Concerns over potential damage to adjacent properties in New York City has become a real concern for contractors and developers looking to work in the Big Apple. Perhaps in response to the growing number of adjacent property damage claims, the 2014 amendments to the NYC Building Code added a new section 3309.4.5 which provides as follows:
When, in the opinion of the commissioner, a potential hazard exists as a result of soil or foundation work, elevations of the adjacent buildings shall be recorded or other monitoring procedures shall be implemented by a registered design professional at intervals of 24 hours or less as determined by the commissioner to ascertain if movement has occurred.
The new section will provide some relief both to aggrieved property owners and developers. Those who believe their property has been damaged have an avenue of mitigation as the Commissioner and immediately order the building to be monitored. This puts a bit of onus on property owners to be diligent and report violations or concerns about damage. Contractors and developers have some protection because the monitoring may show no movement and reduce the likelihood of a potentially frivolous claim in the future.