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PR- 260-08
July 1, 2008


Codes Require New Safety Measures for Construction Sites, Improve Fire Protection and Structural Integrity for New Buildings, and Enhance Penalties for Violations

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Acting Buildings Commissioner Robert D. LiMandri today announced the launch of the new City of New York Construction Codes, the first modernization of the Building Code since 1968. Written with the supporting expertise of more than 400 dedicated professionals from the construction industry, real estate, labor, government and academia, the NYC Construction Codes are in line with national standards and will enhance building and construction safety through expanded requirements for fire protection, structural integrity, and job site accountability on all new construction projects. In addition, the new NYC Construction Codes expand the framework for the Buildings Department's enforcement and administrative actions by re-classifying violations to focus enforcement resources on buildings and job sites that pose the most serious safety hazards to construction workers and the public.

"These codes are more user-friendly for the building professionals and incorporate critical safety measures that better protect millions of New Yorkers at work and at home," said Mayor Bloomberg. "I want to thank Acting Commissioner LiMandri, former Commissioner Patricia Lancaster, our partners in the Council and everyone in the industry who came together to get this done."

"Today, we take the first step toward the modernization of our City's building code," said Speaker Quinn. "Whether we're talking about the enhanced safety regulations or the promise of more sustainable development, these new codes will be a invaluable tool in improving the totality of construction in our city. Mayor Bloomberg and his Administration, Housing and Buildings Chair Erik Martin Dilan and the rest of my Council Colleagues should be proud of accomplishing something that our government has not addressed for nearly 40 years."

"Starting today, the New York City Building Code has entered the 21st Century," said Housing and Buildings Chair, Erik Martin Dilan. "For 40 years, developers and contractors have been using outdated codes. This bill finds the perfect balance in mandating safer and more sustainable buildings, while protecting the construction workers who risk their lives everyday on the job. It also takes advantage of the technological advances by mandating the use of better, and often cheaper, materials."

"The new NYC Construction Codes are a landmark achievement for this Department," said Acting Commissioner LiMandri. "These regulations represent a major step in the modernization of the Department and raise construction safety standards to a level never seen before in this City."

Starting today, the Buildings Department begins a one-year transition period when applications for new buildings may comply with either the 1968 Building Code or the new NYC Construction Codes - which include the Building, Fuel Gas, Mechanical, and Plumbing Codes. On July 1, 2009, the NYC Construction Codes will be mandated for all new construction. Henceforth, all construction receiving permits, regardless of whether the plans comply with the 1968 Building Code or new NYC Construction Codes, is subject to the new administration, enforcement, and construction safety rules, which include:

  • New Violation Classification System. Violations are now re-classified to enable Buildings Inspectors to zero-in on the buildings or construction sites that present the most significant risk to the public. Under the new system, violations fall into three classes that range in severity depending on the risk the condition poses to public safety. Penalties for violations are substantially increased in conjunction with the new classification system.

  • New Safeguards Required During Construction. Construction sites holding permits are subject to new requirements to safeguard the public and property. The new requirements expand the Site Safety program to apply to more building types, call for new safety procedures for certain types of demolition, and enhance protection for properties adjoining excavation sites.

  • Special Inspections to Monitor for Compliance as Construction Proceeds. Third-party inspectors are now required to conduct more inspections at critical points in the construction process to advance compliance with construction regulations. The third-party inspectors, who must meet qualifications established by the Buildings Department, will verify that the conditions on the job site comply with the approved construction documents.

Buildings constructed under the new Codes will be subject to enhanced structural integrity and fire protection measures, which include:

  • Expanded Structural Safety. Enhanced design requirements, including stronger connectivity requirements for steel and concrete construction, will enable buildings to better withstand conditions such as strong winds, vehicular impacts, and gas explosions.

  • Enhanced Emergency Systems. Emergency voice communication systems and emergency power generators will be required in all new residential buildings 125 feet or higher. In an emergency, these systems enable the Fire Department to speak to tenants and use back-up power for egress lighting and for at least one elevator.

  • Sprinklers Required in More Buildings. Automatic sprinkler systems will now be required in more buildings, including residential buildings of three units or more, attached two-family homes, and one- and two-family homes that are more than three stories.

The NYC Construction Codes are modeled after the International Code Council's International Building Code but have been modified to meet the needs of New York's dense urban environment. Signed into law by the Mayor in July 2007, the NYC Construction Codes require the Department to revise the Codes every three years to incorporate new standards, technologies and materials. To learn more about the codes, please visit


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Jamie McShane (Council)   (212) 788-7117

Tony Sclafani/Kate Lindquist   (Buildings Department)
(212) 566-3473

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