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For Immediate Release
July 26, 2012

*** WARNING: INCLEMENT WEATHER ADVISORY ***

DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS ADVISES PROPERTY OWNERS AND CONTRACTORS TO TAKE PRECAUTIONARY STEPS IN PREPARATION OF POSSIBLE SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS AND HIGH WINDS

The National Weather Service forecasts possible severe thunderstorms with high winds up to 35 mph and potential hail for the New York City area today, Thursday, July 26, 2012. In preparation for these storms and windy weather, the Department is reminding all builders, contractors, and property owners to secure their construction sites and buildings. The Department will be performing random spot-check inspections of construction sites around the City. If sites are not safely secured, the Department will take immediate enforcement action with the issuance of violations and Stop Work Orders if necessary.

These winds may reach higher speeds than forecast depending on the area of the City. Property owners must consider the safety of their buildings and construction sites, including cranes, suspended and supported scaffolding, hoists and any other building appurtenances that may come loose from exposure to high winds. Structures that have been subject to deferred maintenance or are in delicate condition could be at greater risk. The Department suggests consulting a professional to advise how to secure construction sites and buildings. 

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

• 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, scaffolding and sidewalk sheds.
• 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 911 if there is an emergency on a construction site.

Buildings Bulletin 2010-019 outlines the requirements for vertical netting, debris netting and material fall protection devices at buildings and construction sites.

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

• 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 311 to report non-compliant conditions or 911 to report emergencies at construction sites or buildings. New Yorkers who suspect a building or property has been structurally compromised should call 911.
 
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 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.

For more information, please visit www.nyc.gov/buildings..

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