NYC Construction Reopening Rules

by | Last updated Jun 7, 2020 | Construction Practices, New York City, NYC DOB

New York City suspended nonessential construction during the stay at home order in response to the COVID-19 crisis. As the spread of the virus decreases New York City is reopening with Phase 1 which includes all construction. The following is a summary of the NYC construction plan and steps a contractor must take to resume construction.

On June 8th, 2020 New York City has reopened construction in the Phase 1 Reopening Plan. The NYC Department of Buildings has resumed issuing permits and has set guildines, for how construction should proceed, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Mental Hygene. Contractors are to maintain a “Safety Plan” in accordance with the NYS Interim Guidance.  


NYC DOB Requirements for Safety Plan

I am an architect in NewYork City and owner of Manhattan based architecture firm Fontan Architecture. I am very happy about construction resuming but we must proceed with caution and ensure safty. We must follow safety best practices and all City / State regulations to ensure public health.  


Affirmation of Reading and Understanding

The Contractors must read and affirm that they have read the Interim Guidance for Construction Activities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. If you are a contractor see the link below, read it entirely, and follow the link at the bottom to affirm that you have read this. This is actually good for all businesses I have allready affirmed for my Architecture Office in Manhattan.  Contractors must print and post this affirmation on site. Interim Guidance for Construction Activities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Affirming and filling out the form. After you read the guidlines you must click the link at the bottom this will take you to a simple form where you can put your information to confirm you read and understood the plan. After that you can fill out your safety plan template link above.


Safty Plan

In accordance with the Mayors order the NYC DOB will be sending inspectors to construction sites to verify the Contractors have a Safty Plan and are following the guidlines of NY State Interim Guidance. The New York State Department of Health has a Safety Plan Template that contractors can follow to produce their safty plan notice. The contractors must print this safty plan and post it in a conspicuous location at the location of construction. The DOB will be inspecting to ensure these plans are posted and being adhered to. Link to NYS Safty Plan Template This plan must be posted on site. Also I want to make sure to state that posting it is not good enough. You need to follow it and do the right thing.  


NYC DOB Outline of Requirements for Construction During COVID -19

The following is taken from the NYC DOB Reopening Guidlines:

  • Ensure 6 feet of distance between personnel, unless safety or core function of the work activity requires a shorter distance.
  • Any time personnel are less than 6 feet apart from anyone (including other personnel, approved visitors, regulatory entities), they must wear face coverings.
  • Tightly confined spaces (e.g., elevators, hoists) occupied by only one individual at a time OR under 50% maximum allowed number of people if all occupants wear a face covering. – 50% capacity must be posted within the cab AND at each landing.
  • A site safety monitor must be designated whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the site safety plan.
  • Appropriate signage is posted throughout the site to remind personnel to adhere to proper hand hygiene, physical distancing rules, appropriate use of personal protective equipment, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Safety plan(s) are conspicuously posted on site and include a copy of the submitted State affirmation.
  • A communication plan for employees, visitors, and clients is available at the site.
  • A continuous log of every person who may have had close contact with other individuals at the work site or area is kept at the site.
  • There are hand hygiene stations available on site and readily accessible to workers.
  • A cleaning and disinfection log is present at the site with minimum daily entries.

Read the entire NYC DOB Reopening Guidance document. 


Violations for Noncompliance 

For the first 30 days of reopening construction in NYC, DOB violations with regards to COVID Safety will not come with any financial penalties. After 30 days the penalties will be $5,000.00 and potentially Stop Work Orders may be uissued on the permits. 



Reopening Construction in NYC

During these times we need to be cautious and and act with the best intrest of our most vulnerable in mind. You must follow all requirements and be careful at all times. This post is not a substitution for reading and understadning all the State. city, Local, and Federal regulations. Please be careful, be smart, and I wish you all the best of luck.


Thank you for reading our blog post on Reopening Construction in NYC During Covid

I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak with an architect about a project you can Contact Fontan Architecture directly.  


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Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.