Builders demolish so they can build bigger houses or two or three houses where one had stood before. This practice can endanger the adjacent homes and is often in violation of the approved plans which may be self-approved.
Precautions lacking in demolition of homes
The innocent adjacent homeowners are sometimes forced out of their home and the builder still doesn't repair the damage. The homeowner has to spend the money to sue. An unscrupulous builder did this to a woman's property in Bayside about three years ago when he built three houses on a lot that originally had one. The DOB had permitted him to put the houses in sideways. As far as I know, the lady's property in Bayside has not been repaired.
Why doesn't New York City help these innocent property owners, since it let unscrupulous builders self-approve or just didn't stop the builders quick enough? Civic leaders complain that the DOB doesn't do enough. The innocent people pay property taxes and pay any fines they receive, unlike the unscrupulous builders who don't care about laws or fines...Some builders feel that a small fine is part of their expenses, if they do pay the fine.