Non-Essential Construction Projects are required to Shut-down!

Effective as of Friday, March 27th,2020. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo put out an executive order stating that construction projects that are deemed non-essential such as the development of luxury housing apartments and improvement renovation projects are to be shut down.  Under bullet point number nine, it states that all non-essential construction must be shut down effective as of date.

With this non-essential classification now in place, real estate developers and contractors is not permitted to continue construction project that relates to residential improvements or luxury real estate projects. .  This is enforceable by way of fine of $10,000 per violation.  Examples of essential construction projects include roads, bridges, hospitals and health care facilities.

This now turns our attention as to how long the COVID-19 virus is expected to have an impact on the construction industry.  The peak of number of people who will be infected is expected to take place by the end of April, however, this is the peak and there is no real certainty that the end of April will be the peak of the spread of this virus.  In addition, even if the peak is expected to be reach by the end of April, it does not mean that normal business may be able to resume as usual thereafter. It may still be at least another two months or more from the peak before business can resume as usual to prevent the risk of re-infection.  It is more likely that series of rounds of testing will take place after the peak to gauge the spread of the virus.

It is unlikely that state officials will feel comfortable lifting this memorandum until they are certain that the spread of the virus has stopped completely or overwhelmingly mitigated, it would not be prudent to act otherwise.  Anecdotally, It is unlikely State officials will be able to draw such a conclusion till Early to mid-June 2020.  As such, it is reasonable to think that construction activity will not resume until at least mid-June or early July 2020 as a minimum time frame.  For the sake of the livelihoods of everyone in the economy and construction industry, I hope we see a brighter outcome sooner than that.

We are Borough Construction wish our clients, colleges, vendors, friends and family stay safe during this time at the very least.  And if duty calls for you to carry out essential projects, this time more then ever, please wear the proper personal protective equipment and set up stationary disinfecting stations.

Trung Truong
Licensed Construction Superintendent,
OSHA Authorized Construction Trainer

Should I do home renovation during Coronavirus Outbreak?

Amidst this Coronavirus Outbreak, a lot of homeowners are pretty confused about whether to reevaluate and reschedule their renovation plans or not. If you’re in the same perplexing situation, you’re not alone. In this surge of outbreak crisis, these fears are quite obvious. The lawmakers are pressing hard to suspend all non-essential construction citywide to prevent further spread of coronavirus. But – good news? Construction in NY is not halted and the industry is pushing back.

As New Yorkers are encouraged to work remotely while the restaurants, bars, and city’s school system are shuttered to curb the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has exempted the construction industry from this new work-from-home mandate.

Construction being the core component of New York City’s economy, suspending it would be a very dangerous proposition as said by Carlo Scissura, the president of the New York Building Congress. There’re a lot of on going essential projects and crucial public works like infrastructure, supporting the house, and homeless shelters that if halted, would even deteriorate the situation further.

Construction experts are actually backing this decision with the fact that the dynamics of construction workspace are pretty different than many other production industries. The construction workers are more spread apart and they are often working much outdoor.

Even if the authorities may decide for construction moratorium, for how long will they be able to impose such restrictions keeping in view its stonyhearted financial impact? Researchers are still trying to figure out: if the coronavirus outbreak will die off in the summer months or not. Some experts and virologists believe that the outbreak may be hindered by hot temperatures and high humidity but the seasonality of this virus is still unclear.

Anyhow, if you’re looking to undertake home renovation during these extraordinary times of coronavirus pandemic, here are the pros and cons for you to consider:

Pros & Cons

The Pro – You got enough time to plan

As the lock-down takes place and you’re still planning to start your renovation project in the future. This is the best time to plan out and start your design phase. You’ve got plenty of time during this uncertain time and you can evaluate each and every bit of work you’d like to include in your scope of work.

You’ll probably need about four to six months on average taking care of all the planning, choosing stuff, and deciding what you want in your renovation venture. So, by the time this situation of a global pandemic may have improved or blown over altogether.

The Con – You’ll have to place orders sooner than later

Now that you’ve got everything on the list including furniture, fixtures, and all equipment you require for your renovation project; it’s the time to place orders. But with coronavirus pandemic already in you may have to face higher costs due to high demand and scarcity of products. A lot of vendors haven’t yet

faced significant disruptions, but now with this developing impact of viruses, lock-downs, and quarantines; you never know how easily the things will go south.

