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New York City Council moves to improve building construction safety

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New York — The New York City Council has introduced five construction safety bills and thousands of proposed amendments to the city’s building construction codes.

According to a New York City Department of Buildings press release issued April 22, the legislation and revisions are aimed at protecting construction workers and the public. Previous safety efforts led by DOB, including the implementation of an unprecedented construction safety training requirement, resulted in a 34% decrease in injuries on building construction sites from 2018 to 2020, the release adds.

One of the bills – Intro 2278 – calls for all general contractors to be licensed by DOB and would require license applicants to meet certain qualifications. It also would allow DOB to take disciplinary action, including suspending and revoking licenses, against contractors, if necessary.

Under Intro 2263, DOB-licensed site safety coordinators or managers would be required on major construction projects that are seven stories and higher. Meanwhile, Intro 2276 would require DOB-licensed construction superintendents to serve full-time alongside SSCs or SSMs on worksites that are seven stories and higher.

Intro 2264 is aimed at enhancing safety requirements for professionals performing cold-formed steel light-frame construction work, while Intro 2262 would permanently prohibit the use of stand-off brackets for C-hook suspended scaffold installations.

In addition, 627 new or expanded changes to existing codes have been proposed, along with thousands of minor changes. If implemented, they’d be the first comprehensive update to city construction codes since 2014, the release states.

 

The proposed code revisions include those related to construction safety, elevator safety, emergency response, fire protection, and building system construction and inspection. Among the changes targeting construction safety enhancement are:

  • Create a new license type for advanced crane technology, such as articulating boom cranes and roto-telehandlers, to ensure the equipment is operated safely.
  • Improve the safety and consistency of the underpinning of existing buildings.

“We must strive for safety through thoughtful legislation that incorporates the input from a wide range of stakeholders,” City Council member Robert E. Cornegy Jr., chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee, said in the release. “I do not accept that construction deaths are inevitable. I do not accept that buildings should explode from gas leaks or that elevator mishaps lead to death.”

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