Sidewalk Shed Safety Make Sure Your Building is Protected

You are walking along the sidewalk and, as happens so frequently in New York, you approach a portion that

is covered by a sidewalk construction shed. Thinking nothing of it, you stay on that side of the street and continue walking under it. The next thing you know you hear tires screeching on the pavement. Glancing over your shoulder you see a cab barreling toward the very sidewalk shed you are walking under. Within a split second all of the scaffolding is falling down on top of you.

This is not a fictional scenario. This very incident happened this past summer on the corner of 44th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan. A taxi driver lost control of the car and careened into one of the support poles knocking most of the scaffolding down and injuring ten pedestrians. The scaffolding company and contruction company involved were fined $1,500 each for overloading the shed.

Permits and Requirements

It seems as though every other block in the city is surrounded by some sort of scaffolding. From January to August, the City issued 1,148 permits for sidewalk sheds citywide, an increase of 14 percent over the same period last year. The increase is due in part to the deadline for facade inspections required by Local Law 10, states Ilyse Fink, press officer for the New York City Department of Buildings. Also, the real estate market is recovering and new construction and renovations are beginning to take place.


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  • John Mc hugh on Saturday, July 5, 2008 1:22 PM Either site will be helpful for Permits or Sidewalk Bridge Installation.
  • "A minus eight" is not actually a Best's rating. A- is a rating and VIII (or other numeric code) refers to the size of risks that Best's believes the insurer can handle.
  • My question involves an occupied MD undergoing facade restoration. The sidewalk shed has an opening to accommodate the fire escape drop ladder. I believe that this is required, since the NYC Building Code, Fire Code, and NYS Multiple Dwelling Law prohibit any obstruction of the drop ladder. Am I correct in my assumption?
  • Yes you are
  • carolyn sanchez, esq. on Monday, February 14, 2011 1:09 PM
    re: fire escape access openings, an L-shaped railing is required by OSHA and NYS Industrial Code for the protection of the workers. it does not obstruct the drop ladder and therefore, does not violate the NYC bldg Code, Fire Code nor NYS Multiple Dwelling Law.
  • carolyn sanchez, esq. on Monday, February 28, 2011 8:33 AM
    The opening referred to by Mike Cronin only had 2 sides which were part of the sidewalk shed deck (since one side was the building and one side is always the fire escape). If the opening has 3 sides which are part of the walking/working deck then, of course, the railing must have 3 sides.
  • on Saturday, August 11, 2012 10:34 AM
    how long, if is no work closer than 35 ft to the sidewalk, the shareholder has to continue to pay the rent for the sidewalk shed? Last winter we kept a 60linear ft shed 2 months after the facade renovation was done on that area, only to protect the sidewalk against the snow, and now it's been more than a month that we have a 60 Lft shed in front of our property without use. Is just up to the BOD how much they care of shareholder money? or we have other regulations in place?