How to Get that Job Stopped

By Austin Regan

This past year was a busy one for our industry. While most of us know not to complain about being busy or having too much work, even the most industrious can sometimes grow weary of the 6 and 7 day work weeks and all the late nights. Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep in today, Mr. Job Superintendent or maybe take the kids on a ski vacation. Mr. Owner, maybe you are tired of hearing about the construction milestones being met and the job running smoothly.

Well, the DOB is here to help. There are a myriad of specialized units at the DOB with dozens of inspectors all with full violation pads and pens at the ready. You need that job stopped? They can do it and with very short notice. Congratulations! You’ve been issued a Stop Work Order.

Below are some sure fire ways to get a Stop Work Order:

  • Work without a Permit. Not very original but it works.
  • Don’t tell your neighbor you will be underpinning their building. Apparently people take offense when you dig under their walls.
  • Dig next to a live gas main. Obvious issues here.
  • Don’t bother to finalize that contract with your 3rd party inspector. They will notify the DOB. They are not on the job.
  • Don’t bother to submit your 3rd party inspector’s paperwork to the DOB. What’s this hang up with paperwork?
  • Don’t bother to set up seismic monitoring of your Landmark neighbors. Yes. It is a law and, yes, it applies to your project too.
  • Change your Support of Excavation plans but don’t bother to get the changes approved by DOB. They needed to be approved?
  • Change your Support of Excavation engineer but don’t bother to get the change approved by the  DOB. Again with this responsible party stuff.
  • Do not build to the approved plans. Apparently those details mean something.
  • Do not have the approved plans. I was wondering what that big roll of drawings in the office were.

Most of what I described above actually occurred in 2015. In all cases the DOB was very accommodating giving construction workers extra days off and owners extra headaches. For those who wish to have an extended time off from the job here are some suggestions to keep that SWO in place:

  • Refuse to give the DOB the information they request.
  • Write letters explaining why the DOB is wrong.
  • Only give the DOB half of what they request.

While you may be enjoying your DOB enforced time off, Metropolis will work with the particular group who issued the SWO to get it lifted. Please keep in mind that revised plans cannot get instantly approved and your SWO is not the only issue the DOB is handling. Inspectors and examiners all have backlogs.

While the Stop Work Order is a dependable way to get a few days off from the construction site, we don’t recommend this approach to gaining some rest. It is hard to plan for quality time with the family since you never know when the SWO will be issued and for some reason not all parties involved in the project may think it is a good idea.

Plan your vacation time the more traditional way and leave the SWO’s to others. Happy New Year.