Pros: The project will be completed in less time

If you were already halfway through the renovation until this coronavirus development, chances are, your project will advance faster. All reputable contractors are deploying double resources and more energy to give your project a higher overall pace. At this stage, you don’t have supply chain issues as your fixtures and fittings are already there or may be stored in the warehouse.

And above all, you’ve already decided to go on with your renovation and you don’t have to waste a considerable amount of energy on considering whether you should do it now or hold off.

Cons: The project may cost you more and you may have to face workplace injuries

General contractors may deploy more resources and overwork the labor, thus incurring higher costs to move faster than normal. Besides this, the overworked team will likely to face injuries due to exhaustion. But the construction and real-estate industry are pretty trained overall for tighter scheduled projects. With sufficient workplace hygiene and safety protocols, your project manager can minimize the risk factors.

Another factor to look at is the protection of your site against coronavirus. You may have to bear additional costs to protect yourself and the labor working i.e. to sterilize the areas regularly and do general hygiene measures around workplaces.


Generally, as a building contractor, I would continue to take on projects in which the property will be vacate to avoid the risk of spreading anything onto surfaces.  Thus far, scientist have stated that the virus can survive on surfaces from 2 to 24 hours depending on the surface.  Thus, as a precautionary step, prime contractors and owners may come to agreement to work every other day which allows for 48 hours to pass, double the upper end of the virus survival rate.  That would mean working three business days a week on a regular permit without any after hour variances.  Though the progress will slow down, it will not shut down the progression.   This construction schedule will provide comfort to clients, employees and sub-contractors; knowing that upper and executive management has safety from this virus at the forefront of their minds and enabling employees and stakeholders to work in a safe manner greatly reduces the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Here at Borough Construction, we encourage individual building contracting firms and clients alike to first attain the relevant scientific and medical information regarding the Coronavirus, COVID-19.  Staying updated on where the world and the U.S. is in terms of combating this global pandemic helps to inform where the light at the end of the tunnel is.  Secondly, know how this virus physically spreads, the survival rate of this virus and how to prevent it from spreading.  When the relative information about this virus is known, cooperate with all stake holders and clients to formalize a schedule that promotes safety first.  To learn more about how Borough Construction can help you on your project during this unprecedented times, please contact us.  We wish you the best on your project during this time.

-Trung Truong

Principal & Project Manager

A review on Bedbugs: Top 10 Myths About Bedbugs

For us, extermination via heat treatment has been the only effective method in eliminating bedbugs. As property manager to tenement buildings, it is the method we go with.

Myth 1: Bedbugs can fly
Bedbugs lack wings, and therefore cannot fly. That is unless you put a blow dryer behind them, says Stephen Kells, a bedbug researcher at the University of Minnesota. Then they’ll fly about 1.2 meters. On their own, bedbugs crawl about a meter a minute, he says.

Myth 2: Bedbugs reproduce quickly
Compared with other insects, bedbugs are slow to reproduce: Each adult female produces about one egg per day; a common housefly lays 500 eggs over three to four days. Each bedbug egg takes 10 days to hatch and another five to six weeks for the offspring to develop into an adult.

Myth 3: Bedbugs can typically live a year without a meal
Scientists debate this point, but evidence suggests that at normal room temperature, about 23 degrees Celsius, bedbugs can only survive two to three months without a blood meal. But because they are cold-blooded, their metabolism will slow down in chillier climates, and the insects may live up to a year without feeding.

Myth 4: Bedbugs bite only at night
Although bedbugs are generally nocturnal, they’re like humans—if they’re hungry, they’ll get up and get something to eat. “If you go away to visit a friend for a week and you come back and sit down on the couch, even though it’s daytime the bedbugs will come looking for you,” Schal says. Keeping a light on, then, unfortunately does not keep these tiny vampires away.

Myth 5: Bedbugs live exclusively in mattresses
“‘Bedbug’ is such a misnomer,” Kells says. “They should also be called pet bugs and suitcase bugs and train bugs and movie theater bugs.” Bedbugs spread away from beds into living areas and can be seen on any surface, he says, including chairs, railings and ceilings.

Myth 6: Bedbugs prefer unsanitary, urban conditions
“Bedbugs are terribly nondiscriminatory,” Schal says. Bedbugs can be found anywhere from ritzy high-rises to homeless shelters. The prevalence of the bugs in low-income housing is therefore not a result of the insect’s preference, but of dense populations and the lack of money to pay for proper elimination strategies. “Any location is vulnerable,” Kells says. “But some people are going to have a harder time getting control of them because it is such an expensive treatment.”

