Oversight of Sidewalk Sheds (Follow-Up)

Issued Date
July 06, 2023
Buildings, New York City Department of


To determine the extent of implementation of the 15 recommendations included in our initial audit report, Oversight of Sidewalk Sheds (Report 2019-N-9).

About the Program

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is responsible for regulating the safe and lawful use of more than 1 million buildings and construction sites in NYC. This includes enforcing provisions of the NYC Administrative and Building Codes, the Rules of the City of New York, and NYC Local Laws in order to promote the safety of all people who visit, live, and work in the City. DOB is also responsible for the oversight of sidewalk sheds (sheds), which are temporary structures installed and maintained to protect people and property on city sidewalks during the construction, demolition, and maintenance of buildings.

According to the NYC Building Code, property/building owners (owners), responsible parties, and contractors must erect a shed or have a shed erected when installing certain equipment immediately above sidewalks and walkways, constructing a building or performing façade work that is more than 40 feet above a sidewalk, demolishing a building that is taller than 25 feet, and when any other condition necessitates this type of protection.

DOB is responsible for issuing permits for the installation of sheds, monitoring expiration of permits and removal of sheds, ensuring inspections are performed as required, overseeing the reporting responsibilities of owners and contractors, issuing emergency declarations on structures that pose a serious safety threat to the public, and ensuring that safety issues are corrected in a timely manner. DOB can issue summonses, violations, or emergency declarations and can request assistance from the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development when an owner or contractor does not comply with applicable codes, laws, and rules. As of February 7, 2023, there were 9,784 active shed permits in NYC.

The objective of our initial audit, issued July 6, 2021, was to determine whether DOB adequately monitored that NYC sidewalk sheds were erected and removed when required, were safely maintained, and had valid operating permits. The audit found DOB needed to be more proactive in ensuring that owners and other responsible parties comply with relevant codes, laws, and rules pertaining to the timely permitting, installation, maintenance, and removal of sheds.

Key Findings

DOB has made limited progress in addressing the problems identified in the initial audit. Of the initial report’s 15 recommendations, four were implemented, two were partially implemented, and nine were not implemented.

Key Recommendation

Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of this report to provide information on any actions planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this follow-up.


Kenrick Sifontes

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director:Kenrick Sifontes
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236