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For Immediate Release
May 7, 2012


Homeowners Can Call 311 to Request a Penalty-Free Inspection at No Cost

More Than 400 Inspections Performed on Retaining Walls Citywide

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today announced the Department’s 8th annual No-Penalty Retaining Wall Inspection Program. Under the program, New Yorkers can request a free inspection of their retaining wall without the threat of receiving a violation if the wall is found to be in poor condition. During inspections, Department inspectors will examine a wall’s structural conditions to check if there is any bulging, displaced material or if the wall is leaning. If repairs are needed, the Department will defer issuing violations to allow property owners time to take corrective action. However, if dangerous conditions are found, the Department will take immediate action to make sure the unsafe conditions are corrected as soon as possible. Inspections can be requested between May 7 and June 30 by calling 311.

“Property owners have a responsibility to make sure every corner of their property is safe, and this program reminds them to pay special attention to their retaining wall,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “Retaining walls can deteriorate over time, and starting today, property owners can ask for a free, no-penalty inspection so they can have the opportunity to fix any structural conditions before it’s too late. Homeowners can save themselves time, money and heartache by taking the proper precautions and calling for an inspection today.”

Launched in 2005, the No-Penalty Retaining Wall Inspection Program was created following the collapse of a retaining wall above the Henry Hudson Parkway. The program seeks to ensure that retaining walls in New York City are properly maintained in order to prevent future accidents. Over the past five years, the Department has performed over 400 retaining wall inspections as part of the program.

Retaining walls are designed to hold back soil that would otherwise move to a more natural slope or incline if the wall were not in place. Over time, these walls can deteriorate as the seasons change and temperatures rise and fall, posing a safety risk to nearby buildings. By law, property owners are required to maintain these walls and perform periodic inspections of them every five years and submit reports on their condition to the Department. New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report any non-compliant conditions.

For more information, please visit the Department’s website at

Contact:    Tony Sclafani/Ryan FitzGibbon                              (212) 566-3473
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