Myth 7: Bedbugs travel on our bodies
Bedbugs do not like heat, Kells says. They therefore do not stick in hair or on skin, like lice or ticks, and prefer not to remain in our clothes close to our bodily heat. Bedbugs are more likely to travel on backpacks, luggage, shoes and other items farther removed from our bodies.

Myth 8: Bedbugs transmit disease
Bedbug bites can lead to anxiety, sleeplessness and even secondary infections, but there have been no reported cases of bedbugs transmitting disease to humans. They do, however, harbor human pathogens: At least 27 viruses, bacteria, protozoa and more have been found in bedbugs, although these microbes do not reproduce or multiply within the insects. Canadian researchers announced ( pdf) in the June 2011 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases that bedbugs isolated from three individuals in a Vancouver hospital carried methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, aka MRSA. Still, there have been no reported cases that the bugs actually transmit human disease.

For the entire article, please click on the link: Top 10 Myths About Bedbugs

Difference Between Alteration Project and New Building Project

Maybe you own or maintain a property or properties and now and your occupancy needs require you to restructure existing space to match changing occupancy needs; as owner, you must be well-informed that alteration projects go beyond renovation.

Alteration projects include an extensive scope of works including renovation, restoration, horizontal extensions, vertical extensions, and additions. For extended usability of existing structures, alteration is very much required for safety and well being of occupancy.

Renovation only refreshes the condition of the building in a way that the structure or purpose of the building is not changed, such as painting exterior walls or replacing kitchen fixtures with new models.

Alteration projects in the building go beyond renovation. They include change of structure specifics and usually require approval from department of building. Alteration projects include changing, modifying or improving the performance or the structure of a building.

Alteration projects, can also involve amendments within a building such as additions, removal, and modifications to the existing floor plans without expanding the existing property. The purpose or function of the building may be altered entirely or partially depending on requirements.

What type of work is covered under “Alteration Projects?”

Before starting an alteration project, it is very important for the owner to define the scope of work. It is important to have a clear goal in mind to evaluate plans against what can actually be done, to be able to allocate a budget for the project.

Below are some terms of types of works covered under alteration projects:

Renovation: If an existing property is partially damaged, has defects, or has been constructed in accordance with outdated standards such that repairs or improvements are necessary then a renovation is the type of alteration required.

Retrofitting: To modify something already in service using parts made after the original in order to extend or improve use; such as to retrofit solar heating into a poorly insulated home.

Refurbishment: It is a broad term that includes both cosmetic renovations such as painting and decorations along with retrofit elements. Refurbishing extends the usable life of a structure or property.

Remodeling: Remodeling work involves changes in the entire building or room plan. Remodeling actually restructures existing building elements such as raising ceilings, adding plumbing, removing or adding walls, horizontal extensions, vertical extensions, and additions. Remodeling projects are promising as there is an opportunity to achieve a new look and new function not previously available.

The difference between Alteration Projects and a New Build?

Alteration projects differs a lot compared to a new build in terms of planning for space, unforeseen work and cost. The decision to demolish entirely and build anew versus alteration, renovation, or remodeling depends on appraisal of the property, calculated cost and time. In essence, want versus need.


The benefits of a new build are greater for the long term as the property is structurally improved thus improving viability, personal satisfaction, and resale value.

New building construction provides the opportunity to play with concepts and variation before actual work begins. This is a “control” build. Alterations have to the potential to become more work, require more alterations derived from the first, that frequently exceed initial cost estimates. Alterations may also confine your work space due to existing structures. This is a “variable” build.

Design and Planning

The design process and related submission requirements for alterations are somewhat different than those for new construction and modernization. An alteration is defined as a limited construction project for an existing building that comprises the modification or replacement of one or a number of existing building systems or components. Alterations are less than total building modernization.

It is easier to plan for a new building project rather than planning for older or damaged buildings requiring alteration. Planning is more critical for a renovation project as compared with a new build; it may require multiple approvals from government departments for a single alteration project.

Both project types require contractor bidding which involves a lot of time, patience, planning, and oversight.

Is renovation cheaper than new build?

There may be many unforeseen, uncontrollable variables despite diligent planning and preparation that may extend the time and cost of a new build or alteration project. The estimated cost should be considered against potential long-term value, both personal and public along with affordability.

Ultimately this answer is dictated by the necessity of the project, and how much one is willing and able to pay.

Renovation vs New Construction: Which is Better for the Environment?

