There are approximately 50,000 buildings on the 22.8 square mile island of Manhattan and the majority of construction occurs in densely built areas only a few feet from occupied buildings. When your neighbor builds or renovates, there may be residual effects on your property. The NYC Department of Buildings has rules and procedures outlining your neighbor’s responsibility to keep you and your property safe. Here is a quick overview, so you will know what to expect.

  • Before construction starts, your neighbor should survey the condition of the existing structures adjacent to the construction site and prepare a site monitoring plan.
  • They may draft a legal agreement with you to gain access to your property to more thoroughly survey it. This agreement can require that your neighbor share their plans, surveys and monitoring information with you and your Consultants.
  • If there are existing cracks, they may place crack gauges across them.
  • If the monitoring plan requires, they may also request to install vibration monitors, perform a preliminary optical survey or place optical targets on your building.
  • Together, these monitoring tools provide a record, in case anything is damaged or displaced during the adjacent demolition or construction activity.

And if you are building near the subway, the MTA will require a pre-construction survey and monitoring.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the GMS team to learn more: Ramon Gilsanz (Partner in Charge), Joe Mugford, Isaac Epstein, Jean Laurent.