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For Immediate Release
January 31, 2011

*** WARNING: INCLEMENT WEATHER ADVISORY ***

DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS ADVISES PROPERTY OWNERS, BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS TO SAFELY REMOVE ICE AND SNOW FROM ROOFS AND TAKE PRECAUTIONARY STEPS IN PREPARATION FOR WINTER STORM

The National Weather Service is forecasting 2 to 5 inches of snow with sleet and freezing rain for the New York City area early tomorrow, Tuesday, February 1, 2011, through Wednesday evening. In preparation, the Department of Buildings is reminding all builders, contractors, and property owners to safely remove ice and snow from roofs, overhangs and awnings and secure their construction sites and buildings in preparation for the coming storm. If construction sites are not safely secured in preparation for the inclement weather, the Department will take immediate enforcement action with the issuance of violations and Stop Work Orders if necessary.

These gusts may reach higher speeds than forecast depending on the area of New York City.  Property owners must consider the safety of their buildings and construction sites, cranes, suspended and supported scaffolding, and any other building appurtenances that may come loose during the snowfall and wind gusts. Structures that have been subject to deferred maintenance or in delicate condition could be at greater risk.

To safely remove ice and snow from buildings and construction sites, builders, contractors, developers and property owners should take all precautionary measures including but not limited to he following:

  • Clear ice and snow from areas around the sites that are used by the public.
  • Safely remove ice and snow from flat roofs, gutters, and overhangs.
  • Clean out gutters and roof drains to allow water to drain.

To secure construction sites, builders, contractors and developers should take all precautionary measures including but not limited to the following:

  • Ensure concrete materials are heated in a compliant manner to prevent frost.
  • Cease using frozen materials or materials containing ice.
  • Clear ice and snow from areas around the sites that are used by the public.
  • Tie down and secure material and loose debris at construction sites.
  • Cover electrical equipment from exposure to the weather.
  • Store loose tools, oil cans and extra fuses in a tool box.
  • Secure netting and scaffolding.
  • Suspend crane operations and secure crane equipment when wind speeds reach 30 mph or greater.
  • Suspend hoist operations and secure exterior hoists when wind speeds reach 35 mph or greater, unless manufacturer specifications state otherwise.
  • Brace and secure construction fences.
  • Call 9-1-1 if there is an emergency on a construction site.

To secure their buildings, property owners should take all precautionary measures including but not limited to the following:

  • Clear ice and snow from areas around the property that are used by the public.
  • Safely remove ice and snow from roofs and gutters.
  • Bring inside loose, lightweight objects such as lawn furniture, potted plants, garbage cans, garden tools and toys.
  • Anchor objects that would be unsafe outside, such as gas grills or propane tanks.
  • Close up and secure patio umbrellas.
  • Secure retractable awnings.
  • Remove aerial antennas and satellite television dishes.

New Yorkers are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to report non-compliant conditions or 9-1-1 to report emergencies at construction sites, buildings or properties. New Yorkers who suspect a building or property has been structurally compromised should call 9-1-1.

Under §28-301.1 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, property owners are legally obligated to maintain their properties in a safe condition.  Department of Buildings weather advisories are strictly a courtesy to remind property owners to prepare their properties for inclement weather and cannot be read to suggest that the Department, rather than the property owner, is responsible for maintaining his or her property.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Carly Sullivan (212) 566-3473
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