NYC Department of Buildings is Inspecting Construction Sites During Reopening – Are You Ready?

When New York City entered Phase 1 reopening on June 8th, work at construction sites was cleared to begin.  In addition to complying with all applicable Building and Electric Codes along with New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) regulations, the New York City and State COVID reopening requirements must be satisfied. Therefore, DOB inspectors have been mobilized to inspect DOB-permitted construction sites to ensure they are in compliance with the restarting rules.

What Minimum Requirements Apply to Restarting Construction?

  1. Take action as detailed in New York State’s Guidance for Construction Activities During The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.   
  2. Prepare and implement project-specific Safety Plans.
  3. Post the Safety Plan near all points of egress from the construction site, in visible locations.
  4. Complete an affirmation to the State to document your understanding and commitment to follow the State’s guidance.
  5. Keep a printed copy of the affirmation at the job site.

What Will Inspectors Evaluate During the Inspections?

  1. Site-specific Safety Plan with copy of affirmation is available and posted at visible job site locations.
  2. Workers and managers are practicing appropriate social distancing.
  3. Everyone on-site is wearing appropriate and acceptable face coverings following the State’s COVID guidance and OSHA worker safety guidelines.
  4. Availability of hand washing/sanitizing stations.
  5. COVID-19 signs are posted with reminders about proper procedures to protect against transmission of the virus.
  6. Filled out logs documenting cleaning and disinfection performed at the job site throughout the work day.
  7. Mandatory posting of 50% capacity limits in each landing and cab for tight spaces like elevators and hoists.
  8. A proper communication plan must be maintained to track all persons on-site to facilitate contact tracing as appropriate.

What Actions Can the DOB Inspectors Take?

According to reports from DOB inspectors, initial industry compliance with the restarting requirements was satisfactory but there was room for improvement. The inspectors will continue to visit DOB permitted worksites through July 7th with no monetary penalty associated with Phase 1 restart enforcement actions. During the first month of the restart, they will mainly focus on educating construction professionals to promote good work practices in order to minimize COVID transmission. Beginning July 8, 2020, penalties up to $5,000 per violation and Stop Work Orders are possible. Continued noncompliance may result in additional summonses with accompanying civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each offense. Inspectors also can issue violations with monetary penalties for any Construction Code, Electrical Code or other DOB non-compliance issues noted during the COVID sweep.

Walden’s team of environmental engineers and industrial hygiene professionals can help you plan and navigate the COVID reopening phases in the safest and most cost-effective way, while helping you avoid potential penalties.  Contact Walden today to discuss your reopening needs.

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