New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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City Clarifies Which Construction Projects Can Continue

New York City

Essential construction, social distancing, DOB, co-op and condo boards.

The loneliest number: construction jobs with one worker are allowed to continue.

April 29, 2020

The city Department of Buildings (DOB) has issued an informative web posting designed to help building owners, including co-op and condo boards, determine which construction projects can continue during the state-mandated pause on nonessential construction during the coronavirus pandemic. The pause has been extended to May 15.

The web posting, New York City Essential and Nonessential Construction FAQ, covers many common questions about local law compliance, emergencies, violations, securing and maintaining sites, essential construction requests, Certificate of Authorization, and more. 

A few key points: Local law compliance inspections and tests on elevators, facades and boilers are considered essential work. Work to correct unsafe facade conditions is permitted – but only to the point that it is safe to suspend work. Scaffolds, industrial rope access, boom lifts and other facade inspection related equipment can be used during the pause. It is permissible to restore essential services, including heat, water, gas, electricity or other utility services. Jobs that require only one worker on the site can also continue. 

The maximum penalty for performing nonessential construction work or for failing to practice social distancing on an essential construction site is $10,000.

Essential Construction Requests must be made by the applicant of record (a registered design professional) via While the request is being considered, work must be suspended except to secure and maintain the site.

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