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“Safety. The only job more important than the job.”

Local Law 196 Safety Training Deadline Extended Six Months – From June 1 to December 1, 2019

On May 8, the NYC City Council passed legislation extending the deadline for Phase 2 of Local Law 196 requiring 30 hours of site safety training for workers on buildings that mandate a site safety manager from June 1 to December 1, 2019. A potential additional six-month delay to June 1, 2020 will be decided by September 1, 2019. The deadline to acquire 40 hours of training is September 1, 2020. Supervisors are required to have 62 hours of training by December 1, 2019.


NYC DOB Build Safe | Live Safe Conference 2019 Presents In-depth Overview and Industry Update

“Without development, the City cannot thrive; without construction the City would fall apart. The DOB strives daily to find the right balance between safety and development,” said Acting NYC DOB Commissioner Thomas Fariello, R.A., addressing a crowd of 300+ from construction, design and real estate sectors at this year’s all-day Build Safe | Live Safe Conference on May 10. The mega-event presented DOB experts speaking with candor and conviction in seminars geared to help the industry navigate and better understand the complex laws, codes, rules and regulations governing the 1.1 million buildings and 45,000 active construction sites under DOB surveillance.

Acting DOB Commissioner Thomas Fariello, R.A (left) listens to a Build Safe | Live Safe conference attendee after having addressed an audience of 300 industry professinals, saying "Safety. The only job more important than the job." (Photo: Skyline Restoration).

Fariello acknowledged the risks inherent in construction, “one of the most dangerous jobs,” added, “no building is worth a life” and the DOB’s bold new slogan: “Safety. The only job more important than the job.”

He noted the DOB’s ongoing commitment to reduce response times and a new technology that puts “the power of data in the hands of the public” via interactive web portals. Members of the public are encouraged to report construction and building related violations by dialing 311.

“Reinforce the message of safety as loud as you can and as often as you can. Ladies and gentlemen: Let’s Stay Safe!” concluded Fariello.

The conference culminated a multi-lingual “Experience is Not Enough” Safety Week that saw DOB staffers bring food trucks packed with free breakfast and lunch fare to construction sites to strengthen ties with the workforce and foster a shared commitment to safety. It came directly on the heels of the May 8 postponement of the Local Law 196 30-hour safety training deadline from June 1, 2019 to December 1, 2019.

Safety Stats – A Year in Review

Timothy Hogan, deputy commissioner, enforcement, gave a frank, no-holds-barred talk on Construction Safety Year in Review, a look back at 2018 which witnessed 746 accidents, 761 injuries, and 12 fatalities. He detailed the errors and negligence that precipitated each fatality ranging from improper tying off to unsafe electrical work, underpinning failures, bracket slippage and more. He noted the formation of a Construction Safety Compliance (CSC) unit.

Hogan told the audience that the DOB is “ramping up public outreach” via a public awareness campaign by distributing pamphlets at work sites, placing ads and PSAs on TV and radio, and posting ads at ball games and on subways.

Structural Assessment in Urban Density

Dan Eschenasy, P.E., F.SEI, SECB, examined Structural Condition Assessment as a Tool for Safe Construction, noting that the City’s density necessitates taking adjoining buildings into account in any pre-construction plan: i.e., a new building may be flanked by a pair of 150-year-old structures.

The goal is to control and mitigate damage and dangers by monitoring, however, monitoring without a plan of action is not enough.

Among the elements demanding scrutiny are: Was a defect present from the start or has aging caused deterioration – a slower process? Are repair and rehabilitation needed? Is there discernible façade damage - bowing and bulging, cracks, and/or leaning? Did an external repair fail? Is there adequate wind anchorage? Is there wood damage? Is the load capacity sufficient? What is the structural stability of party walls? Any deficiencies could precipitate a calamity, even an eventual collapse.

Demolition carries its own set of risks since “structures are not built with demolition in mind.” The need is to “fix before destroy.”

Prioritizing Tenant Protection

John Raine, RA, deputy borough commissioner, updated all on Tenant Protection in Buildings Occupied During Construction.

A timeline finds rent control of the 1940s followed by rent stabilization, warranty of habitability, the DOB Tenant Safety Plan of the 1980s, and its “direct descendant,” the DOB’s 2016 Tenant Protection Plan (TPP). In 2017, the NY City Council passed the Safe Construction Bill of Rights and increased the liens, penalties, and restrictions on privileges protecting tenants from harassment due to construction.

Current guidelines allow the DOB to halt any job that violates the TPP which mandates that: egress be maintained and unobstructed; a fire safety plan is in effect; health requirements are met; housing standards are compliant; structural safety is established; noise restrictions comply with DEP regulations; essential services are maintained – or tenants are notified of a disruption.

Façade Failures – And Fixes

Façade Failures in High-Rise Buildings, a forum led by Yegal Shamash, P.E.; Jill Hrubecky, P.E.; and Olga Suto, R.A., focused on the FISP (Façade Inspection and Safety Program) universe of 14,500 buildings over six stories required to have a façade inspection every five years under Local Law 11. The speakers pinpointed three areas of concern: terra cotta; cavity walls; and glass, including glass curtain walls.

Terra cotta deterioration is evidenced in crazing, spalling and rusted anchors. It needs to be investigated to see if repair or replacement is needed.

Cavity walls can have rusted anchors, surface erosion and joint failure if water intrudes. Glass disasters can result from many factors including high winds and even spontaneous breakage.

Remedies include corrosion resistant terra cotta secured with anchors of sufficient strength to support the weight; probes of cavity walls, removal of unsafe sections, proper anchorage and waterproofing; fully tempered glass with baluster and infill panels laminated.

Afternoon breakout sessions covered a range of topics including basement apartments; Cranes & Derricks; the NYC Energy Code; and a talk on Code Requirements that detailed sidewalk shed and scaffolding regulations.

Presentations of the Build|Safe Live Safe conference can be viewed here.


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