The 2014 NYC Building Code (sec. 3302.1) defines “Partial Demolition” as: “The dismantling, razing, or removal of structural members, floors, interior bearing walls, and/or exterior walls or portions thereof, including all operations incidental thereto.”
The 2014 NYC Building Code requires a Site Safety Plan for construction or demolition for “Major Buildings” that are also more than 14 stories or 125 feet in height and “Any construction or demolition work, including the alteration, maintenance, or repair of a façade, or in a building so designated by the Commissioner”.
Sometimes applications for ordinary repair to the façade of a building and minor alterations of the exterior wall, i.e. as installing a through the wall air conditioner, will trigger “Partial Demolition” requirements such as a “Site Safety Plan”. This requirement can be a surprise because it involves a specialized process of developing a “Site Safety Plan” and obtaining approval from the BEST Squad . However, it’s important to distinguish when this requirement actually applies to the proposed work.
The Building Enforcement Safety Team, known as the BEST squad, is charged with ensuring site safety. This unit approves “Site Safety Plans” or waives the requirement for a “Site Safety Plan”. Typically, a request for a waiver can be filed with the BEST squad in order to waive the required item for Site Safety Plan. Alternate protections, such as a sidewalk shed may be required.
Fortunately, even if a building is over 14 stories in height and the Site Safety Plan requirement has been triggered by the work type, certain cases can be identified where an expedited review by BEST will be granted, without the need of a formal “Determination” submittal. Either way, whether the formal Determination path or a less formal review option applies, obtaining approval of a waiver submittal adds significant time before a permit can be obtained for work containing “Partial Demolition”