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For Immediate Release
December 19, 2008

*** WARNING: INCLEMENT WEATHER ADVISORY ***

BUILDINGS DEPARTMENT ADVISES PROPERTY OWNERS, BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS TO TAKE PRECAUTIONARY STEPS IN PREPARATION OF
HEAVY SNOWFALL, RAIN AND HIGH WINDS

Heavy snowfall conditions and rain with wind gusts up to 40 mph are forecast for the New York City area from Friday, December 19 through Monday, December 22.  In preparation for the inclement weather, the Buildings Department is reminding all builders, contractors, developers and property owners to secure their construction sites and buildings.  The Buildings Department will be performing random spot-check inspections of construction sites around the city.  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.

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 heavy snowfall. Structures that have been subject to deferred maintenance or in delicate condition could be at greater risk.

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.
  • Secure exterior construction elevators.
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • Clear ice and snow from areas around the property that are used by the public.
  • Safely remove ice and snow from roofs and gutters.

To secure excavation 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 excavation site.
  • Secure and brace fencing, guardrails, scaffolding, ladders, stair towers, etc.
  • Secure and brace form work.
  • Relocate heavy equipment or storage away from unshored cuts.
  • Stabilize and tarp, if necessary, unshored cuts.
  • Check shored cuts for completeness.
  • Slope soil away from adjoining structures, lots and sidewalks to encourage proper drainage.
  • Tarp any exposed adjoining walls that have not been weatherproofed.

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.  Buildings 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/Kate Lindquist (212) 566-3473

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