Construction Law:
The New York legislature amended the administrative code of the City of New York with respect to safety requirements during excavation and insurance obligations for construction or demolition operations.  The amendments were approved and made effective as of August 28, 2007.

Previously, distinctions were made based on whether or not the excavation was more or less than ten feet.  The new law applies equally to all excavations.  As amended, this regulation provides that whenever the safety of any adjoining building is or may be affected by an excavation, the person causing the excavation must provide safe support for the building, regardless of the depth of the excavation. To fulfill this duty, this person must, without limitation:

1) Support the vertical load of the adjoining structure by proper foundations, underpinning or other equivalent means where the level of the foundations of the adjoining structure is at or above the level of the bottom of the new excavation;

2) Support any increased vertical or lateral load on the existing adjoining structure by the new construction where the existing structure is below the level of the new construction; and

3) Modify the foundation of the existing structure where the new construction will result in a decrease in the frost protection level for the existing structure such that it will fall below the established regulatory minimum.

The newly amended regulation also mandates that any person who obtains a permit for construction or demolition operations must, at his own expense, procure and maintain insurance to cover, for the duration of the operations, any and all adjacent property owners and their lawful occupants for all risks of loss, damage to property and injuries to or death of such persons arising out of the performance of the construction or demolition.
We therefore recommend that any individual or corporation undertaking construction, excavations or demolition operations in the City of New York make certain that they comply with the necessary support provisions and obtain proper insurance, in accordance with the amended regulations, prior to commencing operations.

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