Noteworthy Approved and Pending Statutory and Regulatory Amendments

BILLS PENDING IN THE NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATURE

 

A00529:  Would require retainage to be kept in an interest bearing escrow account.

 

A00725A:  Would prohibit withholding retainage from material suppliers on public and private projects.

 

A01337:  Would create a new separate “independent building review agency” to oversee construction projects within the City of New York.

Memo in support of A01337 states the following as justification:

This measure is being introduced in response to the devastating construction accidents that have been regularly occurring in New York City and the lack of oversight, and building safety on construction sites. This legislation is intended to address the problems faced by construction mistakes that have caused death, injury, and/or property damage on dangerous job sites by establishing an independent building review agency in the city of New York to oversee the development and construction projects within the city of New York. If this legislation is enacted, meaningful oversight would be implemented in order to prevent dangerous situations and construction accidents from occurring in New York City.

 

A01413:  Would: 1) require contractors and developers to place a percentage of project costs into an escrow account to protect adjacent property owners from damage during construction; 2) would require a Stop Work Order be issued until the adjacent property is repaired; and 3) would require NYC DOB to establish a streamlined procedure to get adjacent property owner paid for damages within 60 days.

 

A04188:    Would require that anyone seeking to file a mechanic’s lien first provide certification from the County showing that they were authorized to carry out the type of work identified in the notice.

 

A04896:  Would amend Labor Law Section 240 and 241 to give contractors on residential new home construction the same exemption as home owners.

 

A05301:  Would extend the statute of limitations against contractors, architects and professional engineers to 10 years after completion of project (for personal injury, wrongful death or property damage)

 

A08805:  Would clarify when a claim against SCA arising out of a contract accrues.  Provides that such a claim accrues when the claim for payment is denied.  (Has been approved by Senate and Assembly)

 

 

 

CHANGES TO THE NYC CONSTRUCTION CODE (EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2014)

 

  • For new constructions, in order to be considered under 2008 code architectural, structural and foundation drawings must be submitted prior to October 1, 2014.  Other filings may be submitted after October 1, 2014.

 

  • New section 3301.3 requires that all equipment be used in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer and the specifications of the code.  If there is a conflict, the more stringent specification applies.

 

  • 3301.2 amended to specify that “the public” must be safeguarded during construction or demolition operations.

 

  • New section 3301.7:  any documents required by the code (i.e. safety plans, logs, inspection reports, etc.) must be: 1) kept on site; 2) copy maintained by permit holder; and 3) copy maintained by designer

 

  • 3301.8 amended to specify that the DOB be immediately notified by the permit holder (or their authorized agent) of an accident or any damage to an adjoining property.

 

  • New section 3301.8.1 provides that no work shall continue after an accident without permission of DOB Commissioner or an order from NYPD or FDNY (prohibition includes using or moving any equipment or material).  There is an exception for steps taken as emergency measures to safeguard life and property.
  • 3302 creates new definition of term “accident”

An occurrence directly caused by construction or demolition activity or site conditions that result in one or more of the following: 1) a fatality to a member of the public; 2) any type of injury to a member of the public; 3) a fatality to a worker; 4) an injury to a worker that requires transport by emergency medical services or requires immediate emergency care at a hospital or offsite medical clinic; 5) any complete or partial structural collapse or material failure; 6) any complete or partial collapse or failure of pedestrian protection, scaffolding, hoisting equipment, or material handling equipment; or 7) any material fall exterior to the building or structure

  • 3303.2.5 pulls from various previous regulations and requires that 72 hours’ notice be given prior to removing or relocating any utility services.
  • New section 3303.13.2 requires that where a project has been interrupted or abandoned for three months or more, a written safety monitoring plan must be submitted to the DOB and shall specify safeguards to be instituted and maintained to secure the site.
  • New section 3308.3 adds specifications for safety netting, including necessary design (also requires that details of safety netting appear on the site safety plan)
  • New section 3309.1.1 requires that notice be given to adjacent property owners where construction or demolition will, for protection purposes, under 3309 will require access to their property.  The notice must be given at least 60 calendar days prior to commencing work and describe the nature of the work, the estimated schedule and duration, details of inspections and monitoring, type of protections to be installed and contact information for the project.  If no response is received, a second notice must be sent no more than 45 calendar days and not less than 30 calendar days prior to commencement of work.
  • New section 3309.4.4 requires certain monitoring during the course of excavation work.  Requires monitoring in two situations: 1) buildings that are within a distance from the edge of the excavation that is equal to or less than the maximum depth of the excavation; or 2) historic structures that are contiguous to or within a lateral distance of 90 feet from the edge of the lot where an excavation is occurring.  No monitoring is required where the excavation is 5 feet or less provided that 1) the excavation occurs more than 5 feet from all footings and foundations; or 2) where the excavation occurs within 5 feet or less from a footing or foundation, such excavation does not occur below the level of the footing or foundation.
  • 3309.5 modified to clarify that underpinning requirements apply to demolition activities as well.
  • 3309.6 modified to clarify that it does not apply to excavations, fill or underpinning operations (section relates to monitoring requirements).
  • 3309.8 amended to specify that where an adjoining wall is exposed or breached, the person causing the construction or demolition shall maintain the structural integrity of the adjoining structure at his or her own cost.
  • 3309.10 amended to add new sections relating to protection of roofs including wind related risks.
  • New section 3309.13 provides for protection of adjoining equipment where a major building is constructed.
  • New section 3309.14 requires person performing construction or demolition to protect windows of adjacent property that are 20 feet or less from the perimeter of the work.  This is only applicable provided that the adjacent owner has afforded a license for such protection.  If a license is refused then the obligation to protect the windows falls on the owner of the adjacent property.
  • New section 3310.5.2 requires that the primary site safety manager be present at the site during all times while active work is occurring and through all phases of work, beginning with excavation and until the building is enclosed and the sidewalk shed is removed.  Provided for very limited instances in which the site safety manager is excused (for example when a hoist is being used only to transport personnel or during the finish trowelling of concrete floors)
  • New section 3310.11 allows Commissioner of DOB to modify, reduce or waive the site safety monitoring requirements of the code upon request by a registered design professional.  (New section 3310.11.1 specifies what must be in the request)

 

For comparison of all changes in 2014 code visit:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/downloads/pdf/2014_code_changes_chapter_33.pdf

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