For Immediate Release: June 21, 2018
CONTACT:, (212) 393-2126

Tips from DOB to Get Properties Ready for Summer

NEW YORK – The New York City Department of Buildings is marking the start of summer by reminding owners and contractors to make sure properties and construction sites ready by offering guidance from DOB experts on seasonal code-compliance. From beating the heat, to mitigating mosquitos, firing up the grill, and keeping an eye on the weather, DOB is providing the following tips to make sure you have a safe and happy summer.

Stay Cool with an AC Unit:

Window air conditioning units are one of the easiest ways to keep cool during the summer. The proper installation and maintenance of these AC units is important to maximize efficiency and prevent accidents. Remember, if DOB finds a window AC that is not properly secured and endangering the public below, we may issue violations.

  • Examine the window and frame where you will be installing the AC unit to ensure it can continue to support the unit safely.
  • When installing an window AC unit always follow the manufacturer's instructions, and use an appropriate window bracket when directed.
  • Never install an AC unit in a window leading to a fire escape, cutting off your way out in an emergency.
  • Never prop up an AC unit with books, pieces of wood or other loose pieces of materials – these can become dislodged and fall off the building.
  • Make sure your AC unit is running efficiently by checking the filter and internal coils to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced.
  • Ensure your AC unit is properly sized to maximize effectiveness and energy efficiency. You can find tips for finding the right size unit for your space here.

See our website for additional instructions on proper AC installation.

Stamp Out Standing Water and Mosquitoes:

Mosquitoes are not just a nuisance; they can pose a danger through the spread of diseases, such as West Nile Virus. Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs. Even very small amounts of water, in a space as small as a bottle cap, can serve as a breeding ground. Check your property to eliminate of standing water, so your family and neighbors can enjoy the outdoors during the summer months.

For homeowners:

  • Pick up and properly dispose of any trash that can collect water, and keep waste bins covered and drill holes in the bottom to allow them to drain.
  • Do not overwater plants and lawns, and dump and clean saucers of potted plants every three or four days.
  • Clear clogged rain gutters.
  • Turn over wading pools when not in use, remove unused tires from property, and clean and change the water in bird baths and pet dishes regularly.
  • For more information on eliminating standing water on your property, see the Health Department’s homeowner checklist.

For contractors:

  • Keep work sites free of standing water.
  • Maintain natural surface drainage during any excavation, construction or demolition project.
  • When not in use, either cover with a tarp or turn over any bins, buckets, wheelbarrows and other equipment and supplies that can trap water.
  • Make sure tarps do not collect water.
  • Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to violations and other enforcement actions from the Department.

Find out more about mosquitoes on the NYC Health website.

Be Prepared For Sudden Summer Storm:

Summer thunderstorms can be unpredictable and are often accompanied by high winds. Homeowners and contractors are legally required to keep properties safe, which includes ensuring they are properly prepared in the event of unexpected storms.

  • Secure outdoor furniture on decks, roofs, and balconies to prevent them blowing over and creating a safety hazards,
  • Awnings, shade umbrellas, portable gazebos, and lawn chairs should be securely fastened or properly stored while not in use,
  • Clear your gutters and property of any potential drainage blockages to allow for proper storm water runoff.
  • Stay informed by checking local weather forecasts for any potential hazardous weather.

Sign up for DOB weather advisories for a heads-up on approaching storms by emailing

Be Safe While Using the BBQ Grill:

Summer barbeques are a New York City tradition, but no matter what type of grill you are using – propane, electric, charcoal, or natural gas – common sense is needed to prevent accidents. Be careful around a hot grill, follow the manufacturer's instructions, and comply with the safety standards outlined in the NYC Fuel Gas Code and NYC Fire Code to ensure your next barbeque goes off without a hitch.

  • Never grill indoors.
  • It’s illegal and dangerous to store or use any kind of grill on a fire escape.
  • Have immediate access to a fire extinguisher, hose, water barrel or sand when grilling.
  • Keep all barbecues at least 10 feet from anything that can easily catch fire, including building walls, deck surfaces, furniture or other items.
  • Never leave a grill unattended while in use.

For additional tips on getting your property summer-ready, check out the Home Maintenance section of our website, where we have information about energy efficiency, retaining walls, fences, swimming pools, and home improvement projects.

Property owners are always welcome to attend DOB’s weekly Homeowners Night where DOB experts are on hand to provide one-on-one consultations on a range of issues, including resolving violations, the permitting process, building safety, and home renovation projects. Homeowners Night takes place every Tuesday from 4-7 pm at each of DOB’s five borough offices; no appointment is needed, just stop by.

DOB encourages anyone who witnesses potentially dangerous conditions, including precariously-placed AC units, stagnant water, unsecured construction sites, or fire safety issues to alert the Department by calling 311 and filing a complaint.


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