What are these scaffolding around NYC buildings all the time?(FAQ#8)

Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate
What are these scaffolding around different NYC buildings all the time?

Those scaffolding or sidewalk sheds are part of a New York City Building Law concerning maintaining and repairing a building's exterior facade.  Specifically, it's called Local Law 11, and it's quite common place.

Local Law 11 requires an inspection every 5 years of a building's facade for building's higher than 6 stories.  So you can deduct that for a place like New York City, with 1000's of building's higher than 6 stories, you will see these scaffolding quite often.

The importance of Local Law 11 is to ensure the safety of the pedestrians and vehicles from a deteriorating building.  Brick work deteriorates over time and a loose brick or piece of debris falling from a high floor is a potentially dangerous occurrence.  

Every building that meets the minimum height standards of Local Law 11 has to comply and the management company of the building is typically responsible to hire the contracting companies that provide the scaffolding and sidewalk sheds, engineers to inspect the building, and  possibly architects to facilitate the process.

So don't be alarmed, if you see scaffolding outside of a building you are interested in buying an apartment in, the building isn't falling down, it's probably just time for the mandatory inspection of the exterior and barring any required repairs the scaffolding typically comes down relatively quickly.  

You can always confirm with the management why the scaffolding is up outside of a building and see when they estimate it might come down.

Posted by



Eileen Hsu 許雅嵐 (email: EHSU(@)elliman.com)

Our team specialize in Manhattan New York Condominiums, townhouses, and condops.

We are condominium residents ourselves so we understand the Manhattan New York condominium community. We also enjoy all Manhattan neighborhoods, especially Upper West Side, Lincoln Square, Midtown East, Murray Hill, Financial District, Chelsea, Fifth Avenue, Greenwich Village, Nolita and etc just to name a few. If you or you know someone that may be interested in selling, buying or leasing their Manhattan New York condo, call us today (917)837-8869 or (646)644-6929 and we can discuss your specific Real Estate goals.

Manhattan New York Condo Specialists or Chinese Speaking Real Estate Agent


Comments (7)

Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

I have always wondered that too with the scaffolding as I walked the sidewalks of Manhattan. Great mandatory safety requirement. NOW I KNOW lol. Have a good weekend Elieen.

Jun 08, 2012 02:03 AM
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

You learn something new everyday Gary! haha. Scaffolding all over Manhattan buildings is a common sight here.

Jun 08, 2012 02:06 AM
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond

Eileen, now that is a good law!  Protection and physical too of pedestrians...have a bonus weekend!

Jun 08, 2012 03:15 AM
Beth and Richard Witt
Long Island Cash Home Buyer - Center Moriches, NY
Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940

Hi Eileen, What another law???  How did we ever live without all these laws... I guess I can agree with Ginny and saw it's a good law... but I'm just getting so tired of all these LAWS... Have a Happy New York City Day...

Jun 08, 2012 06:22 AM
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Hi Ginny, yes yes, it is a good law. :-)

Rich and Beth, another law, but for the good of people this time. ;-)

Jun 08, 2012 06:54 AM
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

We will do our best to walk around the scaffoldings and not too close when it is windy out.


Jun 08, 2012 07:17 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Eileen, improving exteriors and keeping them looking good is important, but as Morgan says, stay clear of under them during windy days!

Jun 08, 2012 11:26 PM