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For Immediate Release
April 17, 2013


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

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today announced the Department’s 9th 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 today, April 17 and May 31, by calling 311.

“Maintaining a retaining wall can mean the difference between a summer of fun or a summer of stress for a property owner,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “That’s why we’re reminding property owners to have their retaining wall inspected by a professional or ask the Department for a free, no-penalty inspection under our annual program. This inspection will provide owners with the opportunity to fix any structural conditions before it’s too late – saving an enormous amount of time, money and heartache.”

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 more than 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/Gloria Chin                               (212) 566-3473
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