Retaining Wall

Owners of properties with a retaining wall that faces a public right-of-way and has any portion of the wall extending ten feet or higher must have their retaining wall inspected every five years by a Qualified Retaining Wall Inspector (QRWI) and a condition assessment report of the inspection must be submitted to the Department by the QRWI within 60 days of completing the inspection.

To be qualified as a QRWI, a licensed structural engineer must apply to the Department’s Retaining Wall Unit. See NYC Construction Codes §28-305.1 and RCNY §103-09 for more information. View the current list of qualified QRWIs.

Inspection Cycle

The current inspection cycle (Cycle 2) runs from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2023.

Staggered Sub-Cycles

Cycles are staggered into five (5) sub-cycles. For retaining walls in the:

  Bronx   January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019
  Manhattan   January 1, 2020  to  December 31, 2020
  Staten Island        January 1, 2021  to  December 31, 2021
  Queens   January 1, 2022  to  December 31, 2022
  Brooklyn   January 1, 2023  to  December 31, 2023

Fees

  • Initial filing: $355.00
  • Amended filing: $130.00
  • Application for extension of time to complete repairs: $260.00

Civil Penalties

  • Late filing: $250.00 per month
  • Failure to file: $1,000 per year
  • Failure to correct an unsafe condition: $1,000 per month (prorated daily)

Retaining Wall Ratings

All retaining walls must be given one of four ratings by the QRWI:

  • Safe
  • Safe with Minor Repairs or Maintenance
  • Safe with Repairs and/or Engineering Monitoring
  • Unsafe

Steps for Compliance

  • Identify if the retaining wall must be inspected. If you have an entire retaining wall or part of a retaining wall on your property and it is ten feet or higher at any point on your property and faces a public right-of-way, you must have the wall inspected by a QRWI, and an assessment report must be submitted by the QRWI to the Department. Owners that share a retaining wall with one or more neighbors may hire one QRWI to inspect the wall.
  • QRWI conducts inspection. The QRWI conducts the inspection of the retaining wall and determines the rating of the wall.
  • QRWI submits condition assessment report and filing fees. Within 60 days after completing the assessment the QRWI must submit a report to the Department that meets, at a minimum, the criteria listed in 1 RCNY §103-09. The filing fees are payable by each property owner the report is submitted for, meaning a wall with multiple owners may have one report submitted for all of the owners but the filing fees must be paid by each individual owner.

Additional Compliance Information

More Information