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A New Headache?

Just in case boards and property managers don’t have enough to worry about when taking on large, complex projects, the city council has introduced yet another requirement. “If you need a work permit to build or alter your building, demolish your building, or make any other non-minor changes, then you will need a work permit and you will need a Safe Construction Bill of Rights,” says Doug Schultze, vice president/senior project manager at Merritt Engineering.

Local Law 159/17, which went into effect on December 28, 2017, requires owners of multifamily housing to provide a Safe Construction Bill of Rights for all jobs requiring a work permit, an emergency work permit, or in new construction when an application is made for a temporary certificate of occupancy. For each job, the bill must be distributed to every unit or posted in the lobby and on each floor within 10 feet of every elevator bank or, in non-elevator buildings, within 10 feet of every main stairwell.

“It doesn’t so much apply to a tenant doing alterations in their own apartment,” says Schultze. “However, if they do require a work permit for any of those alterations, then, yes, they would be responsible for publishing the bill of rights and making sure it gets distributed.” In such cases, the resident would supply the relevant information to the board, which would then distribute the bill.

According to the Department of Buildings, the notice must include:

•    a description of the type of work being conducted and the locations where the work will take place

•    the hours of construction

•    a projected timeline

•    a description of the amenities or essential services anticipated to be unavailable or interrupted during the work, and how the owner will minimize the effects

•    contact information for an agent or employee of the owner who can be reached for non-emergency matters pertaining to the work being performed

•    contact information for an agent or employee of the owner who can be reached for emergency matters pertaining to the work being performed 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the period of construction

•    contact information for the relevant city and state agencies where occupants may submit complaints or ask questions about the work being performed

In addition, says Schultze, a section of the administrative code known as the Tenant Protection Plan (TPP) must be incorporated into the Safe Construction Bill of Rights. It must include the specific methods a contractor will use for “controlling dust, disposing of debris, pest and vermin control, sanitary facilities, [and] noise abatement.” It must explain the means and methods for maintaining essential services such as heat, hot water, and gas throughout the construction period. The TPP has to outline any expected interruption of these services and how long it will last, and it must be made available upon request to any resident.

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Glossary [LEED]

An acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a holistic system for rating a building’s design, construction, operation, and maintenance. It takes into account such factors as building materials, indoor air quality, and a building’s proximity to mass transit. Some critics feel that LEED ratings – not annual energy- and water-use data – should be the basis for the city’s new letter grading system of large buildings’ energy efficiency (see article on page 9).

 

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