We are powering through another Thursday together on a rainy day here in New York City. I’m coming to you live from my high rise residential project in Queens. By now I sure hope you got your Christmas shopping done? As I had wished in a previous blog post, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with your beloved family and/or friends this weekend. I’m making Jell-O shots for Christmas Eve. I will share with you in a future post what I end up crafting with some photos. I’m still working on sharing some more random blog topics. My previous safety topic of choice was on the history of high visible clothing. If you didn’t check it out, go look for it in my list of safety blog posts. Before we dive into my safety topic of choice, allow me to share some links and updates on my other projects. My latest goal is to try and get back into releasing some more episodes on my Verbally Disastrous podcast. I may have some free time during the next two upcoming holiday weekends. I want to dedicate some free time to also work on creating safety learning content for my two YouTube channels. My established “$ugar Momma Baddie” themed clothing and accessory collection is available on both Spring and Shopify ecommerce platforms. Check out the two designs that you can choose from: 1) Feisty Lady Trio 2) Sugar Momma Bed. The “$ugar Momma Baddie” Shopify and Spring store links are down below in this safety topic blog post. The links for the paperback, e-book, and now audio version for my first children’s book that’s entitled, “Not All Girls Play With Dolls” are also down below in this blog post. Both my first children’s book and my #ConstructionTales book are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Audible. The audio versions of both of my books can be found in four Audible markets that include: France, Dutch, U.K., and the United States. Now that I’ve wrapped up my “Leslie’s book ad”, let’s review my latest chosen safety topic on the use of sidewalk sheds and supported scaffolding here in New York City. Let’s first go into the history of how sidewalk sheds were even born in the first place.
I remember learning about sidewalk sheds as soon as I started working down here within the five boroughs of New York City. I had previously worked for about 20-years with the tools as an electrician in the suburbs of New York City. There is a huge business in creating, renting, and dismantling sidewalk sheds here in New York City. Believe it or not, the sidewalk shed contracting business is an $8 billion dollar a year industry here in New York City. During the course of just about any form of construction work, it is required to create a sidewalk shed in order to protect pedestrians along the perimeter of a building. If you are not from NYC, you are probably asking, “what is a sidewalk shed”? (Refer to the above photo) Sidewalk sheds are the street-level pedestrian protection wooden and metal sheds that are required by law to remain on the sidewalk until a building hazard or construction project no longer poses a danger to the public. It’s no surprise that there was a monumentally tragic accident that first spurred the need for the initial sidewalk shed building code requirements. Additionally, similar accidents that happened subsequently also worked to push city council members towards evolving existing building code while adding even more sidewalk shed requirements. Back on May 16, 1979, a Barnard College student named Grace Gold was killed by a piece of falling terra cotta from the 8th floor of a building on West 115th Street. This fatality influenced then-mayor Ed Koch to implement the first round of sidewalk shed building code requirements that became known as ‘Local Law 10’ by 1980. By 1997 and 1998, New York City experienced several more highly publicized exterior wall failures. Two of these highly publicized incidents involved both midtown’s American Airlines Theatre and the Church of Scientology Building on West 46th Street. In response to a series of 1997 façade failures, New York City ‘Local Law 11’ of 1998 was created. Local Law 11 further added even more requirements for inspection and maintenance of the façades of buildings that are greater than six stories in height. Both of these laws require owners to get full building inspections from either a Registered Architect or Professional Engineer every five years. The designated inspector must deem the building as either: 1) Safe 2) Safe with a repair and maintenance program or “SWARMP” 3) Unsafe.
