DOB Launches Enforcement Sweep of Construction Sites Across NYC Ahead of Construction Safety Week
Construction Safety Week is May 6-10. Throughout the week, Department staff will visit construction sites in all five boroughs to promote safety by distributing multi-lingual site-safety materials and information on Local Law 196 compliance in an effort to reemphasize site-safety regulations, and the fact that no building is worth a life.
In April, three construction workers in New York City lost their lives in separate work-related accidents. In response to these incidents, the Department has deployed 90 inspectors throughout New York City to perform safety sweeps of construction sites, and educate workers about the importance of construction site safety. These construction inspectors, including those from the Department's newly created Construction Safety Compliance and Construction Safety Enforcement units, the Cranes and Derricks Unit, the Scaffold Safety Unit, and the Special Operations Unit, will promote construction site safety to protect both workers and the public. While performing these sweeps, DOB inspectors will issue enforcement actions if they observe safety violations, and shut down sites if they find serious safety lapses. This effort will hold accountable anyone in the construction industry who cuts corners at the expense of safety. During this sweep, DOB will be inspecting an estimated 5,000 construction sites. Work sites that are found to be unsafe for workers could face penalties of up to $25,000 for construction safety violations.
Reminder: Local Law 196 Site Safety Training
Every worker who arrives on a work site deserves to come home at night, and DOB is reminding construction workers, demolition workers, and supervisors to obtain site-safety training, as required by Local Law 196 of 2017, in a timely fashion. Construction and demolition workers on most construction sites are currently required to have a 10-hour OSHA safety-training certification. And when the next phase of the law goes into effect, workers will be required to have 30 hours of site-safety training, and supervisors will be required to have 62 hours of training.
Not only does site-safety training save lives, it is the law. The Local Law 196 safety training requirements can be met either with actively-proctored online training, or in-person training from DOB- and OSHA-approved course providers.
Ninth Annual No-Penalty Deck and Retaining Wall Program
The ninth annual Department of Buildings No-Penalty Deck and Retaining Wall Inspection Program was launched on April 22nd. This 45-day citywide initiative allows New Yorkers to call 311 and request a free, no-penalty visual inspection of their decks, porches, and retaining walls, giving homeowners the opportunity to ensure that these structures are maintained in accordance with the NYC Construction Codes. Following the inspection, the Department will notify homeowners of the inspector's findings and whether or not the conditions observed pose an immediate safety hazard or warrant repairs. If immediate safety hazards are found, the Department will withhold the issuance of violations for a limited time, giving homeowners the opportunity to make corrective repairs.
New Yorkers can start calling 311 today to schedule a free, no-penalty inspection anytime between May 1 and June 15, 2019. Factors including weather and shifting soil can cause decks, porches, and retaining walls to weaken, deteriorate, or lean over time, and it is important that homeowners are diligent in making sure these structures are safe and code compliant in order to prevent potential accidents.
DOB LAA and Plumbing Units Present at 2019 License Renewal Course
DOB's Plumbing and LAA units represented the Department at the SUNY Empire State Plumbing Foundation of New York Construction Trades License Training Corp. 2019 License Renewal Course for Master Plumbers and Master Fire Suppression Contractors. Deputy Director of LAA Audits and Quality Assurance Ikwumma Daniels and Assistant Chief Inspector for Plumbing Elias Katsihtis gave presentations, and other members of DOB's plumbing and LAA units were on hand to provide advice and answer student questions during the event's Q and A session.
Guilty Plea Announced in 2015 Unsafe Façade Incident
On April 26th, the Department announced that Esplanade Venture Partnership has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts for criminal violations of the City's Administrative Code, for failure to maintain the building façade (exterior wall) of 305 West End Avenue, Manhattan. In 2015, pieces of the façade fell from the building to the sidewalk below which resulted in the death of a two-year-old girl and injury to her grandmother. DOB initially filed criminal charges against Esplanade in Manhattan Criminal Court in 2016, for failing to maintain their building, even after they were repeatedly warned of the failing condition of the building's façade. As part of the guilty plea, Esplanade was issued the highest fine allowed by law for the two charges, i.e., $25,000 for each charge for a total of $50,000. In addition, the managing agent of Espanlade Venture Partnership, Alexander Scharf, who was also charged, has agreed to pay $5,000 in restitution to the City.
Construction Worker Memorial
On Thursday, April 25th, DOB's Acting Commissioner Tom Fariello and Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement Tim Hogan attended the Construction Workers Memorial Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, memorializing construction workers killed or injured on worksites in New York City.
Major Disciplinary Cases
DOB publishes monthly bulletins detailing the agency's efforts to sanction and deter bad actors in the construction industry. You can find this information posted on the Enforcement Action Bulletin page of our website.
2014 Construction Code Updates
Update pages are printable inserts to keep your hard copy Construction Codes up to date.
All update pages for the 2014 NYC Construction Codes.
Local Law 62 of 2019 (Int. No. 862) A Local Law in to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to allowing the Department of Buildings to issue stop work orders along with notices to revoke work permits.
Local Law 59 of 2019 (Int. No. 353-B) A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the City of New York, in relation to the provision of e-mail notifications for construction project status updates.
Hearings + Rules
Did You Know?
DOB is partnering with NYC DEP to provide New Yorkers with information about the ins and outs of stormwater construction permits. NYC DEP will be hosting webinars every Wednesday at 11am through June 5th. Click here to register.
Thomas Fariello, R.A. Acting Commissioner