Real estate leaders slam scaffolding law

TRD New York /
Mar.March 12, 2013 05:30 PM

The real estate lobby is pushing to change a law they is outmoded, drives up construction costs and stalls projects, Crain’s reported. Section 240 of the New York State Labor Code, or the “scaffolding law,” puts an unfair amount of liability on developers and contractors, they argue.

The law, which dates to the 1800s, is written such that when a worker is injured while doing construction, the property manager is essentially always liable, Crain’s said. Industry figures at the Greater New York Construction User Council, which met this morning, argue that “comparative liability,” which would allow a jury or arbiter to take a worker’s own negligence into account, would be a better legal test. Opponents of the scaffolding law argue that no other states have similar laws.

“I don’t think there’s a more important issue facing the development community right now,” said Christopher Jaskiewicz, chief operating officer of developer the Gotham Organization, at the user council panel.

But building trade unions and trial lawyers say the law protects workers who are not responsible for securing scaffolding.

“To the extent that [developers and owners] are losing these cases, it’s because they absolutely didn’t do their job and failed to protect workers,” Paul Fernandes, chief of staff at the New York Building Trades Council, told Crain’s. [Crain’s]-Guelda Voien

Related Articles

Parlour Condominiums at 243 Fourth Avenue in Park Slope (Credit: Google Maps)

Scaffolding on 12-story Park Slope condo project collapses, injures 3

Corey Johnson’s MTA reform plan targets controversial Scaffold Law

Gotham lands $184M to refi two Manhattan rental buildings

Nonprofit files plans for new assisted living building in Hudson Yards

Gotham Organization scoops up part of Covenant House site

Former model sues Soho landlords for $50M after scaffolding falls on her

Gotham, nonprofit to develop affordable housing project in Hunter’s Point South

Gotham gets a $218M loan for the Ashland