By 2010, this program went into the 7th Cycle and was renamed to FISP; now known as the Façade Inspection & Safety Program. The latest new regulations eventually evolved into today’s FISP program that expanded even further with inspections on balconies and railings that belong to a building. The last 8th cycle of regulations were amended, via approved significant changes, and took effect on February 20, 2020. Of all of the sidewalk sheds in use throughout New York City, what are some main reasons as to they even erected? According to NYC Dept. of Buildings Press Secretary Andrew Rudansky, “Approximately 37 percent of sidewalk sheds in NYC are related to the City’s Façade Inspection & Safety Program (FISP), which requires property owners with buildings higher than six stories to hire an engineer to inspect exterior walls. The other 62 percent of sidewalk sheds in NYC are related to construction and maintenance operations.” During the course of my research, I learned that the New York City local government maintains a live tracker website of all sidewalk sheds throughout all of the five boroughs. I shall share the link down below this paragraph for you to check out for yourself. As of the posting of this blog, there are currently 9,372 sidewalk sheds that cover approximately 2,057,848 million linear feet. According to the same website, the average sidewalk shed on the website has been erected for 229 days. Manhattan is the leading borough that holds the most erected scaffolds. In other articles, I read that it is actually cheaper for owners to maintain a sidewalk shed and pay DOB fees versus actually working on the needed façade repairs. As per the Independent Budget Office, the number of sidewalk sheds have tripled in quantity over the past twenty years. The very first 220-foot-long “heavy duty sidewalk shed” that was issued for “remedial repairs” was first erected in Harlem back on April 26, 2006. I find it humorous that the Department of Buildings own building on Broadway in lower Manhattan has had a sidewalk shed ever since 2008. Attempts have been made to crack down on long-standing sidewalk sheds. Like with any government agency, I wish them good luck with that endeavor if an agency’s own building(s) are guilty of the same issue(s)!
ACTIVE SIDEWALK SHED PERMITS-NEW YORK CITY:
Now that we have covered the history of the sidewalk shed and some basic stats, let’s look at the cost of erecting a shed for a building. Sidewalk sheds cost approximately $90 to $110 per linear foot of shed for the first three months. Once you are past the initial installation cost, it is then roughly 5% or less of the initial installation cost for monthly rent thereafter. The sidewalk shed must extend twenty feet past each end of the perimeter. For example if your building is 100 feet long, you will need 100 feet plus the 20 feet past each end on each side. More often than not, the sidewalk shed will be required to cover all four sides of an entire building. Using this example of a 100 ft. x 100 ft. building, the installation would initially cost $50,400 to $56,000 for the first three months. The monthly rent, starting on month four, would cost the owner roughly $3,024 to $3,360 monthly in order to maintain the sidewalk shed during construction. This cost is not including the permit fees and penalties. The Landmark Preservation Commission, via the DOB, issues alteration permits at a flat rate of $95 for the first $25,000 of work, and $5 for each $1,000 worth of work above $25,000. For new buildings, the LPC charges a fee of 15 cents per square foot for new 1-3 family residences, and 25 cents per square foot for all other new buildings. Sidewalk permits expire a year after being issued or once a contractor’s insurance expires. In order to get an extension on the permit, the project engineer or architect must provide a letter to the Department Of Buildings documenting the condition of the building, the remaining scope of work, and the estimated time left to completion. There are sidewalk shed inspection teams that can issue violations as high as $2,000 per violation if the shed is not properly maintained. Other NYC agencies, such as the Environmental Control Board, can issue violations for sheds as high as $8,000 per violation. If the sidewalk shed extends into the street, the Department of Transportation agency must be involved with permits and potential violations.
My next move is to review some basic building code rules pertaining to sidewalk sheds and share it with you. Let’s pretend that you are a contractor or just a nosey neighbor. The majority of these rules come from NYC building code- Chapter 33: Safeguards During Construction of Demolition, Section 3307. If you have a facade alteration project that is more than 40-feet high or a demolition job at a height more than 25-feet, they both require a sidewalk shed. Obviously, a sidewalk shed must be erected prior to performing your scope of work. The first order of business would be to apply for a ‘Temporary Construction Equipment Permit’. This permit requires to be approved from the DOB. Next is the PW2 work permit application that also needs to be reviewed and approved. Once the permits have been paid, you must post them on the jobsite. They need to be readily available for periodic agency inspections. If necessary, you must also apply for after-hours variance work permits. All drawings for the sidewalk shed and work scope must be reviewed and approved by the Department of Buildings before starting any work as well. This includes the Site Safety Plan that indicates the need for the sidewalk shed and other relevant safety components. The sidewalk shed being erected must be illuminated with either natural or shed lighting. Sidewalk sheds must be at least five feet wide and eight feet in height. Sheds are either light duty (150 lbs./sq. ft.) or heavy duty (300 lbs./sq. ft.) in nature- the type needed depend on the height of the building and storage needs. An illuminated red light must be visible from the street so that the FDNY may know exactly where the standpipe connection can be found. The paint on the wood on the shed must be hunter green in color. It is illegal to post any kind of signage other than the contact information of the general contractor who erected the shed. This information is needed in order to determine who is responsible for shed maintenance and violations. If you see any advertisements posted on sidewalk sheds, the owner can technically be issued with a violation. If you walk along a shed, just know that the diamond shaped windows must be cut into the plywood and placed every 25-feet.
