Retaining Wall Inspections, Penalties and Waivers

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 



Statement of Basis and Purpose



This rule is promulgated pursuant to the authority of the Commissioner of Buildings under Sections 643 and 1043(a) of the New York City Charter and section 28-305.4 of the New York City Administrative Code.


Section 28-305.4 requires regular inspections of retaining walls that are 10 feet or higher, and that face a public right-of-way, such as a sidewalk or entrance. The section allows the Commissioner to 1) establish staggered assessment cycles for retaining walls, and 2) to promulgate rules specifying what constitutes a condition assessment, which is an examination conducted by a qualified retaining wall inspector to review the parts of the wall and its safety and maintenance conditions.


This rule enhances public safety by identifying conditions before they become hazards. The rule:


  • Adds filing fees for required retaining wall inspection reports;
  • Sets out who can perform a condition assessment;
  • Specifies which elements of the wall must be assessed;
  • Sets out what type of information must be in the report;
  • Creates staggered reporting cycles by borough;
  • Sets out the actions to take where there is an unsafe condition or a safe condition that needs repair; and
  • Creates civil penalties for failure to file an acceptable condition assessment report.