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For Immediate Release
June 21, 2010


Change in Seasons and Aging Can Lead to Deterioration

Homeowners Encouraged to Call 311 for No Penalty, No Cost Inspections

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today launched the No-Penalty Deck and Porch Inspection Program, an initiative to help property owners throughout the City ensure their decks and porches are structurally sound and in compliance with City regulations. Aging and seasonal changes in weather are significant factors that can make these structures susceptible to deterioration and potential collapse. During the summer months, these structures will be used more frequently, and this program enables homeowners to request an inspection in order to prevent an accident from occurring. Under the program, there is no risk or violation for the initial visit by the Department. In the event that repairs are needed, or unsafe conditions that do not present an imminent danger are found, inspectors will defer issuing violations to allow property owners sufficient time to take corrective action.

From today till August 1, Department inspectors will conduct visual examinations for all property owners who call 311 to request a free inspection. Inspectors will look for structural conditions, such as cracking, rotting, failed connections, and other warning signs that can help a property owner avoid a potential structural failure. If dangerous conditions that pose an immediate risk to public safety are detected, the Department will take action to address the structural concerns.

“On this first official day of summer, we want to remind New Yorkers how important it is to make sure your decks and porches are safe and secure,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “Before inviting your friends and family members to your home, play it safe and ask one of our inspectors to perform an inspection. Failing to maintain these structures can turn into a nightmare for any homeowner that will cost a significant amount of time, money and heartache. We strongly encourage homeowners to call 311 and capitalize on this opportunity.”

A deck or porch is an unenclosed, unroofed, relatively level paved or planted area adjoining a building. It is supported by structural framing above the surrounding ground at the level of the first story of a house.

This program comes after the Department’s sixth-annual No-Penalty Retaining Wall Inspection Program, which allows homeowners to request an inspection of their retaining wall without the penalty of violations. It was especially critical this year because of an unprecedented amount of rainfall in New York City, which can compromise the stability of retaining walls.

Every homeowner is required by law to maintain their decks and their properties in a safe condition at all times. To learn more about property maintenance, visit the Department’s website at

New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report non-compliant conditions or 911 to report emergencies at construction site.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Jennifer Gilbert (212) 566-3473