Total Safety Blog

NYC Department of Buildings Update on COVID-19: March 14th, 2020

Dear Valued Industry Partner,

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Buildings Department is reminding our industry partners to take special care of their workers and construction sites.

The City’s Department of Health & Mental Hygiene has provided guidance on limiting the spread of COVID-19 which can be found here

We ask that you be vigilant in monitoring your construction sites.  Construction sites closed for a prolonged period of time can themselves pose a hazard to the public.  In the event you chose to close a construction site due to illness, cleaning, or merely as a precaution, we ask the following:


E-mail the Department at and include in the Subject Line the location of your construction site and the period of time for which you expect it to be closed.  Upon reopening the site, use the same e-mail address to update us.

Make Safe

Should you choose to close your site, for the public’s protection you must:

  • Have the site secured to prevent access from any unauthorized personnel.  This includes maintenance of construction fencing and posting of permits.
  • Maintain and secure all scaffolding, debris netting, sidewalk sheds, and temporary walkways.
  • Maintain all adjoining property protection.
  • Maintain all guardrails, edge protection systems such as netting and cocoon systems, and floor and shaft opening protection.
  • Store and maintain cranes in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and approved CN drawings.
  • Ensure the proper shoring of excavated sites or backfill.
  • Ensure construction equipment is safely stored and maintained in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.
  • Ensure construction materials are safely stored.  Any light-weight materials susceptible to becoming wind-borne must be removed from the site, tied-down, or ballasted.
  • Maintain any fire suppression and detection systems.
  • Maintain all essential utilities.
  • Remove any volatile gases and liquids.
  • Remove any standing water and construction debris.
  • Ensure public sidewalks are clear and clean.

Finally, construction sites requiring a Department-licensed safety professional cannot operate without one.  If your safety professional is out sick, they must be replaced or permitted work cannot be performed.

Thank you for all you do to ensure the safety of workers and the public. Should you have any questions, please contact the Buildings Department.

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