NYC far behind other cities in construction practices, Pinsky says

Despite having Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who is widely considered to be pro-development — leading New York City for the past 10 years, a top official in his administration says the city is “decades behind” the rest of the world in some construction practices.

“If you talk to people who do construction in places outside of New York, they will tell you that we are in some cases decades behind the rest of the world in the methodologies that we use,” said Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

“There are costs in the system that don’t need to be there, that come from regulations that have sat on the books for years and have not been rethought,” he said. Examples of frivolous rules, he said, were those that require people who don’t perform any work to report to a job, or that require that actions be taken one after another when it would be more efficient to do them at the same time.

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Pinsky was speaking on a development panel held at 7 World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan this morning, which was sponsored by a commercial real estate development association, known by its acronym NAIOP.

He said the city needed to improve those rules because the country as a whole needs to both increase its infrastructure spending and spend those tax dollars more efficiently, to compete with other countries.

“We actually aren’t just spending fewer dollars, but we are getting less for our dollars than a place like China,” he said.

The lag comes despite Bloomberg fighting to streamline union work rules, and updating the city’s Department of Buildings with new systems such as a digital plan review system.