NYC Resumes Full Construction as Focus Turns to Jobsite Safety and Disease Control


By Aaron S. Brotman of Cole Schotz P.C.
Published June 10, 2020

On Monday, June 8, 2020, unrestricted construction resumed in New York City. Even projects considered non-essential or otherwise exempted can restart. However, this does not mean that a project can simply forge ahead without thought or consideration. The State of New York, the New York City Department of Buildings, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control all have various requirements and guidelines for site safety in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on construction sites.

Prior to reopening, all businesses operating in New York State must complete and submit the Business Affirmation form confirming that the business owner has read the updated guidelines and will comply.

What exactly is and is not permissible is not always clear. With that in mind, the NYC DOB will focus on education and counseling in the first 30 days of Phase One reopening. The DOB will still issue violations, but they will carry no penalty—however, further non-compliance may result in Stop Work orders and summonses with penalties up to $5,000.00 per violation. The DOB inspections will determine compliance with State guidance, including:

  • 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.

Additional resources can also be found here:

See more coverage at the Cole Schotz COVID-19 Resource Center.

As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

Aaron S. Brotman
Aaron S. Brotman is an associate in the Real Estate department and resident in Cole Schotz’s New York office. His practice focuses on land use, development and construction law. Aaron guides clients through every aspect of building and development, from acquisition to entitlement and approvals through the construction process to project completion. He has represented owners and contractors in construction contract negotiation and dispute resolution and strives to find effective, efficient and long-term solutions. He can be reached at or 646.532.5321.