The interim head of the city’s Buildings Department, Robert LiMandri, has announced a $4 million plan to analyze high-risk construction activities throughout the city and to beef up safety protocols.
LiMandri — who was named acting commissioner yesterday after Patricia Lancaster resigned from the agency’s top post amid criticism that the department was failing to deal with hazardous safety conditions — said this afternoon that the department will deploy a team of engineering experts to assess construction sites across the city.
The announcement comes on the heels of a sweeping review of the city’s tower cranes, which uncovered violations at eight sites, and as the Bloomberg administration is facing mounting pressure to put an end to the series of construction site accidents that have resulted in 13 deaths so far this year.
As part of the $4 million plan, crews will inspect high-rise concrete operations, excavations and crane operations that will be used to help the department draft a new “Construction Analysis and Oversight Plan.” According to a news release from the DOB, that plan will act as a blueprint to make high-risk construction safer.
“We are conducting a top-to-bottom analysis of how these industries function in the field so that we can best oversee them and hold them to the high safety standards New Yorkers deserve,” LiMandri said in a statement.
In 2006 and 2007, concrete operations accounted for 30 percent of all high-rise construction accidents and excavation operations accounted for 13 percent of incidents. While crane-related accidents were less common, the seven deaths at the East 51st Street construction site last month catapulted crane safety into the spotlight.
The $4 million influx comes during lean fiscal times that have required the city to cut, not enhance, agency budgets. But, the money will allow the Buildings Department to bring 20 engineering experts on board immediately. They will collaborate with inspectors over the next eight to 12 months, with recommendations to be implemented as they are made.