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Finally Scaffolding Reform is on the Horizon

By NYC Hospitality Alliance

December 7, 2016

It's no secret that scaffolding (sidewalk sheds) play an important role in protecting people from falling debris from building construction.

But it's also no secret that scaffolding that is left up for extended periods of time has a devastating impact on restaurants and bars, ranging from a significant loss of business, reduction of employee hours and layoffs, to being a major factor in some businesses closing. 

Earlier this year The Alliance conducted a survey of our membership, in partnership with the NYC Department of Small Business Services inquiring about the impact of scaffolding on their businesses. The responses showed clearly that when scaffolding is left up unnecessarily it too often poses a significant and sometimes existential threat to restaurants.

That's why we are thrilled to announce that Council Member Ben Kallos has introduced legislation that if passed would regulate the length in which scaffolding may stay constructed, helping to mitigate unnecessary scaffolding that stays up for many months or in some cases years beyond it's intended purpose. 

Key highlights of the legislation are as follows:

  • 90 days for building owners to fix a dangerous condition.
  • 90 additional days for building owners to fix the dangerous condition upon extension.
  • After 180 days, the city would do the work to correct the dangerous condition and bill the owner for all costs.
  • Work could not be interrupted for more than 7 days without a mandate to take down the sidewalk shed or face heavy penalties.
  • Under the same legislation, new construction would need to continue without more than 7 days of interruption until the new development is safely capped off or completed. Exemptions in the legislation provide for weather, stop work orders, time awaiting permit renewals or in cases of safety risks.

The Alliance will review this legislation carefully and work to ensure that the City of New York finally takes action to eliminate unnecessary scaffolding that has plagued NYC businesses for too long.


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