Work permits / unions for foreign construction workers in NY?
March 5, 2018 12:21 PM   Subscribe

I work for a company that is creating a promotional installation, a temporary construction - based on two shipping containers filled with electronics and #hipstuff. We're based in the Netherlands, but our Dutch construction crew will be installing it in NYC, and later in California. Do we need permits?

Install and destall will take 5 days, and it'll be live and accessible for 3 days.

We sort of heard that besides a working visa, we might also need a permit for our workers
Especially for construction type work (mostly: assembling pipes, and attaching decorative items, and building a bridge)... I'm not quite sure if that's true, or where to start looking for information. Can anybody here point me in the right direction?
posted by Thisandthat to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Where are you installing this? Is this on the street, on the sidewalk, in a public place, or inside a building?
posted by suedehead at 12:45 PM on March 5, 2018

Response by poster: Assuming that it'll be way too expensive to put it in a park or other public location, I think it'll probably on some outside parking lot rented by our client. The developers that are installing the electronics will be inside the shipping containers, but there'll be 4 guys outside carrying and attaching stuff to the containers..
posted by Thisandthat at 12:54 PM on March 5, 2018

Best answer: Your whole answer is kind of dependent on where you install.

Union installations aren't required by law but the unions frequently have contracts with property owners which require union help for things like installations and construction.

Permits will depend on zoning restrictions of the particular piece of land.

So find your spot first :-)
posted by bitdamaged at 1:09 PM on March 5, 2018

Best answer: Lawyer!

People entering the US on a tourist visa may not perform work. The business B1 visa doesn’t appear to allow construction work. Does your proposed temporary bridge meet US standards? Will you obtain US liability insurance? Does Dutch workers’ insurance cover your team for workplace injury in the US?
posted by monotreme at 1:31 PM on March 5, 2018

Best answer: Wait what no. Even for a temporary structure, you need electrical permits, and all electrical contractors need to be licensed by the Department of Buildings, which none of you are.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:10 PM on March 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks a lot! For all the warnings, concerns and the advice for lawyers.
If you come up with more problems- please let me know!

We don't know the location yet, the client is responsible for this, and I am guessing it'll take a while. But all the concerns (or HELL NO's) you are mentioning will help me get them to speed up on that process, and us to actually find solutions to all you mentioning.
So again: thanks

(Yes, insurance wise we're covered, and the liability as well)
posted by Thisandthat at 2:20 PM on March 5, 2018

Best answer: I'd look into hiring an event company to smooth the process, assuming it's not part of an existing event. They are familiar with all the temporary electronics permits etc and can help with visa issues usually too and all in all it'll be well worth the money.
posted by fshgrl at 2:29 PM on March 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In the approximately six minutes I've spent thinking about this, I can't think of a way you can do this without an experienced local contractor to provide the info and guidance you're asking for here. Either an actual building contractor or an event manager, depending on the parameters of the installation.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:31 PM on March 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah I forgot to mention there will be an event manager. But not sure if the client has chosen one yet.. contacting them will be my first step tomorrow. Thanks again!
posted by Thisandthat at 2:56 PM on March 5, 2018

They should be able to answer all these questions no problem. One thing to do is call the event permit people at the city (this exists in all American cities) and make sure they are in good standing with them.
posted by fshgrl at 4:32 PM on March 5, 2018

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