What Local Law 81 Means for You

The DOB is always trying to improve the safety of construction in NYC, and the issuance of Local Law 81 is no exception. The law took effect on November 6, 2017, and as a NYC property owner, you need to be fully knowledgeable about this law and every part of the NYC compliance code.

We know that keeping on top of every new and existing law is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve given you a clear, concise run-down of Local Law 81 below. We’re here to make compliance simple!

What is Local Law 81?

Local Law 81 essentially expands the responsibilities of the construction superintendent while requiring them to be on-site at more job types.

Until this law was passed, the DOB only required a site safety manager for the construction or demolition of buildings that exceeded a height of ten stories. After Local Law 81 took effect, all buildings – with the exception of 1-3 family homes – that meet the following conditions require a superintendent during construction and demolition:

  • New building
  • Full building demolition, or demolition of more than 50% of floor area over 12 months
  • Removal of more than one floor in 12 months
  • Vertical or horizontal expansion
  • Work requiring special inspections for underpinning
  • Work requiring special inspections for protection of sides of excavations
  • Other jobs posing risk to public or property, as determined by commissioner

The Superintendent’s Responsibilities

Local Law 81 has also increased the site manager’s responsibilities. It is no longer sufficient for the superintendent to show up at the construction or demolition site and oversee the work; they are now tasked with the following:

  • Assuring that all of the work being done at the site complies with the approved documents.
  • Keeping a detailed log of all daily activities at the site.
  • Being responsible for all conditions listed in the building code.
  • Notifying the DOB in case of an accident to an individual on site or to the adjoining property.
  • Notifying the responsible parties in case of unsafe conditions and ensuring that the proper corrections are made.

Which conditions is a superintendent responsible for?

The superintendent’s newly expanded role includes taking responsibility for all necessary corrections. As mentioned, they are now accountable for all unsafe and unlawful conditions at the construction site and for assuring that these conditions are corrected.

Under this law, all conditions listed in BC 3310.8.2.1 must be adhered to at all times, including:

  • No unlicensed equipment operators are allowed
  • No work can be done at the site without the proper permits
  • Sidewalk sheds and standpipes must be properly constructed


The Competent Person

The superintendent’s job just got a whole lot harder. The DOB gets that; that’s why they allow the superintendent to designate a “competent person” to be present at the work site when the superintendent cannot be there. Acting as a surrogate for the absent superintendent, this competent person can identify all dangerous conditions, take corrective measures to fix them, report accidents to the DOB and communicate construction safety instructions to workers. The competent person must be present at all times.

Site Safety Plans

Another new law relating to construction is the requirement of Site Safety Plans (SSP.) SSPs  must be present at every work site at all times and be available for  DOB inspection upon request.

SSPs are required for:

  • All jobs requiring a superintendent
  • New building construction or full demolition (excluding 1-3 family homes)
  • Alteration
  • Vertical/horizontal enlargement
  • Demolition of 50%+ floor area over 12 months
  • Underpinning/excavations
  • Jobs with enhanced risk to public & property


Naturally, you plan on complying with Local Law 81 and the entire NYC compliance code. Be extra careful about obeying this law, as the DOB is strictly enforcing it! The DOB has announced that they will be making spot checks to verify that every construction site is in compliance with the law and they are issuing fines of up to $25,000 in cases of noncompliance.

Aside from heavy fines, those found to be in violation of the law may face:

  • Suspension or revocation of license or Certificate of Competence
  • Disciplinary action pursuant to the NYC Administrative Code
  • Criminal prosecution
  • Stop Work Orders or project delays

Don’t let this be you! If you’re worried about being in over your head, we can help! Contact Jack Jaffa & Associates for assistance in complying with all facets of Local Law 81 and the entire NYC compliance code and never fear a violation again!

Related Posts