Printer Friendly Format Email a Friend

PR- 523-09
December 7, 2009


Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws

"The first of six bills before me today is Introductory Number 998-A, which represents the final piece of a comprehensive legislative package aimed at improving safety, enhancing communication, and increasing oversight at construction, demolition, and asbestos abatement sites in New York City, following the tragic fire at the former Deutsche Bank building located at 130 Liberty Street that took the lives of firefighters Joseph Graffagnino, Jr. and Robert Beddia.

"Introductory Number 998-A, sponsored in conjunction with the Administration by Speaker Quinn and Council Members Gerson, Crowley, Ulrich, White, Koppell, Gennaro, Brewer, Fidler, Gentile, Gonzalez, James, Liu, Nelson, Reyna, Seabrook, Stewart, Weprin, Jackson, Recchia, Vallone and Sears, regulates simultaneous demolition work and asbestos abatement activities within the same building.

"Due to the density of development in New York City, buildings cannot be demolished by explosive devices.  Instead, they must be dismantled floor by floor.  Oftentimes, and especially in older buildings, demolition crews find asbestos-containing material, and must also abate the building of this hazardous material.  The possibility of a dangerous – even life threatening – situation is increased when demolition work is combined with asbestos abatement activities.  The Department of Buildings has long had a policy of issuing full demolition permits only if it’s certified that the building contains little or no asbestos.  Simultaneous demolition and abatement activities should be a rare occurrence, and when needed, must be approved and closely monitored by the Department of Buildings, Department of Environmental Protection, and the Fire Department.

"Following the Deutsche Bank fire, I ordered a comprehensive review of oversight and operations at construction, demolition, and abatement sites.  The working group, led by Deputy Mayor for Operations Ed Skyler, and comprised of representatives from the Department of Buildings, Department of Environmental Protection, Fire Department, and the Office of Operations, developed thirty-three recommendations that focused on four areas: inspection processes, general oversight, field operations, and data sharing.  In conjunction with the City Council, twelve pieces of legislation were drafted that collectively address all of the recommendations from the panel.  I am happy to announce that Introductory Number 998-A is the final bill from that package.

"I would like to thank Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler, all of the members of the Construction, Demolition, and Abatement Activities Working Group, the commissioners of the Department of Buildings, Department of Environmental Protection, and Fire Department and their staff for working tirelessly on the recommendations, twelve pieces of legislation, and now implementation of these new measures.  I would also like to thank Speaker Quinn, the Council, and industry leaders for being our partners in this effort.  Through our work we are making these sites as safe as possible for workers, first responders, and the public."


Jason Post/Evelyn Erskine   (212) 788-2958

More Resources