Outside of the healthcare sector and infrastructure projects, construction in New York has generally been slowing down during the COVID-19 pandemic. But industry watchers agree that the commercial construction market will rapidly recover when the virus is in the rearview mirror.
If you’re thinking about managing a new construction project in New York, there are many rules and regulations you need to consider, in order to ensure your project stays in compliance.
Keep reading to learn more about New York’s unique construction regulations, top-of-mind concerns about building in this region and what you can do to ensure your next project goes smoothly.
New York Construction Regulations: What You Need to Know
The Empire State isn’t exactly known for its lack of regulations. When building in New York, project managers need to be cognizant of a number of regulations to ensure that their buildings are up to code. Some of these include:
- The maximum allowable distance to an exit for people in the building, depending on occupancy and whether the building has sprinklers or not
- Which buildings require sprinkler systems and which do not
- Stairway requirements for buildings, depending on occupancy
- How many exits and doors specific buildings need to have
- Fire and smoke detector requirements
- The safeguards you need to enact during construction
You also need to consider prevailing wages. New York has strict guidelines on how much construction workers and apprentices get paid for all different kinds of jobs, including overtime considerations. If you build on site in New York, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with an extensive 56-page document, to make sure you’re paying everyone correctly.
New York was one of the first states to enact comprehensive worker safety regulations when the COVID-19 virus broke out. In April 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all non-essential construction work would be paused indefinitely, while essential construction work—or projects relating to healthcare and infrastructure—could persist. However, sites that remained operational needed to maintain social distancing and other critical safety standards. Construction sites that failed to comply with these regulations could be hit with up to $10,000 of fines for each violation.
What’s more, the New York City Department of Buildings has additional guidelines for essential construction projects. For example, companies need to monitor worker symptoms, encourage hand-washing and make sure surfaces are clean, among other things. Further, meetings should be held outside or virtually whenever they need to be held.
3 Things to Keep in Mind When Building in New York
Despite all the red tape, New York has a great deal of opportunity for construction. As you begin planning your project, here are some pertinent factors to keep in mind:
- Fire safety and fire suppression. If you’re building an essential construction project, it’s critical to think about an uninterruptible power source (UPS) and the implications it can have on your building. As you begin shopping for a UPS, it’s important to pay attention to their composition. Lead, zinc and lithium-ion batteries, for example, all have different implications on fire safety and fire suppression and can contribute to hidden cost overruns.
- Regulations. Although there are already many regulations on the books today, it’s not unreasonable to think that there might be even more regulations added in the future. That being the case, it is critical to brush up on current regulations to make sure your project is in compliance. Of course, that’s easier said than done, particularly if you’re not too familiar with New York’s laws. This is why it helps to partner with a construction team that’s well-versed in New York regulations and has a wealth of construction experience in the state.
- Salary expenses. If you’re building in New York, you can’t just hire a team and pay them however you like. The state has very strict guidelines on just how much money you will need to pay workers. For example, you are only allowed to have a certain number of apprentices per journeyman. For this reason, more and more project managers are opting to move forward with off-site construction and avoid working in the Empire State altogether.
Partner with PCX
If you’re building in New York for the first time, ensuring compliance can seem like a tall order. But the good news is you don’t have to go forward on your own.
PCX is a modular construction company that has more than 25 years of experience in the commercial construction industry. We’ve worked in all 50 states, with multiple construction projects deployed in New York, and we know the ins and outs of all the regulations critical for your construction projects.
Thanks to our modular approach, you’re able to leverage a team of skilled contractors who work out of our climate-controlled factory in North Carolina. Once the modules are completed on our premises, we ship them out to New York, and then our team takes care of the installation.
It’s the easiest way to ensure your construction projects go off without a hitch in the Empire State.
For more information on how construction is evolving in the 2020s, check out our free guide: The State of the Construction Industry in the New Decade.