New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Curbed Why does scaffolding cover some NYC buildings for more than a decade? by Valeria Ricciulli

Why does scaffolding cover some NYC buildings for more than a decade?

NYC has a long-standing scaffolding problem

New Yorkers are used to seeing construction scaffolding all over the city, but what happens when a building has it up for more than just a couple of months?

City records analyzed by the New York Post found that some structures have had scaffolding in place for more than a decade: In Harlem, scaffolding has covered part of 409 Edgecombe Avenue since 2006; at 360 Central Park West on the Upper West Side, it’s been there since 2008 (the building owners claim it’s only been there for six years). Even the Department of Buildings’ Broadway office has its own lingering scaffolding issue, with part of the building covered since 2008.

So why does this happen? As part of Local Law 11, the city inspects building facades every five years, leading some property owners to keep scaffolding up to avoid the cost of taking it down and rebuilding it every few years.

City Council member Ben Kallos has been trying to fight back since 2016, when he introduced legislation that would cap facade repair work at 90 days with the possibility to extend it for another 90, and require scaffolding to be removed if no work has taken place for seven days. Kallos also introduced legislation this year that would require scaffolding that’s been up for more than a year to be inspected at least once every six months by the DOB, at the building owner’s expense.


Get involved to make your voice heard.

Get monthly updates with the information you need to make a difference.