Ratner’s prefab Atlantic Yards tower not up to code: Suit

July 10, 2013 04:00PM

UPDATED, 4:46 p.m., July 10: The Plumbing Foundation of New York City, a nonprofit association of licensed contracting firms, manufacturers and suppliers, has sued the Department of Buildings, alleging that developer Bruce Ratner’s plan to build prefabricated apartment towers at Atlantic Yards ignores major building safety rules, the NY Daily News reported.

The 39-page lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleged that the DOB erred in allowing Ratner to build the first residential component of the $4.9 billion, 15-building mixed-use project, which includes the Barclays Center.

He is doing so without using licensed plumbers or fire suppression contractors – a violation of the city’s building code, according to the suit.

The building, a 32-story residential structure at Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue dubbed B2, will be the tallest modular building in the world.

“It’s a dangerous path we walk down when the city appears to be willing to circumvent the clear words of the law so that wealthy and influential developers can make a few extra dollars by using lower paid and untrained assembly line workers,” Stewart O’Brien, executive director of the Plumbing Foundation, told the Daily News.

The suit aims to force the Bloomberg administration to enforce the construction code, and could delay completion of the first building, expected next summer.

In response to the suit, an Forest City Ratner spokesperson said in a statement to The Real Deal: “It is simply outrageous that anyone would suggest that FCRC would violate the building code and do anything to compromise safety. It is false and they know it. The work in the factory is completed by union labor and approved by a licensed engineer, all according to building codes. The units are then delivered to the building and installed and all plumbing connections are made by licensed plumbers.”

More than 60 percent of the construction of the residential portion is expected to be off-site, as it uses pre-fabricated units. The modules are currently being built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and include plumbing, gas and sprinkler piping. [NYDN]Julie Strickland