For Immediate Release
August 25, 2015


Homeowners Can Call 311 to Request a Penalty-Free Inspection at No Cost

Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler today launched the Department's annual No-Penalty Retaining Wall Inspection Program. Under this program, homeowners may call 311, or 212–NEW-YORK (212-639-9675), if outside the five boroughs to request an inspection of their property by a Buildings Inspector without penalty of violations. During the inspection, Building Inspectors will conduct visual examinations of retaining walls and record structural conditions such as bulging, displaced material or leaning of the wall. If repair is needed or violating conditions that are not immediately unsafe are found on walls, the Department will defer issuing violations until September 21, 2015 to allow property owners time to take corrective action. This program will be offered today through Friday, September 18, 2015.

"Retaining walls can cause serious damage to the public and neighboring properties if they are not properly maintained," said Commissioner Chandler. "This program is designed to encourage homeowners to check their walls and take action if they are unsafe." Retaining walls are designed to hold back soil that would move to a more natural slope or incline if the wall was not in place. As temperatures rise and the seasons change, retaining walls can become particularly susceptible to deterioration which can put nearby buildings at risk. Every homeowner is required by law to maintain their walls and their properties in a safe condition at all times. To strengthen oversight of these walls and improve safety, legislation was signed in August 2008 requiring property owners to perform periodic inspections of their retaining walls every five years and submit reports on the stability of the wall to the Department. To learn more about submitting reports to the Department, visit the Department's Retaining Walls webpage.

The inspection program was launched in 2005 to raise awareness about retaining wall maintenance following the collapse of a retaining wall above the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan.

Contact: Alexander Schnell (212) 393-2126
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