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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1926.850(a); 1926 Subpart T; 1926 Subpart L

January 27, 1994 [Reviewed 11/03/2017]

Mr. Paul Vincent Bonfiglio
Vincent Safety Service Company
357 Hempstead Turnpike, Suite 206
P.O. Box 212
West Hempstead, NY 11552

Dear Mr. Bonfiglio:

This is in response to your November 9 letter requesting an interpretation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards addressing demolition safety. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

With regard to whether 29 CFR 1926, Subpart T applies to a "Gut Re-Hab" project that does not disturb exterior walls, roof or foundation, please be advised that OSHA's demolition regulations do apply to the removal of ceilings and interior non-load bearing walls and partitions. When OSHA does not specifically define a term, such as "demolition," in our standards, we use recommended standard definitions such as those listed in American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standards. The ANSI A10.6-1990 standard for demolition operations defines "demolition" as the dismantling, razing, or wrecking of any fixed building or structure or any part thereof. The ANSI A10.6 committee which is responsible for developing the safety requirements for demolition operations has informed us that the committee intentionally included in their definition of demolition all partial dismantling and razing activities including those where structural members of the structure are not removed. Accordingly, Subpart T applies not only to dismantling, razing, or wrecking activities, but to activities involving rehabilitation, repair, or remodeling including those where no removal of load supporting structural members takes place.

With regard to whether an engineering survey must be made prior to starting a rehab project as required by 1926.850(a), please be advised that the scope of the engineering survey depends on the nature of the work to be performed (e.g. whether load bearing structural members are removed and the condition of the existing structure.) If a rehab project does not affect the load bearing structural components of the structure and is performed within an environment known to be free from structural hazards, then a violation of 1926.850(a) would be considered to be de minimis and an engineering survey would not be necessary.

However, while some of these situations may not require an engineering survey, there may be additional hazards associated with a demolition project, rehab project, or portions in a larger demolition project. These hazards may include removal of non-structural walls, internal systems such as equipment, piping or machinery, as examples, which could potentially fall, collapse, and/or result in an injury to an employee. In these cases, the General Safety and Health Provisions in Subpart C of 29 CFR 1926 will help prevent or minimize potential employee exposures. For example, the hazard recognition provisions in 1926.21(b)(2) and the accident prevention responsibilities in 1926.20(b) may be applicable.*

With regard to the use of scaffolds, please be advised that all scaffolds used in demolition must comply with the requirements in Subpart L of part 1926.

If we can be of any further assistance please contact me or Mr. Dale Cavanaugh of my staff at (202) 219-8136. the Directorate of Construction at 202-693-2020.*


Roy F. Gurnham, P.E., J.D.
Office of Construction and Maritime
Compliance Assistance

*[This letter has been reviewed on 11/03/2017 and reflects current OSHA regulations and policies.]

November 9, 1993

Director of Compliance Programs
U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Director:

As a firm interested and involved in construction safety, we would appreciate OSHA's official interpretation of the following standard: 29 CFR 1926.850(a).

Specifically, our request includes the Agency's differentiation of a "Demolition Operation", a "Gut Re-Hab", where the exterior walls, roof and foundation are not disturbed and a project that just involves the removal, replacing or the relocating of interior walls, ceilings or partitions.

Can we assume that the standard addresses itself to the structural stability of the structure, as well as the exterior walls of the structure, and/or the roof and floors of the structure?

Are interior non-bearing walls and partitions an intricate part of this standard? And, finally, does this standard specifically include a light weight suspended scaffold?

Hoping for a quick reply.


Paul Vincent Bonfiglio
Vincent Safety Service Co.

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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