The Scaffold Law is a 1885 New York State Law the places liability on owners and contractors for injury stemming from the failure to provide scaffold safety protections required by building codes. In later years, the courts added the terms “strict” and “absolute” to liability, thus eliminating any ruling of shared liability between owner/contractor and injured worker. This is currently a hot button issue as owners, contractors and insurance companies feel scaffold related injury cases are a slam-dunk for the injured, who receive exorbitant settlements that in turn increase construction costs. (more...)
In an effort to curtail the recent surge of construction injuries, the DOB has ramped up its stop work order issuances. Stop work order issuances increased three times faster than permit issuances from 2012-2016. Following approved plans and construction safety measures can prevent stop work orders. Project teams lose money when construction is stymied by a stop work order. Getting construction crews back up and running is critical. (more...)
Prospective building owners should do their homework before pulling the trigger on a purchase. There could be restrictions on the property or fees unrecognized in the sales price. Large buildings will typically get a due diligence report from an expediting company. Here are five things owners have to look into before buying New York City property.Is the site on a zoning lot merger?
Buildings on a zoning lot merger may be restricted from expanding. (more...)
The combining of residential units has become increasingly popular in New York City. Residential combinations can range from the joining of two apartments to turning a larger multiple dwelling into a single family home.
Combining residential units can be tricky. Major upgrades to fire and life safety systems, accessibility and egress may be in order. Here are the leading issues surrounding residential unit combinations.Is There a Change in Use, Egress or Occupancy? (more...)
The DOB announced a critical change to the way the Administrative Enforcement Unit handles DOB-ECB violation corrections. Going forward, the AEU will only issue two tickets for same day Certificate of Correction service, down from three. Secondly, the AEU will only issue same day Certificate of Correction tickets for Hazardous Class 1 Violations and violations eligible for a cure. Violations that fall outside of this scope will have to go into the slower drop off service. (more...)
New York City Council is currently floating two bills that may drop the hammer on illegal conversions. The first allows circumstantial evidence to be used to issue violations for illegal conversions. The second targets unlicensed professionals doing illegal plumbing and fire safety work.
Section 28-210.1 of the Administrative Code defines illegal conversions in New York City as the conversion of “any dwelling for occupancy by more than the legally authorized number of families.” Intro 0393-2014 intends to add to this 28-210.1 that the Department or any law enforcement entity acting to enforce this section “shall be authorized to issue a summons or notice of violation for a violation of this section based on readily observable circumstantial evidence which evidence may be refuted before a court of competent jurisdiction or before the environmental control board prior to the imposition of a final determination.”
The bill goes on to define circumstantial evidence as a greater number of:
- mailboxes than legal dwelling units
- operational facility meters than legal dwelling units
- doorbells servicing a dwelling than legal dwelling units
Fines for violations are $1000. (more...)
On October 21st, 2016 New York Governor Cuomo signed the bill 8704-C into law, imposing fines for the advertisement of illegal short term transient occupancies. Referred to as the “Airbnb Bill,” the bill does not target Airbnb specifically, nor does it make Airbnb’s services illegal. The use of a Class A residential dwelling for a duration of less than 30 days already violates the Multiple Dwelling Law of 1929. (more...)