High Risk Construction

On February 3, 2009 Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandry announced a series of changes in the way high-risk construction will be regulated and carried out in New York City. These changes are based on 41 recommendations developed during the unprecedented $4 million study of crane, hoist, excavation, and concrete operations launched last year in response to an increase in construction accidents.

The recommendations target a wide range of topics – from crane design standards to engineering plans for excavation sites to inspection protocols and training – and are designed to strengthen the safety and oversight of high-risk construction on job sites in New York City. The Department of Buildings (DOB) has already begun to implement some of the recommendations and will work with stakeholders and others to implement all 41 recommendations in the coming months. Commissioner LiMandri announced the results of the High-Risk Construction Oversight (HRCO) study earlier today at McGraw-Hill Construction’s BuildSafe New York conference.

“This groundbreaking study is the type of critical evaluation that is necessary to ensure a new standard of safety is implemented across the City, one that the public demands and deserves,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “The city’s economy depends on construction, and New Yorkers are depending on us to make that construction safe. After an exhaustive review of high-risk construction, we identified 41 specific ways that will help prevent accidents and raise accountability across the board.”

As part of the High-Risk Construction Oversight study, more than 30 engineering experts from CTL Engineers and Construction Technology Consultants, P.C. (CTL) conducted a top-to-bottom review of the regulations, materials, processes, and systems employed during high-risk construction. The 41 recommendations announced today are based on information gathered during nearly 600 job site visits and 12 outreach meetings with more than 95 stakeholder organizations, as well as the DOB safety conferences with crane manufacturers and building officials from cities around the world.

“It is universally agreed that public and worker safety is of paramount concern during construction work,” said CTL President Gene Corley. “Safety is critical in dense, urban environments, and the ever-advancing scale, pace, and complexity of construction technology has put current industry practices and regulatory controls to the test.  This is underscored by nothing so much as the recent spate of construction crane accidents in the US and abroad.”

The recommendations will be outlined in a comprehensive report that will be presented to Commissioner LiMandri later this month. The 41 recommendations fall into three groups involving cranes and hoists, excavation, and concrete operations.

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