Wednesday, May 13, 2015

DOB not tracking repeat offender contractors

From the Daily News:

With construction accidents on the rise, the City Council Monday pressed the Buildings Department to aggressively pursue "bad actor" contractors.

“People who are doing bad things are not being stopped,” Housing & Building Committee Chairman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) said. “We want to make sure we’re doing a lot more of connecting the dots.”

From 2013 to last year, the number of building permits rose 10% while the number of accidents jumped by 24%, Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said at a housing committee hearing.

That’s an 80% rise from the 128 accidents in 2011, and there are indications it may get worse this year.

To date there have been six fatalities, including worker Christian Ginesi falling down an elevator shaft last week. At that pace, the city will exceed 2014's eight fatalities.

At the hearing, Chandler blamed the spike on better reporting and a rising number of big projects: “The larger the project, the more inherent the risk.”

But council members took issue with his agency’s ability to track repeat offender contractors who constantly cut corners and endanger workers.

The city Housing & Preservation Department, for instance, puts contractors with spotty records on an “enhanced review” list to build taxpayer-subsidized affordable units.

Councilmember Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) said she was “surprised” Chandler seemed unaware of that list.


Anonymous said...

This is not new!

Jerry Rotondi said...

No surprise here. DOB is the department of bumblers, or bribery if you like that one better.

Anonymous said...

They are also so "mobbed up" that DOB can never be cleaned up. DOB is like the mythical Hydra. Cut off a branch of corruption and it quickly grows another.

DOB is like having our own municipal mafia.

Anonymous said...

DOB is incapable of tracking and following up on ANYTHING it regulates. Self-certification is BS.

Anonymous said...

Self-certification should have been abolished a long time.

Architects and Engineers who have severely abused the process have gone undisciplined.

And, architects and engineers working on projects where fatalities have occurred, alledgedly have escaped prosecution for their falsification of documents and failure to oversee projects adequately.

But, that would counteract with the DOB's constant push to fast track permitting. The continued development of our already overdeveloped areas is still a priority. Yet, we all know that the DOB cannot adequately oversee the vast number of projects going on in the boroughs. That is evident on a daily basis.

The DOB also as we well know has no power to enforce rogue developers, owners, general contractors and contractors.

Case in point: If you are doing illegal construction and not building according to plans -- just lock the construction gate from the inside and continue working. Don't acknowledge the DOB inspectors. They will have to JUST LEAVE.

You see, the DOB cannot enter or demand that the lock be removed, even though at the time of his arrival it is obvious that work is going on at the site.

Why can't they call the DOB's Enforcement Team go to the site and cut the locks?

Jackson Heights Johnny said...

I see three problems here that are the inherent in every workplace today, whether it be construction or McDonalds:

1) Everything is "do more with less" and "rush-rush".

2) There is little or no "on the job" training ANYWHERE anymore. Go into a Home Depot, ask someone where the light bulbs are, and get DUH! for an answer.

3) We all know that construction sites employ a lot of non-English speaking workers, which means that even whatever training might be given might not be fully understood.

A total formula for disaster!

Anonymous said...

im a PE. its not the job of architects and engineers to oversee a job. this tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy that were somehow falsifying documents as they pertain to safety is patently false. its the GC's responsibility to meet OSHA as much as it is YOUR employers. some of these deaths were preventable yes, but they also could have been prevented with OSHA enforcement. all were OSHA violations (fall protection, maximum depth of unshored excavation come to mind) wheres the outrage directed at them?

and by the way, yes self-cert has some bad apples, but the people who get caught knowingly abusing it lose their ability to file in NYC for life.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a PE.

Relevant to "im a PE" statements:

"its not the job of architects and engineers to oversee a job"

Question: Doesn't An Architect's and Engineer's Contractual Duties and Scope of Duty depend on the particular agreement entered into with his employer.

"falsifying documents as they pertain to safety is patently false".

As an example:

Haven't architects and engineers been known to file false and misleading documents on applications and other DOB forms.

As it pertains specifically to safety:

DOB TR1 Forms - Statement of Responsibility -- wherein architects and engineers take responsibility for and in the end sign off on responsibilities such as the:

pouring of footings and foundations; drywell installations, etc.

Haven't these professionals been known in too many instances not to have actually witnessed the process. A serious abuse of the building code, construction safety and the law.

OSHA: I was advised responds to employee complaints and not citizen complaints. The Agency, I have been told, has a handful of inspectors throughout the boroughs. It seems citizens cannot direct OSHA to unsafe sites. Employees must file complaints with OSHA about safety issues. How many construction workers, especially illegals, will want to bring OSHA to the construction site?

Preventable Deaths: Most, if not all of the deaths over the past decade, could have and should have been prevented.