Legal Line

Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Commercial Buildings

Neil B. Garfinkel

REBNY Broker Counsel

August 23, 2023

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I am a licensed New York State real estate salesperson and I am representing a landlord who owns a commercial building in New York City that does not have carbon monoxide detectors installed in the building. Are carbon monoxide detectors required in commercial buildings in New York State?


Yes, New York State law mandates the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in both new and existing commercial buildings, including restaurants. This is a notable expansion of previous legislation, which exclusively mandated CO detectors in residential buildings.

Under this law, a "commercial building" refers to any building that is not a one or two-family dwelling, or a structure comprising solely of townhouses. Certain types of commercial buildings are exempt from this requirement. These exceptions include structures used exclusively for storage or other miscellaneous purposes, such as barns, airplane hangars, and sheds. Additionally, buildings occupied only occasionally and solely for building or equipment maintenance are exempt. 

For both new and existing buildings that fall under the Law, CO detectors must be installed in each "detection zone" containing a "triggering condition." Typically, a "detection zone" corresponds to a story within a commercial building. However, these stories may be subdivided into additional detection zones if they are served by separate CO-producing HVAC systems or contain one or more classrooms. A "triggering condition" refers to any source of CO within the zone. Examples of such conditions include fuel-fired furnaces and boilers, space heaters with open flames or pilot lights, wood stoves, kerosene heaters, fireplaces, gas or liquid fuel-operated stoves, ovens, dryers, water heaters, and refrigerators, as well as garages and occupancies linked to motor vehicles.

The law distinguishes between "new commercial buildings," constructed on or after December 31, 2015, and "existing commercial buildings," erected prior to this date. For new commercial buildings, CO detectors must be "hard-wired" and connected to a central station or panel. Conversely, existing commercial buildings necessitate CO detectors powered by a 10-year battery. It's important to note that combination detectors, which include both smoke and CO detection, are prohibited.

In conclusion, the regulations regarding carbon monoxide detectors in commercial buildings in New York State are comprehensive and aim to ensure the safety of occupants. As a real estate salesperson, it's essential to be well-versed in these requirements to provide accurate information to clients and ensure compliance with the law. 

Topics Covered

  • Commercial