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The Department of Buildings had several major accomplishments in 2009, including the launch of new initiatives and programs designed to increase safety and improve accountability at construction sites across the City. Below are more details on our major accomplishments.

84% Percent Decrease in Construction-Related Fatalities
In 2009, there were three construction-related fatalities, an 84% decrease from 2008 where there were 19 fatalities.  It was the fewest number of construction-related fatalities in the past four years.

66 Recommendations to Improve Safety  
The Department announced the results of an unprecedented analysis of high-risk construction and released 66 recommendations to improve the ways crane, hoist, excavation and concrete operations are regulated and carried out in New York City. 
 
Completion of Legislative Agenda            
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed Intro 878-a and Intro 760-a into law, completing the Departmentís comprehensive legislative agenda announced in June 2008 to enhance Department oversight and enforcement powers. 
  
Construction Safety Week                          
The Department hosted its Fifth Annual Construction Safety Week.  The week-long event was expanded to include 14 seminars and trainings with more than 25 speakers and visits to construction sites in all five boroughs.
 
urbanSHED International Design Competition
The Department and AIANY launched the urbanSHED International Design competition to create a new standard of sidewalk shed design. The competition is sponsored by DOB, AIANY, Alliance for Downtown New York, ABNY Foundation, IESNYC and New York Building Congress with additional support from the NYC DOT, NYC DCP and SEAoNY.

New Development Challenge Process
The Department reformed the process for challenging zoning decisions by requiring applicants to submit diagrams of proposed new buildings and enlargements so they can be posted online before construction begins. As part of the reforms, a 45-day period was established where the public can view the diagrams and issue a zoning challenge to the Department. New York is the first city in the country to have such drawings online.
 
GPS Tracking
Continuing its commitment to modernizing operations, the Department began using GPS technology to track the on-duty locations of all inspectors to better ensure the integrity of inspections and dispatch resources more efficiently.
 
Concrete Safety
The Department joined the Departments of Investigation and Design and Construction to announce the creation of a comprehensive program to increase the oversight of concrete testing in the City. That includes a new city-owned and operated concrete-testing laboratory and a new DOB Concrete Unit to audit the work of private firms.
 
National Elevator Escalator Safety Week
The Department provided more than 2,000 first, second and third graders across the City with important tips on how to stay safe on elevators and escalators as part of National Elevator Escalator Safety Week.  Safety classes were given at 13 schools, the most presentations offered since the Department's annual program began in 2004

Retaining Wall Inspection Program                       
The Department continued its annual no-penalty retaining wall inspection program, encouraging homeowners to have their retaining walls checked to prevent future accidents.

Safety Program for Stalled Sites
The Department created a Stalled Sites Unit to better monitor stalled construction throughout the City and work closely with owners and developers to keep their sites safe. With support from Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council and the Department, Intro 1015-a was signed into law, allowing the extension of building permits for developers who agree to meet increased safety standards at their sites.

Crane Safety
Following two fatal crane accidents in 2008, the Department strived to make crane operations safer than ever before. Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri announced a partnership with Chicago and Philadelphia to share critical data on tower cranes erected within their borders. Commissioner LiMandri also testified before the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on the need for local jurisdictions to enforce crane safety laws.

Increase in Bicycle Parking
The Department worked with the Department of Transportation to make it easer for New Yorkers to use bicycles as a mode of transportation. With support from the two agencies and the City Council, Mayor Bloomberg signed two bills into law which increase bicycle parking in office buildings and garages

2009 Service Changes
 In 2009, the Department implemented several important service changes designed to make construction safer.  Below is an overview of the major changes.
 
New Construction Codes 
The new NYC Construction Codes were fully enacted in
July, which have brought new fire safety measures to more buildings, added new safeguards during the construction process and expanded structural safety requirements for new construction.

Safety Registration
The Department began requiring individuals and
organizations performing or supervising major construction projects to obtain a Safety Registration Number to enable the tracking of contractors across construction sites.

Construction, Demolition and Abatement Safety
 Mayor Bloomberg, the City
Council, DOB, FDNY and DEP worked to make construction, demolition and abatement sites safer with the passage of 12 new laws.  A new unit was created at DEP to handle the review and permitting of abatement projects.

Licenses & Registrations
Several changes were made to the Department's licensing
and registration processes, including:
Demolition Requirements
 The Department instituted additional requirements to
enhance the safety of demolition operations, including requiring more detailed drawings and notification before commencing partial demolition work anywhere in the City.

Concrete Testing
The Department revised the TR2 and TR3 forms to
support the new concrete testing protocol and better track information about concrete operations.
 
Keep reading Buildings News for new information and updates.
2009  Safety Campaigns


Worker Safety Campaign
  

To remind workers about the  importance of wearing their harnesses on job sites, the  Department launched a citywide  safety  campaign with the slogan "If You Fall, They Fall Too." More than 1,500 posters, 300 banners and 20,000 pamphlets in seven languages were distributed to high-rise construction sites, worker centers, union halls, community centers and telephone kiosks as part of the campaign.

Illegal Conversion Campaign

Department employees distributed more than 64,000 flyers across the City, warning New Yorkers about the dangers of illegal conversions. Flyers in 11 different languages were passed out at bus stops and subway stations in all five boroughs to inform residents how to stay safe.

Did You Know... that more than 1,000 contracting businesses have obtained a Safety Registration Number from the Department's Licensing Unit?  This new requirement was developed as part of the Department's Legislative Agenda and signed into law in February 2009.  It took effect December 1, 2009.
Department of Buildings

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December 31, 2009