Construction Site Fire Safety

The Administrative Code of the City of New York §28- 301.1 requires owners to maintain their properties in a safe condition. Property owners and construction site managers must minimize the risk of accidents and fire. Stalled construction sites and poorly maintained properties are especially vulnerable.


Following Fire Prevention Regulations

  • Smoking on construction sites is illegal. NYC Building Code 3303.7.3 and NYC Fire Code §1404.1.
  • Tobacco, lighters and matches are prohibited on asbestos abatement sites. Local Law 35/09.
  • Open fires are illegal on construction sites. NYC Fire Code §1404.3.
  • Approved portable fire extinguishers must be available on floors where combustible materials or liquids are stored, combustible waste is being generated and at the entrance of each storage and construction shed. NYC Fire Code §1415.1.
  • Temporary heating equipment used at construction sites must comply with NYC Fire Code §1403.
  • If you have a Fire Department variance to use a coal-fired heater, you must minimize the fire load on concrete construction projects. NYC Building Code §3303.6 and NYC Fire Code §307.2.2. To apply for a variance, contact FDNY’s Bureau of Fire Prevention at (718) 999 – 2377.
  • Replace wooden access ladders to forming and stripping floors with non-combustible ladders. NYC Building Code §3303.6.1.
  • Store materials away from flames. NYC Fire Code §308.2.

Constructing Safe Shanties

  • Build shanties or contractor sheds with fire-retardant or non-combustible materials and locate them in safe areas. NYC Building Code §3303.1.3.
  • Provide proper fire protection devices. NYC Building Code §3303.7.2 and NYC Fire Code §1408.4.
  • Comply with Electrical and Fire Codes and, where possible, use hardwired electric heaters or portable electric heaters with auto shut-off.

Keeping Pipes Safe

  • Construction sites must meet the requirements of the 2003 edition of the NFPA 14 (National Fire Protection Association), as modified by the NYC Building Code.
  • Protect all sprinkler and standpipe lines from freezing. NFPA-14 §6.1.2.3.  
  • Never thaw frozen pipes with a flame. Flames cause fires and steam explosions.
  • Check valves to be sure they’re dry. Dry valves don’t freeze.
  • Use heat trace tape along pipes in problem areas.
  • Open a faucet near the frozen area to release melting ice vapors.  
  • Carefully thaw frozen areas with a heat gun, heat lamp or space heater.  
  • Have your roof water tank checked to be sure it’s protected from freezing. NFPA 14 §9.1.4(4)e.
  • When hydrostatically testing standpipes in freezing temperatures, follow NFPA 14 §11.4.5.

Visit the New York City Fire Department for more information on fire prevention.