  • Construction Classification Restrictions
  • Elevated Fire Proofing Requirements
    • Spray fire Rated Materials Bond Strength
  • Additional Elevator Core Regulations
  • High requirements for means of egress.
  • Sprinklers may need multiple risers and secondary supply. 
  • Fire Pump requirements
  • Stand By Power & Emergency Power Requirements
  • Additional Exit Stairways


Additional code requirements can affect the building design and budget. This is a key distinction for building design.


High Rise Building Definition NYC

It is important to know if your building may be a High Rise as you will be subject to additional requirements and review. As an architect I study codes closely, because they are complicated issues. This post gives a general overview of the High Rise Building Definition and its significance.


Thank You for reading our Blog Post on the High Rise Building Definition in NYC.

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Jorge Fontan

Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.