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NYC Construction Sites Reopen

NYC was among the first to completely shut down non-essential construction sites.  Nearly 3 months later, contractors return to increased inspections, restrictions and guidelines.

As the City moves into Phase 1 of reopening, the New York City Department of Buildings has released new COVID-19 safety guidance for property owners and contractors of all permitted construction sites across the City. The sites include those beginning the work of reopening and those designated as essential during the construction ban. All permitted job sites must adhere to the new rules.

The new guidance reinforces the New York State Department of Health’s interim guidance on construction activities during this public health crisis and emphasizes the responsibility of all members of the construction industry to make compliance a top priority. Additionally, the guidance reinforces the City’s commitment to use education and enforcement to work collectively towards a safe restart and to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 during this ongoing pandemic.

Employers are also required to develop a site-specific health plan that is prominently visible on worksites. They will also be required to submit and display an affirmation to the State that they have read and understood the additional reopening requirements as required in the NYS Interim Guidelines.

Note: The Department’s Phase 1 Reopening Guidance will apply to all construction activity in New York City during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, until the State rescinds or amends its Executive Order and related guidance.

During the first 30 days of construction resuming, the Department will focus on industry education and implementation of the new standards and procedures. DOB violations issued during the 30-day reopening period will carry no financial penalty. Following this period violations will result in financial penalties, and further noncompliance may result in Stop Work Orders and summonses with accompanying civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each offense.

During site visits Department inspectors will determine compliance with the State’s guidance which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Compliance with social distancing protocols. Six feet of distance should be observed between all personnel, unless safety or work functions require shorter distance.
  • Anyone on site, including workers, other construction professionals, and approved visitors, who are less than six feet apart must wear face coverings. Maintaining this practice at all times is highly encouraged.
  • Readily available hygiene and hand washing stations.
  • COVID-19 safety measures signage visible to workers, reminding everyone to adhere to all safety protocols while on site, including proper hand hygiene, physical distancing rules, appropriate use of personal protective equipment, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Tightly confined spaces (e.g., elevators, hoists) occupied by only one individual at a time, unless all occupants are wearing a face covering and the space is kept under 50% maximum capacity.
  • 50% capacity signage must be posted within the cab and at each landing.
  • A site safety monitor must be designated. The role’s responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the site safety plan.
  • Safety plan(s) are conspicuously posted on site and include a copy of the submitted State affirmation.
  • Properly completed and updated cleaning and disinfection logs.
  • A communication plan for employees, visitors, and clients is on site.
  • Correctly completed and updated logs of every person who may have had close contact with others on site to ensure effective contact tracing.


As part of the Phase 1 rollout, Stop Work Orders issued by the Department for noncompliance during the nonessential construction ban period will be lifted. This does not apply to any sites that continued work even after they were issued a Stop Work Order for violating the ban and have outstanding civil penalties.


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June 8, 2020