Scaffold Law on Trial

The Story

Construction costs in New York are much higher than around the rest of the United States. One reason is the city’s notorious Scaffold Law, which assigns full liability to employers and builders for any “gravity-related” mishaps, resulting in high insurance costs. For decades, labor unions and trial lawyers have fought to keep the Scaffold Law on the books. New York’s city council speaker has identified the law, which imposes enormous extra costs on all construction projects, as an important obstacle to moving forward on fixing the subways—offering hope that perhaps the city might be ready to repeal this terrible law.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Cost: The Scaffold Law adds an estimated $10,000 to the cost of new home construction in New York State. Read more.

  2. Liable: The Scaffold Law includes a presumption of liability, virtually ensuring that plaintiff lawsuits under the law will prevail. Read more.

  3. Insurance: The cost of insuring a construction project in New York State is ten times higher than in other states. Read more.

“Insurance carriers in the construction market have either left New York altogether, reducing competition and increasing prices, or have remained while increasing premiums.”

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The Cost of New York By Steven Malanga (Summer 2014)

“Government overreach is to blame for Bill de Blasio’s tale of two cities.”

And in other news...

“The Democratic leadership of New York state’s Assembly and Senate backed a three-year extension of mayoral control of New York City schools on Tuesday, accepting a proposal Gov. Andrew Cuomo advanced in January.”