Fire Penetrations in Hi Rise Condominium

I took these photos on one of my projects. These penetrations were not discovered during an inspection, nor could they have been without an intrusive inspection.
My reason for posting them is that in the event a fellow inspector has to inspect a high rise building, he should be aware that crap like this exists… even in the fanciest buildings.
In the 70’s, this Madison Avenue, NYC building was converted from an office/factory to residential. This period in NY’s construction history was filled with substandard work and mucho payola.
I have decided that I will include in any inspection report of this type of building, an affidavit for my client to have filled out from the building owner, that all fire penetrations have been repaired and sealed.
These “chaseway” holes originate in the basemand and continue to the roof (14 floors). In this particular unit, there are four different areas that have such “chaseways”. If you look into one of these holes, you are looking at the topside of the sheetrock ceiling of the apartment below.
Additionally, you can climb through the ceilings of all the units, the entire ceiling is open to the q deck above.
Sould there ever be a fire, it will sweep through the entire building like a chimney!



Nice post, please continue to contribute.

Hmmm…and not to mention the 'dark, unidentified stains" in photo #1.

Thank you for the compliment.


Those “dark stains” are actually an I beam that has had the cement fireproofing broken off during the creation of a verticle “chaseway”.

Steven, I get the feeling that you know what you’re talking about, but I haven’t a clue about what you’re trying to explain.

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. How serious is it?
  3. What should the client do about it?


This is an old thread; Stephen passed away several years ago.


I’m so embarrassed. I was doing research for a course. I had no idea. I’m so sorry.

Looks like he was talking about firestopping of chase between floors.

I did an inspection on the rebuild of some units in this building. An non-grounded ceiling fan caused the fire.
It then swept thru the structure FAST. The cable company knocked holes in the firewalls & left them open. Total destruction.
The back-draft was worse than not having a firewall at all.

If you lived in Ventnor B, you may never go home again!](