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Scaffolding on Every Corner

Real Estate Developments, Real Estate Legality

It seems that on almost every corner you look at, there is a scaffold up, and some kind of construction nearby. Typically they are meant to provide a cover for pedestrians from any debris that may fall from overhead construction. However, many residents are unhappy with the way that they look, and even worse, the potential dangers that they may bring with them. It all started in the 1980s when Local Law 10 came into effect. It “required buildings of six stories or more to conduct regular inspections of their front-facing facades every five years. That was replaced by Local Law 11 in 1998, which extended the inspection requirement to all facades, and imposed a requirement for protective scaffolding to be erected around buildings requiring facade work.”[1] Although the law requires scaffolding to be put up when construction work begins, it doesn’t provide the time period in which they are required to be taken down. Building owners use this lack of definition to stall time and save money.

Legislation was first proposed in 2016, and again in 2018 with minor changes. City Council Member, Ben Kallos, introduced the legislation. He suggests, [that] building owners [should] fix dangerous conditions within 90 days of inspection, with one 90-day extension available. If nothing is done to correct the dangerous condition within 180 days, the City would do the work themselves, and bill the landlord or building owner. And if construction work does not commence within seven days, the landlord or owner would be mandated to remove the shed or face heavy penalties.”[2] This proposed legislation is met with opposition by the Real Estate Board of New York. They argue that the legislation would cause a backup with the Department of Buildings, who are the ones that issue the construction permits to the buildings. The DOB would require far more resources to get the permits out, and more manpower to later inspect the façades. It would also cause a strain on co-ops and condos, as their assessment would have to be increased to finance the scaffolding. All in all, both sides would like to see the scaffolding come down in a timely manner, the only question is whether the legislation would hurt or help the situation.

[1] Sidransky, A.J. (November 2018), Scaffolding in NYC: Protection or Potential Danger? Retrieved from The Cooperator Accessed on December 19, 2018

[2] Id.

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