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For Immediate Release
October 26, 2012

*** WARNING: INCLEMENT WEATHER ADVISORY ***

BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER ROBERT LIMANDRI ORDERS ALL CONSTRUCTION WORK IN NEW YORK CITY SUSPENDED BEGINNING SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27 UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF HURRICANE SANDY

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today ordered all exterior work at construction sites in New York City suspended as of 5 p.m. Saturday, October 27, 2012 until further notice due to the severe weather conditions expected from Hurricane Sandy. All previously issued construction permits for exterior work, including crane permits, scaffold and sidewalk shed permits and after-hours variances, are suspended during this time period. This excludes work related to safeguarding construction sites or damage repair work related to the storm. The National Weather Service is forecasting impacts from the hurricane will reach the New York City area by early Sunday evening, bringing heavy rainfall, high winds and potential flooding of coastal areas, rivers and streams. 

In preparation for the stormy weather, the Department of Buildings is reminding all contractors and property owners to secure their construction sites and buildings. The Department will be performing random spot-check inspections of construction sites throughout the City to ensure all equipment is secured and enforce the no-work order. If sites are not safely secured in preparation for the storm, inspectors will take immediate enforcement action with the issuance of violations and other necessary actions. 

Winds during the storm may reach higher speeds than forecast depending on the area of New York City. All contractors and property owners must take steps to secure their construction sites and buildings, which includes cranes, suspended and supported scaffolding, hoists and any other building appurtenances that may come loose under heavy winds and rain. Structures that have been subject to deferred maintenance or in delicate condition could be at greater risk. The Department strongly suggests consulting a professional to advise how to safely secure construction sites and buildings. 

To secure 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 9-1-1 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.

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