City suspends inspector of collapsed Bronx building 

Engineer “misdiagnosed” critical aspect of seven-story apartment

NYC Suspends Inspector of Collapsed Bronx Building

1915 Billingsley Terrace in the Morris Heights neighborhood of the Bronx (Getty)

New York City penalized the engineer responsible for inspecting a seven-story building in the Bronx that partially collapsed last week.

Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Buildings commissioner James Oddo announced the engineer’s suspension, the New York Times reported. The penalty was the result of a partial collapse of 1915 Billingsley Terrace in the Morris Heights neighborhood, which partially crumbled to the ground around 3:30 p.m. last Monday afternoon.

No major injuries were reported from the incident at the 46-unit Bronx building, but the 170 residents who lived there have been displaced.

The city officials didn’t name the engineer in a statement on the suspension. In an interview with the Times on Friday, however, veteran facades inspector Richard Koenigsberg said he filed a report about the building’s condition in June.

That report “misdiagnosed” a column of the building as being “decorative,” according to city officials. Oddo said the engineer “failed to recognize a clearly structural column as such.”

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Koenigsberg has said that he filed reports declaring the facade was unsafe. But the engineer clarified that he thought pedestrians needed to be protected from debris and wasn’t stating that the building was structurally unsound.

The Department of Buildings, along with the Bronx district attorney’s office and the city’s Department of Investigation, are investigating the cause of the collapse. The DOB is also reviewing all of 368 filings submitted by the engineer as part of the facade inspection and safety program.

The city is also seeking to permanently revoke the engineer’s permission to inspect building facades. Koenigsberg told the outlet he’s never been disciplined in the past, but plans on hiring a lawyer.

There’s a history of violations at the building that appear to be separate from Koenigsberg’s controversial report on safety. Last month, site contractors were fined $2,400 for broken mudsills under scaffolding, wood elements used at the foundation level for support. A DOB inspector said at the time that the violation could affect the scaffolding structure.

The building’s owner — a shell company that purchased the site for $3 million in 2004 — was previously fined for missing an inspection of the exterior walls.

Holden Walter-Warner

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