A quirk in the sidewalk shed law

Section 3307.6.2 of the NYC Building Code states:

A sidewalk shed shall extend 5 feet past the building when the building is less than 100 feet in height, and 20 feet past the building when the building is over 100 feet in height.

I’ll bet you thought that 20 feet past the building being repaired was required no matter what.
Here’s the rub. What do you do if you have to repair a cornice corner above a sidewalk on a building 90 feet in height? Perhaps a townhouse is next door and people walk in and out directly below the work area. Clearly, not enough protection is provided if you follow the law.

It doesn’t matter what the law says….you should provide the protection that is necessary to safe guard the public. That is the spirit of the law.

My recommendation….Boards and property managers must refrain from engaging the services of the shed companies. Always, let the contractor that will perform the repairs also hire the shed company. The shed company, if hired by the board or property manager, will price and install a shed to the minimum required by law, regardless of the scope of the work.

So if the shed only extends beyond the corner cornice repair by 5 feet and there is a tragedy, the Board and property manager have criminal exposure. Because they ‘technically knew the scope and breadth of the project and should have provided this information to the shed company, even if it wasn’t requested.’

Is a sidewalk shed required for LL-11 inspections?

No …. according to the DOB, unless probes or in depth examination is required in order to understand the underlying cause of the defect:

When the inspection involves probing, removal of wall or appurtenance material, safety netting on all open sides of the scaffold drop or other observation platform shall be provided. In addition, adequate protection at the sidewalk or public space below shall be provided. This may be in the form of roping off part of the sidewalk, installation of a partial sidewalk shed or any other method determined by the professional to be adequate for the safety of the public and property. Necessary permits must be obtained from appropriate authorities.

A person with a valid New York City Rigger’s License must supervise the operation of the scaffolding, following all safety procedures as required.