In December, after debris fell from a Westside high-rise building (on 49th Street), killing 60-year-old architect, Erica Tishman, NYC Building Commissioner Melanie La Rocca announced she is holding building owners’ “feet to fire, so they get repair work done as quickly as possible while still protecting the public,” Crain’s New York recently reported.
The City will double the number of building inspectors from 11 to 22 and they will be examining facades throughout the city, “doing more follow-up inspections to ensure pedestrian safety structures are properly installed and maintained at the buildings where problems have been found,” noted Crain’s.
Because safety at construction sites has been an ongoing concern, we recently reported that random safety inspections are being implemented at different projects sites throughout the five boroughs.
Now, those same kinds of random reviews will be undertaken at structures city-wide.
After Ms. Tishman’s needless death, the Department of Buildings inspected some 1,300 properties which had been previously flagged with unsafe facades and found that 220 of them still lacked appropriate pedestrian protections.
“While the City clearly dropped the ball, so did hundreds of property owners,” noted Ricardo M. Vera, a partner at Newman Ferrara LLP. “Landlords need to be more proactive and, if necessary, should be held criminally and civilly responsible for disregarding a most fundamental and non-delegable duty -- to keep their buildings safe.”
“There have been a number of reported instances where a building was cited for safety issues,” he added, “yet the cited problems were wrongfully ignored, leading to even greater public-safety risks. That kind of recklessness cannot stand.”
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If you believe that your building owner is ignoring crucial safety issues, call 3-1-1.
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Should you require assistance with a real-estate matter, of any kind, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our attorneys at 212-619-5400.