DOB Proposes New Construction Safety Measures & Code Revisions

DOB Proposes New Construction Safety Measures & Code Revisions

Last month, the Department of Buildings (DOB) announced five new construction safety bills and extensive updates to the city’s construction codes. The changes continue the city’s ongoing construction safety efforts, which have been credited with a 34% decrease in site-related injuries from 2018 to 2020.

Proposed Construction Safety Laws

Intro. 2278: Licensing General Contractors

The law would require all general contractors (GCs) to be licensed by DOB. In addition, GCs would need to demonstrate practical construction industry experience, complete site safety training, and assume responsibility for work they perform under their permits.

DOB would have the authority to take disciplinary action against GCs, including suspension of revocation of their license, if necessary.

Intro. 2263: Reduced Threshold for SSC and SSM Requirements

This measure would require full-time DOB-licensed Site Safety Coordinators (SSCs) or Site Safety Managers (SSMs) on all major construction sites of seven stories and higher. Contractors would need to submit Site Safety Plans for DOB approval before work could begin on major projects in the seven- to nine-story range.

Intro. 2276: Reduced Threshold for Construction Superintendent Requirements

Similar to Intro. 2263, this law would require full-time, DOB-licensed Construction Superintendents at all major construction projects of at least seven stories. The Construction Superintendents would work with SSCs or SSMs and assume responsibility for site safety and overall construction project management.

The legislation would also limit the number of non-major construction projects for which a construction superintendent may be designated.

Intro. 2264: Stricter Requirements for Cold-Formed Steel Construction

This law creates new safety requirements for special inspectors, construction superintendents, design professionals, and permit holders who are performing cold-formed steel light-frame construction work in New York City. The goal is to prevent overloading and improper installation of cold-formed steel, which have caused injuries, fatalities, and property damage.

Intro. 2262: Banning Stand-Off Brackets

The measure would permanently prohibit the use of stand-off brackets for C-hook suspended scaffold installations.

Comprehensive Construction Code Revisions

The proposed code revisions represent the first comprehensive updates to the current Administrative, Plumbing, Building, Mechanical, and Fuel Gas Codes since 2014. Technical committees comprised of stakeholders across the construction industry have proposed 627 new or expanded changes to the existing codes, as well as thousands of minor changes. These updates would align the city’s construction codes with improved national safety standards and technical advancements.

Proposed revisions address enhancements to the following:

  • Emergency Response
  • Fire Protection
  • Vertical Transportation and Accessibility
  • Elevator Safety
  • Tenant Protection, Streamlined Building Occupancy, and Increased Affordable Housing
  • Construction Safety
  • Building System Construction and Inspection
  • Sustainability and Resiliency

Once enacted, the code changes would go into effect the following year. We will provide updates on new developments as they occur, including the potential impact on your projects.

If you have questions about these changes, please contact Metropolis Group at 212.233.6344.