Winterizing Construction Sites

Properties must be kept safe under NYC Administrative Code §28-301.1. Stalled construction sites and poorly maintained properties are especially vulnerable.

Temporary Heat

Temporary heating equipment used at construction sites must comply with NYC Fire Code §1403.

If you have a Fire Department variance to use a coal-fired heater, you must minimize the fire load on concrete construction projects. NYC Building Code §3303.6 and NYC Fire Code §307.2.2. To apply for a variance, contact FDNY’s Bureau of Fire Prevention at (718) 999–2377.

Replace wooden access ladders to forming and stripping floors with non-combustible ladders. NYC Building Code §3303.6.1 (link to NYC Building Code)

Store materials away from flames. NYC Fire Code §308.2.

Pipe Safety

New York City construction sites must meet the requirements of the 2003 edition of the NFPA 14 (National Fire Protection Association), as modified by the NYC Building Code.

  • Protect all sprinkler and standpipe lines from freezing. NFPA-14 §
  • Never thaw frozen pipes with a flame. Flames cause fires and steam explosions.
  • Check valves to be sure they’re dry.
  • Use heat trace tape along pipes in problem areas.
  • Open a faucet near the frozen area to release melting ice vapors.
  • Carefully thaw frozen areas with a heat gun, heat lamp or space heater.
  • Have your roof water tank checked to be sure it’s protected from freezing. NFPA 14 §9.1.4(4)e.
  • When hydrostatically testing standpipes in freezing temperatures, follow NFPA 14 §11.4.5.


  • Remove debris each day.
  • Secure material, netting, ladders, chutes and accessories; put smaller items in a tool box or container.
  • Remove ice and snow.

Fences, Sheds and Scaffolds

  • Secure scaffolding and sidewalk sheds; brace and secure construction fences.
  • No work on scaffolds covered in snow, ice or slippery material, except to remove the slip hazard. OSHA Regulations, Title 29 CFR §1926.451 (f) 8.
  • No work on/from a scaffold during storms/high winds, unless workers are protected by a fall prevention mechanism. OSHA Regulations, Title 29
  • CFR §1926.451 (f) 12.

Cranes & Derricks

  • Operators must follow manufacturer recommendations and engineer notes/drawings for high wind.
  • Cranes inactive more than 30 days must be properly stored, inspected and maintained – including positioning and set up for inclement weather.
  • NYC Building Code, RS 19-2 §15.5, §25.2 and OSHA
  • Regulations, Title 29 CFR Subpart N, §§1910.180 (d).


  • Avoid using personnel hoists in heavy rain, icy/freezing conditions or winds reaching 35mph, as per the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Hoists that have been exposed to winds stronger than 35mph must be inspected and put in operable condition before use. OSHA Regulations, Title 29 CFR §1926.552 (c)17(iii).

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