This depends if there is any factor that will have an adverse impact on the environment extensively. The negative impact of carbon pollution resulting from new building construction exceeds that of alteration.

Bottom Line

New building or alteration project, Borough Construction has skilled tenure in varying construction practices. At all times, safety and completion of the project to precise detail is the focus of the company.

Our experience of residential and commercial remodeling services will give you peace of mind, knowing it will be handled in professional manner. Contact us for your next project, our staff is ready to assist you.

Preconstruction Surveys and Monitoring Requirements in NYC

If you are performing construction work in New York City there is a very good chance that you will have to perform a preconstruction survey and/or perform monitoring of neighboring properties. The preconstruction survey and the monitoring often go hand-in-hand. The preconstruction survey will identify the existing conditions of neighboring properties before work starts. The monitoring protocol will provide a means for keeping an eye on the adjacent buildings to determine whether there is any movement or vibration that could or is causing damage.

Preconstruction surveys are required by NYC Construction Code Section 3309.4.3 Monitoring is required by NYC Construction Code Section 3309.4.4

When is a preconstruction survey required to protect an adjoining property?

Pursuant to Section 3309.4.3 of the New York City Construction Code a preconstruction survey is required in the following instance:

No excavation work to a depth of 5 feet to 10 feet (1524 mm to 3048 mm) within 10 feet (3048 mm) of an adjacent building, or an excavation over 10 feet (3048 mm) anywhere on the site shall commence until the person causing an excavation to be made has documented the existing conditions of all adjacent buildings in a preconstruction survey

When is monitoring required to protect an adjoining property?
Pursuant to Section 3309.4.4 of the New York City Construction Code:

During the course of excavation work the following shall be monitored in accordance with Section 3309.16:
1.Buildings that are within a distance from the edge of the excavation that is equal to or less than the maximum depth of the excavation.
2.Historic structures that are contiguous to or within a lateral distance of 90 feet (27 432 mm) from the edge of the lot where an excavation is occurring.


Monitoring is not required for excavations to a depth of five feet (1523 mm) or less, provided:
1.The excavation occurs more than 5 feet (1524 mm) from all footings and foundations; or
2.Where the excavation occurs within five feet (1524 mm) or less from a footing or foundation, such excavation does not occur below the level of the footing or foundation.

How do I get access to perform a preconstruction survey and install monitoring?

Naturally in order to perform a preconstruction survey and install the requisite monitoring you will have to enter your neighbor’s property. But you can’t just trespass on your neighbor’s property. You need permission to enter the property, perform the survey and then install the monitoring.

Pursuant to Section 3309.1.1 of the NYC Construction Code:

Where a construction or demolition project will require access to adjoining property in accordance with this section, written notification shall be provided to the adjoining property owner at least 60 calendar days prior to the commencement of work. Such notification shall describe the nature of work, estimated schedule and duration, details of inspections or monitoring to be performed on the adjoining property, protection to be installed on the adjoining property, and contact information for the project.
Where no response is received, a second written notification shall be made no more than 45 calendar days, and not less than 30 calendar days, prior to the commencement of work.

Further, pursuant to Section 3309.2 of the NYC Construction Code:

The responsibility of affording any license to enter adjoining property shall
rest upon the owner of the adjoining property involved; and in case any tenant of such owner fails or refuses to permit the owner to afford such license, such failure or refusal shall be a cause for the owner to dispossess such tenant through appropriate legal proceedings for recovering possession of real property. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the owner of the property undertaking construction or demolition work from petitioning for a special proceeding pursuant to Section 881 of the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law.

What if my neighbor ignores the request to enter an perform the survey and monitoring?

Section 3309.2 of the Code says that the neighbor (the adjoining property owner) has the responsibility for affording a license to enter. If a license agreement can be agreed upon that ends the discussion. But if a license agreement cannot be agreed upon, then Section 3309.2 says that the “owner of the property undertaking construction” can petition the Court pursuant RPAPL Section 881 for a judicial license.

While many construction projects go smoothly and their is cooperation, many result in litigation. The preconstruction survey and the monitoring required by Code Sections 3309.3 and 3309.4 actually protect both the developer and the adjoining property owner in litigation over damage caused by the adjacent construction. The preconstruction survey provides a baseline for the attorneys to know the condition of the adjoining property before construction and the monitoring provide scientific data for whether the adjoining property moved (or vibrated) during construction (which may have caused damage).

To learn more about handling preconstruction survey requirements.