ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON CODES
ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON HOUSING
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
|The Effectiveness of Regulation of Construction and Development inand the Enforcement of the Building Code and the Zoning Resolution: A Second Hearing|
|To continue the exploration of the powers, duties, obligations and accountablitity ofCity's regulatory system for construction, development and zoning enforcement in light of the many recent tragic construction accidents involving death, injury and damage.|
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Assembly Hearing Room
Room 1923, 19th Floor
Devastating construction accidents are regularly occurring in New York City and underscore the immediate need for improved oversight of construction and building safety by the New York City Department of Buildings, the Environmental Control Board and other City agencies.
Incidents this year involving death, injury, and/or property damage include: the March 15th crane collapse at involving seven deaths and a falsified DOB inspection report; the March 11th incident at involving one death; the March 4th collapse at ; and, the January 14th incident at involving one death.
Several pieces of legislation whose purpose is to improve safety of construction and development in have been introduced in the NYS Legislature. They include:
Please see the reverse side for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony, and for a description of the bills which will be discussed at the hearing.
Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committees at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.
Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes in duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committees will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. In the absence of a request, witnesses will be scheduled in the order in which reply forms are postmarked.
Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committees would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.
In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committees' interest in hearing testimony from all sources.
In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.
IF YOU PLAN ON TESTIFYING:
SELECTED ISSUES TO WHICH WITNESSES MAY DIRECT THEIR TESTIMONY:
- Please describe the status of all building code enforcement activities at the four sites referred to in the notice, including permitting plans, complaints, inspections, violations, responses or non-responses by entities receiving violations to any hearings scheduled by the Environmental Control Board (ECB), and/or any actions taken by the ECB or any court actions taken by the Department of Buildings (DOB) in relation to DOB violations.
- Please describe the ECB process and procedures, from issuance of violation through initial appearance to hearing outcome. What is the process regarding setting the hearing date; under what circumstances are hearings postponed; what are the consequences of default, failure to respond, and/or failure to correct; what steps does DOB take to ensure site safety during the adjudication process; and how do the DOB and the ECB interface to control conditions at building sites?
- In certain circumstances, violations present imminent danger to the public and are treated as emergencies. Please describe how, by whom, and in what circumstances hazardous violations are brought to the attention of the commissioner, the New York City Fire Department, the Department of Investigations, the New York City Police Department, Department of Housing Preservation and Development or other agency responsible for investigation, correction, and/or emergency response. What are the established protocols for such actions, how are such actions recorded, and what records are maintained of the decision-making during the process?
- In other circumstances, many hazardous violations are issued but the hazardous conditions at the work site are allowed to remain uncorrected. Please describe how the DOB tracks pending hazardous violations and ensures their correction. Who is responsible for re-inspection to verify correction? When does the DOB accept affidavits of correction and when does it require in-person inspection to verify correction of hazardous violations?
- In regard to the prevention of accidents as well as effective enforcement, please describe how the DOB tracks and reports violations, accidents, defaults, outstanding fines and failed audits of professionally-certified plans by architects, engineers and contractors throughout its database and what measures are taken by the DOB as a result. What, if any, red flags trigger heightened scrutiny, closer inspection, and effective DOB investigation?
- Again, in regard to the prevention of accidents as well as effective enforcement, please describe how the DOB tracks the safety performance of general contractors, as well as that of heavy equipment operators, crane operators, and concrete contractors, particularly in terms of hazardous violations, hearing defaults, accidents, and/or property damage.
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