February 2nd - February 6th, 2009
Project Renderings Required Online
February 3 – The City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) announced that builders are now required to post mockup drawings of their projects on the City’s website, once the DOB approves their plan. The change will allow neighbors to challenge the project and the DOB will have to respond to each challenge. Mayor Bloomberg said, “Our reforms will make sure people have a stronger voice in the development that’s taking place in their neighborhoods.”
Additional Regulations Implemented
February 4 – There are now more than 40 new regulations for the construction industry. The City’s DOB says the new rules are aimed at preventing another crane collapse like the ones that killed 9 people last year. Crane owners and engineers are now required to sign off on repairs, stand by while cranes are raised and lowered and mandate more scrutiny of older equipment. Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said, “Any time a crane part is used we want to be assured it is structurally sound.”
Scaffolding Ads Contested
February 4 – The City Council and the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) are fighting about billboards on construction scaffolding. According to Metro, MAS the ban on advertising on scaffolding should stay in place; otherwise the scaffolding would stay up indefinitely. The City Council argues advertising on scaffolding would bring in much needed revenue.
OSHA Fraud Uncovered
February 6 – Reacting to a Daily News undercover investigation into fraud in OSHA construction safety training, the City Council announced it will be working with the Buildings Department, trade unions and the industry to fix the problem. OSHA meanwhile said it has revoked the authorization of two trainers and cards issued to people who trained in their class have been declared invalid. DOB Commissioner Robert LiMandri said he is ‘disgusted’ by the findings and is looking into how his department can monitor the training.
Group Disapproves of DOB Commissioner
February 6 – The New York State Society of Professional Engineers is suing the City to have DOB Commissioner Robert LiMandri removed from his position. The group believes the position should be held by someone who is a licensed engineer; they also say without a license the position is a ‘political appointment.” The City said LiMandri is an engineer, although not a licensed one and that the City has the authority to determine how to best provide for the leadership of its agencies.
Rector Street Bridge to be Replaced
February 6 – The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) says it’s taking action to maintain and improve the Rector Street pedestrian bridge. In a report in The Battery Park Broadsheet, spokeswoman Leticia Remauro told Community Board 1 that the bridge should be totally redone because it was put up as a temporary structure after 9-11 and has a lifespan of only 5 years. The Authority is working on designing a permanent replacement which could be located on West Thames Street or near 50 West Street. In the meantime, the BPCA is redoing the decking on the bridge.
Ground Zero Responders Suffering Health Problems
February 6- A monitoring program by Mount Sinai Medical Center found many September 11 responders suffered lung problems more than five years later. The study found of the more than 3,100 WTC responders, 24% have abnormal lung function. A spokesman said the study proves persistent illness in people exposed to the toxic dust from the collapse of the towers.