Sidewalk sheds are temporary structures built to protect people or property. Property owners must install a shed when constructing a building more than 40 feet high, demolishing a building more than 25 feet high — and when danger necessitates this type of protection. Sidewalk sheds must be removed immediately once construction, demolition, or remediation work is complete.
Permits and Approvals
Sidewalk sheds may not be built without the Department’s prior approval and work permits. However, when there’s an immediate threat to safety, owners may build a shed and file a permit application within 24 hours.
Other City agencies may need to authorize a shed before the Department of Buildings approves the work permit. For example, the Office of Construction Mitigation and Coordination at the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) requires a Building Operation Permit for sidewalk sheds that must extend into the street.
Technical Requirements NYC Building Code §3307
- Length: Along property line and 20 feet into adjacent properties at buildings higher than 100 feet
- Width: 5-foot minimum and sufficient for foot traffic
- Passageway Height: 8-foot minimum clearance
- Lighting: Passageway must be lit by natural or artificial light at all times
- Shed Deck Strength: At least 300 pounds per square foot (150 pounds per square foot for sheds without storage and buildings less than 100 feet high)
- Deck Storage: Storing material on top of a shed may be illegal and is not advisable
- Egress: Fire escapes/exits may not be blocked
- Loading Areas: Always keep all openings for loading (at deck or street level) protected, barricaded, closed, or guarded
- Street Signs: DOT street signs should remain visible to pedestrians and drivers
Permit Durations, Expiration Penalties and Renewals
Initial sidewalk shed permits are generally valid for one year or until the contractor’s insurance expires – whichever is shorter. Environmental Control Board violations for sheds up after their permits expire may be as high as $8,000 per violation.
To renew a sidewalk shed permit, submit a written request (signed and sealed by a New York State licensed professional engineer or registered architect), the PW2 and all applicable fees to the LAA/Permit Renewal Unit or to the appropriate Department borough commissioner. Upon approval, applicant must print out the renewed permit and post it on site.
The NYC Construction Codes and the RCNY require that specific, identifying information be displayed in a central, visible area. Permits must be posted, and a sign must include the permit numbers and expiration dates and the permit holder’s name, address, and phone number.
Under NYC Construction Codes, it’s illegal to post any information, pictorial representation, business or advertising message on a sidewalk shed. However, when a sidewalk shed obscures an existing and legal business sign, the business may have a temporary sign posted to the face of the sidewalk shed.
Those seeking to install a sidewalk shed must:
- Complete and sign the PW2
- Maintain the sidewalk shed during the period the permit is valid
- File a new PW2 form if the Applicant of Record changes during the priod the permit is valid
- Detail inspections in an on-site maintenance log
- Contact the shed company regarding any damage to a sidewalk shed
- Cordon off any dangerous areas that may impact the public or workers.
To apply for the sidewalk shed permit, shed companies must:
If approved, whoever is identified on the PW2 form accepts responsibility for the ongoing maintenance of the shed.
NOTE: when putting up or taking down a sidewalk shed/scaffolding in NYC, you may need to obtain separate construction activity permits from the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), in addition to the sidewalk shed permit issued by the Department of Buildings.
This is just a reminder (not a change) that construction activities requiring a DOT permit include but are not limited to:
- Placing/storing construction material or equipment on the street;
- Temporarily closing the sidewalk;
- Constructing a temporary pedestrian walk in the roadway;
- Crossing the sidewalk with a motorized vehicle, where there is not an existing curb cut
All DOT permits can be obtained through the NYCStreets online system at nycstreets.net. Get more information on DOT permits, by visiting streetworksmanual.nyc. For questions, please contact DOT at ConstructionPermits@dot.nyc.gov or (212) 839-9566.
Sidewalk Shed Permits and Your Project
- Apply for a Temporary Construction Equipment Permit
- Obtain permit approval from the Department
- Complete and submit the Work Permit PW2 application for review and approval
- Pay the work permit fees and file/pull the permits
- Apply for an After-Hours Work Permit, when necessary. These may be renewed online