Construction During COVID-19 What New York City Condo and Coop Boards Should Know About Commencing and Continuing Work

Co-Op, Condo & Real Estate Advisor

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PUBLISHED ON: May 1, 2020

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Over the past month, the previously well-worn path of relatively clear regulations governing construction work in New York has turned into an overgrown forest of thorns; and has created a situation where all previous maps are now useless, making even the most basic of board decisions treacherous. The history of this changing environment provides, if not a new lay of the land, at least some background to help co-op and condo boards better understand what’s at stake, and do their best to make sound decisions.

First, on March 22, 2020, all construction was initially permitted in conjunction with New York’s Executive Order 202.6, which otherwise put the state on “PAUSE.” Due to safety concerns for construction workers and their families, however, the directive was modified one week later, on March 30, 2020, to allow only “essential construction,” i.e., work necessary to keep the state running (roads, transit facilities and utilities), work for the public good (hospitals, healthcare facilities and homeless shelters), work necessary to protect the health and safety of building occupants, and continued construction on projects that would be unsafe if left undone.

Then, on April 15, 2020, New York state issued further guidance on the executive order, and the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) expanded its definition of essential construction to further refine, or attempt to refine, the scope of the type of projects that can proceed. On April 22, 2020, the DOB issued buildings bulletin 2020-006, which superseded...