I might note that it’s very important that the sidewalk shed doesn’t hide any street signs. This conflict will get the Department of Transportation involved. The owner and/or general contractor must keep a daily sidewalk shed log of inspections, via a competent person who is on the project. At blind locations, such as an emerging parking garage entrance, a mirror is required to be installed. All sidewalk sheds must be created by a registered design professional. Once the design drawings are approved, the sidewalk shed must be erected exactly as per the drawings. If there are any field conditions that require a deviation from the approved drawings, paperwork from the design professional must be onsite to verify that the modifications are approved. Sidewalk sheds must be inspected and supervised by a qualified person that has been designated by the design professional, permit holder, or a third party that has been approved by both the designer and permit holder. Once fully erected, the qualified person must inspect and provide an inspector report for the shed. The re-inspections must subsequently occur every six months afterwards and after each and every required repair. Sheds must be installed by a team of trained scaffold erectors who have a wide variety of training: 4-hours, 8-hours, 16-hours, and 32-hours for scaffold erection. Any projects that have a site safety manager and a site safety plan require all workers onsite to have a minimum of 4-hours supported scaffold training. This is the minimum training that’s required to step foot on a jobsite and use the scaffold while at work. As I have mentioned in previous safety topics, workers are required to have 40-hr SST training cards while supervisors receive 62-hour SST training cards. Every worker must have the following at a minimum for the 40-hr SST card: 30-hr OSHA, 8-hr fall protection, and 2-hr drug and alcohol training. The 8-hour training is a refresher training course that’s required every four years for workers/supervisors who had previously completed the 32-hour training. Workers are required to complete the 16-hour training while supervisors are required to complete the 32-hour training. Obviously, workers can also complete the 32-hour training. As you can see, workers and supervision must be highly trained before erecting any form of scaffolding here in New York City. The main objective of training is to minimize the amount of deaths of both workers and nearby pedestrians. Once the scope of work has been fully completed, then it’s time to dismantle the sidewalk shed. The crew dismantling the shed must be qualified to do so and the DOB must be notified with a request that was approved beforehand.
I know that it sounds like there is a tremendous amount of red tape for the entire process. The objective is to protect local pedestrians, including global tourists, and workers from harm that can come from falling bricks from high up on a skyscraper. The age range of the average high rise building goes from brand-new to hundreds of years old. Some of the most detailed architecture is on the oldest buildings of the Manhattan skyline. I am not a fan of a ton of rules. However, if the rules didn’t exist, just know that corners would be cut and shortcuts on safety would be made. It’s just human nature to see what a person can get away with not even doing. In the case of protecting millions of humans and safeguarding some of the most expensive real estate on the globe, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This concludes my research and personal experience on this safety topic. If you would like, it’s your turn to share your own thoughts on this safety topic. I’m always interested in different points of view that comes from different people from around the globe. My goal is for you to find this safety topic to be interesting and where you have learned a few nuggets of new information. Feel free to drop future safety subject topic suggestions as well. Don’t forget to follow me at leslie_m_jasper on Tik Tok or Verbally Disastrous on YouTube. Share your feedback on my content down in the comment section at the bottom of the blog post. If you appreciate listening to podcasts, I encourage you to review my last (8) podcast episodes that are listed down below from The Verbally Disastrous Podcast, via links for Spotify & YouTube down below. If you are into reading on a Kindle, check out my newest short story release that belongs to my Construction Tales-Told By A Woman Kindle Vella Library short story series on Amazon down below. My last short story #11 is entitled, “Juggling Motherhood & Working With The Tools”. This short story covers my life as a widowed, single mother in the era when I juggled both motherhood and my career as a journeywoman electrician. The previous short story is #10 is entitled, “Early Life Lessons & Characters To Meet As An Apprentice”. If anyone has read any of my other previous short stories, let me know your thoughts? Feel free to go ahead and check out the many links for my book #ConstructionTales down below. It’s time for you to either continue reading even more content or go on with your typical day. Don’t forget to come back soon for even more bathroom reading material. 😛 I wish you a great morning/afternoon/evening on your side of the globe and a restful or productive day!
