What is a QEWI? – NYC FISP

by | Last updated Jun 15, 2023 | FISP Local Law 11, Landmarks, NYC DOB

In New York City, buildings over six stories must be inspected once every five years to ensure the public’s safety. An architect or engineer authorized to perform this inspection type is called a QEWI.


What is a QEWI?

A Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector or QEWI is a qualification that a Registered Architect or Professional Engineer can obtain through the Department of Buildings to perform exterior wall inspections for the NYC Façade Inspection & Safety Program (FISP), previously known as Local Law 11.  

I am Jorge Fontan, an architect in New York and owner of NYC-based architecture firm Fontan Architecture. At our office, we work on various project types, including Local Law 11, also known as FISP. In this post, I will explain what a QEWI is and why this is important.



The Façade Inspection & Safety Program requires all buildings over six stories to have an inspection performed of the building façades. These inspections are performed by private companies such as Architecture and Engineering firms.

FISP exists to ensure the public’s safety and protect people from potentially falling debris. The goal is to look for deficiencies and unsafe conditions, or conditions that could one day become unsafe, and repair them promptly. FISP comes from Local Law 11 of 1998.

We have another post if you want to read about Local Law 11.


Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector

To become a QEWI or Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector, one must first have a Registered Architect or Professional Engineer license in the State of New York. If the architect or engineer has the appropriate experience, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) will give them the qualification of a QEWI.

A QEWI is the only person who can perform FISP inspections, and only a QEWI can submit a FISP report to the Department of Buildings. The QEWI has an account with the DOB to submit the reports.

Below is a picture of the QEWI on one of our projects performing a close-up inspection of a building façade.

QEWI on a Local Law 11 Inspection

QEWI on a Local Law 11, FISP Inspection


FISP Report

The QEWI will identify the building in one of three categories.

  • Safe
  • SWARP Safe With Maintenance and Repair Program
  • Unsafe

If the building is Safe, there is nothing to do until the next cycle. FISP cycles are five years. Every building must be inspected every five years, even if it was safe in the previous cycle.

If the building is SWARP or Unsafe, then repairs must be performed. An architect or engineer will prepare drawings and details of the repair work. These are filed with the DOB to obtain permits. Upon completion of all the repairs, the QEWI will submit an amended report changing the status of the building.


QEWI’s in New York

The QEWI is essential in maintaining the public’s safety in New York City. The DOB regularly issues fines and violations to buildings for noncompliance. Building owners should always take building safety seriously.


Thank You for Reading Our Blog Post on NYC FISP QEWI.

I hope this was helpful. If you want to speak with an architect about a potential project, contact us at Fontan Architecture directly.


Contact Fontan Architecture

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.