Can An Apartment Building Super Block A Camera Install?

Here's a question recently posed to Ken Kirschenbaum, a lawyer known for his dealings with alarm system law:

Q: "My friend he lives in a rental apartment building in Jackson Heights, Queens in NYC. He said his building finished installing new CCTV camera outside of the building with cables running in the conduits. But his super is taking down all the conduits outside of the building because this is a building violation. They have to get the cables inside the wall not outside the wall. Is it true?"

His response is somewhat surprising (emphasis is ours):

A: "I regularly get inquiries from people not in the alarm industry about alarm questions. My usual response is either no response [in this case I didn't respond to the inquiry] or I let the inquiring party know that I represent the alarm industry and I don't provide free advice to anyone not in the alarm industry or provide any advice adverse to the alarm industry. I thought this inquiry worthy for distribution and discussion.

Unfortunately, I don't know the answer. I suppose the alarm company who installed the cameras and the conduits should have known before doing the installation. So, question is, are the exposed outside conduits a building violation? Anyone know?

Cameras in this building should have been installed only after a Commercial All in One was signed by the building owner. While that contract does provide that the alarm company is not liable for false alarm fines, building violations are another matter. If the alarm company designed the system with equipment or material that violated building codes then the contract better provide that the subscriber was warned and elected to take the risk, presumably because complying with building codes was more expensive.

Also be careful when not complying with building codes. It may be that this exposed conduit for camera feed is not something that is inherently harmful and likely to cause damage or injury, but other code violation may very well fit that category. That would increase your liability exposure significantly and the alarm contract is not likely to protect you."

First, his basic response is that he is unsure if the Building Supervisor can remove equipment but says it is the installer's responsibility to make sure all relevant codes are recognized. No citation of the specific 'no conduit' code at the crux of this issue, so I am not sure if this is a legit claim based on safety concerns or just cosmetic objections.

Kirschenbaum goes on to mention the installer bears culpability if codes/building code violations are found and corrective action (damages?) are a factor.

Do you agree? As an installer, do you accept this interpretation? Can building supers tear down your systems if they do not think it satisfies code?

Moreover, if anyone has a specific code citation about 'no conduit on outside of buildings', let us know.

Does the type of conduit matter?

For instance ENT permitted uses in NYC are:

362.10 Uses Permitted.

The use of electrical nonmetallic tubing and fittings shall be permitted:

(1) Concealed within walls, floors, and ceilings where the walls, floors, and ceilings provide a thermal barrier of material which has at least a 1 hour finish rating as identified in listings of fire-rated assemblies.

(2) In locations subject to severe corrosive influences as covered in 300.6 and where subject to chemicals for which the materials are specifically approved.

(3) In concealed, dry, and damp locations not prohibited by 362.12. (4) Above suspended ceilings where the suspended ceilings provide a thermal barrier of material, which has at least a 1 hour finish rating as identified in listings of fire-rated assemblies.

(5) Embedded in poured concrete, provided fittings approved for this purpose are used for connections.

(6) For wet locations indoors or in a concrete slab on or below grade, with fittings listed and approved for the purpose.

In general, when someone says 'conduit', it should not mean 'ENT', but in this case it is hard to be sure.

For all, here's some background on the difference: Conduit for Surveillance Explained

ARTICLE 352 Rigid Polyvinyl Chloride Conduit: Type PVC SECTION 352.10 Subsection 352.10(I)

(J) Non Residential Use. Unless prohibited elsewhere by other articles of this code, PVC conduit shall be permitted in any nonresidential building or residential building over 3 stories high. Rigid nonmetallic conduit shall be concealed within non-plenum walls, floors and ceilings where the walls, floors and ceilings provide a thermal barrier of material that has at least a one hour rated assembly as identified in listings of fire-rated assemblies.

Has anyone determined if there is a community code or historical building requirement? Things outside the building codes.

The installer is responsible for knowing the electrical codes and any building codes, state and local.

Not having seen the contract, the owner should know a few thing too. If the owner is subject to any community codes I don't think it fair to hold the contractor responsible for that. I would hope his contract would have wording to that effect. just my opinion.