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For Immediate Release
May 3, 2011


Heavy Snow and Rainfall This Winter Could Compromise Retaining Wall Safety

Nearly 400 Inspections Requested Since the Start of Program

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today announced the launch of the Department’s annual No-Penalty Retaining Wall Inspection Program, which allows homeowners to call 311 to request a free retaining wall inspection. Between May 2 and June 3, 2011, property owners can call for an inspection without the threat of a penalty. During such inspections, inspectors examine structural conditions of the retaining wall, such as bulging, displaced material or leaning of the wall, and record the conditions. If repairs are needed, or the conditions do not pose an immediate safety hazard, the Department will defer issuing violations to allow property owners time to take corrective action. Since the program’s launch, the Department has performed nearly 400 inspections. 

“Taking precautions is the best way to protect you and your family,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “Following the severe weather conditions we experienced this winter, we are reminding New Yorkers that every rainfall and snowfall can have a lasting impact on their properties. Homeowners can call 311 to have a Department inspector evaluate the condition of their retaining walls and determine whether there is any potential danger. I encourage New Yorkers to call so we can ensure everyone stays safe at home this summer.” 

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. They can deteriorate as temperatures rise and the seasons change, which can put nearby buildings at risk. 

Homeowners are required by law to maintain their properties in a safe and compliant manner at all times. If dangerous conditions are found upon inspection, the Department will require immediate corrective action. New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report any non-compliant conditions. 

To learn more about retaining wall maintenance, visit the Department’s website at

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