Thursday, October 14, 2021

Why Living Among Construction Scaffolding is a Way of Life in New York City

If you live in New York City, walking beneath scaffolding is a way of daily life. Or, if you are a construction worker, climbing and standing on scaffolding is also something you experience on a daily basis. Whereas the dangers to pedestrians is relatively minimal, working on and around scaffolding can be a dangerous business. If just one little thing goes wrong with a connection that’s not secured properly, you can experience serious personal injury or even death.

The Barnes Firm Rich Barnes, a personal injury legal expert states that if you’re injured due to faulty scaffolding erection procedures, you might only get “one shot” at fair compensation. That’s why it’s imperative to find a reputable personal injury lawyer to make sure you get the compensation you need to heal without the added burden of financial strain.

But why so much scaffolding in the first place?

According to a recent report, if you find yourself walking a major New York City street, there’s almost no escaping the scaffolding. Or what residents like to refer to as “sidewalk sheds.” It might be on the surface, an eyesore, but scaffolding has more uses than just providing temporary staging platforms for construction workers. For instance, scaffolding can provide a way to stay dry during a rainstorm, and it also protects pedestrians from falling construction debris.

New, New York City Construction

But the real reason for all the scaffolding is said to date back to the 2008 financial collapse that gripped the U.S. economy at the tail end of the Bush administration. When China and other foreign countries took advantage of the situation, much needed cash poured into the failing New York City real estate market, reviving both commercial and residential construction, and in many cases, altering the towering landscape of Manhattan for the foreseeable future.

New construction in the city, from foundation excavation to adding finishes, can take upwards of four years. And that’s without experiencing costly delays that often come with highly bureaucratic local and state governments to be found in New York City and New York State as a whole.

How New Development Relates to Scaffolding

As a new project goes from blueprint stage to “groundbreaking,” there will likely be the demolition of an existing structure and/or the commencement of ground-up construction. Both situations present risks, such as hard materials that will come loose and drop from great heights.

Pieces of glass, concrete block, wood, metal, and even tools that fall from even moderate heights is enough to seriously injure pedestrians or outright kill them. This is why scaffolding is required to shield pedestrian walkways that would otherwise be exposed to the construction jobsite.

Scaffolding Sheds

If a sidewalk becomes entirely impassable due to the scope and size of a new construction project, contractors will erect “scaffolding sheds” that are pushed out onto busy streets (causing further traffic congestion). These are engineered to provide a right-of-way for pedestrians to walk freely.

If there’s not enough room for a scaffolding shed on the road, signs will be erected instructing pedestrians to cross the street. With construction not slowing down in New York anytime soon, it’s likely that more and more scaffolding will be erected from uptown to downtown and everywhere in between.

Conversion Scaffolding

Old commercial buildings in NYC such as abandoned garment or meat processing factories are finding new use as condo and apartment buildings, especially in downtown areas like the Meat Packing District. While heavycranes aren’t required for these projects like they are for brand new construction, conversions will generally require scaffolding and protective netting to be wrapped around the entire edifice.

The project will also likely require an exterior construction elevator since the project will call for extensive façade work such as brick pointing/replacement, new windows, and new roofing. In this case, the risk of falling materials such as bricks, loose mortar, wood, glass, and more is high. Therefore, the need for scaffolding to protect pedestrians is essential.

The scaffolding also needs to be erected by a reputable licensed outfit in order to protect the workers who occupy it for up to eight hours per workday.

Local Law 11

As an added safety precaution, every five years, most buildings located in Manhattan must submit documentation regarding the state of their exterior façade to the Department of Buildings. Part of Local Law 11, which was passed some decades ago after a young woman was killed by a falling brick, the mandate is said to apply to buildings six-stories and taller. Loose bricks, cracks, crumbling parapets, unstable balconies, loose mortar, and more qualify as potential problems.

It can be said that Local Law 11 alone, has been a significant cash boon to scaffolding companies in Manhattan, the surrounding boroughs, and New Jersey.

This is a guest blog entry.

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