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Not All Girls Play With Dolls- Within The U.S. Market:
Not All Girls Play With Dolls- Within The U.K. Market:
Not All Girls Play With Dolls- Within The France Market:
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Link To Construction Tales: Volume I: A Woman’s Journey To Become An Electrician (Paperback & Kindle) On Amazon:
Link To Construction Tales: A Young Person’s Guide To Accomplish Anything In Life (Paperback & Kindle) On Amazon:
U.S.A.: Use This Link For The Audio Version Of My Book #ConstructionTales On Audible:
United Kingdom: Use This Link For The Audio Version Of My Book #ConstructionTales On Audible:
France, Belgium, Switzerland: Use This Link For The Audio Version Of My Book #ConstructionTales On Audible:
Germany, Austria, Switzerland: Use This Link For The Audio Version Of My Book #ConstructionTales On Audible:
VERBALLY DISASTROUS PODCAST EPISODE LINKS:
Here is the link to the Verbally Disastrous Podcast on Spotify:
Verbally Disastrous! Season #1, Episode #43: Part A- Tramping In Cali! on YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous! Season #1, Episode #44: Part B- Tramping In Cali! on YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous! Season #1, Episode #45: Part C- Tramping In Cali! on YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous! Season #2, Episode #46:Early Life Lessons & Characters To Meet As An Apprentice On YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous Podcast! S#2, Ep. #47: Part A- Juggling Motherhood & Working With The Tools on YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous Podcast! S#2, Ep. #48: Part B- Juggling Motherhood & Working With The Tools on YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous Podcast- S#2, Episode #49: Just Released Not All Girls Play With Dolls!! on YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous Podcast- S#2, Episode #50: My First 7 Weeks As A Site Safety Manager on YouTube:
I shared my latest short story that has been loaded up to my Construction Tales-Told By A Woman Kindle Vella Library on Amazon. This is short story #11 entitled, “Juggling Motherhood & Working With The Tools”. This short story covers my life as a widowed, single mother in the era when I juggled both motherhood and my career as a journeywoman electrician. I share the various challenges I faced and lessons learned along the way. The previous short story is entitled: #10: “Early Life Lessons & Characters To Meet As An Apprentice”. I decided to write about some life lessons such as guarding your personal information, managing nasty rumors, combating sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism. Overall, the construction culture has improved dramatically over the past 25-years. Developing both a thick skin and a sharp tongue are key tools needed to survive various jobsite antics. I hope you learn something from this short story. There are more to come. These short stories are now also available as Verbally Disastrous podcast episodes.
Construction Tales- Told By A Woman: (11) Kindle Vella Short Stories On Amazon!!
The Verbally Disastrous Store On Tee-Spring:
Leslie M. Jasper
-Author And Host of the #VerballyDisastrous podcast now alive on many platforms that include: Acast, Amazon Music, Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Deezer, Google Podcasts, I Heart Radio, Listen Notes, Overcast, Pandora Podcasts, Player FM, Pocket Casts, Pod Bean, Podchaser, Podcast Addict, Podcast Gang, Radio Public, Reason, Soundcloud, Soundtrap, Spotify, Stitcher, Tune In, and YouTube.
-The Audio Blog: Verbally Disastrous Podcast And Construction Tales Blog. Now available on: Acast, Amazon Music, Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Deezer, Google Podcasts, I Heart Radio, Listen Notes, Overcast, Pandora Podcasts, Player FM, Pocket Casts, Pod Bean, Podchaser, Podcast Addict, Podcast Gang, Radio Public, Reason, Soundcloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and Tune In.
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