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PR- 188-13
June 5, 2013


Awards Ceremony Established in 2010 to Celebrate Work of Department Employees

Awards Also Recognize Work by Department to Help New Yorkers after Hurricane Sandy 

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Buildings Commissioner Robert D. LiMandri today presided over the 2013 Commissioner’s Awards for Excellence, the Department of Buildings annual ceremony held at The Cooper Union in Manhattan. At the event, 93 department employees were honored for their work in protecting New Yorkers during construction operations and facilitating safe development across the city in the past year. Three of the nine awards recognized the department’s work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as inspectors and engineers led the largest inspection initiative in city history with more than 80,000 inspections. Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn also delivered remarks, praising the work of the award winners, including the Buildings Special Investigations Unit, a joint team that investigates major construction accidents and corruption within the construction industry.

“Today’s awards ceremony is a recognition of the hard work that the Department of Buildings does every day,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Construction is an integral part of our city’s economic growth, and these award winners represent the agency’s best of the best who have gone above and beyond to ensure that New Yorkers are protected during construction operations, including leading the largest buildings safety initiative in our city’s history after Hurricane Sandy.”

“This foundation of this Department is stronger than ever before due to the outstanding work of these employees,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “With a streamlined process based on new technology, construction projects are being approved faster than ever, fueling New York City’s economic growth like never before. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, our dedicated staff performed more than 80,000 inspections and advised hundreds of property owners how to rebuild their homes stronger and safer. Our experts in engineering, architecture and construction have made this agency a worldwide leader in construction safety and development, and as a result, the City is a better place to live, work and build.”

Under Commissioner LiMandri, the awards ceremony was established in 2010 to recognize outstanding work by the Department’s 1,000 employees.  Last year, the Department reviewed more than 446,000 sets of construction plans and issued 146,000 permits, generating $12.2 billion worth of potential economic activity. Inspectors also performed 281,301 inspections and issued 49,958 violations and 5,130 Stop Work Orders.

Following Hurricane Sandy, the Department oversaw inspections at 80,000 buildings citywide, with assistance from private engineering firms and the National Guard, and placed red, yellow or green placards on the affected properties to notify residents and first responders of the structural conditions. Employees also staffed the City’s restoration centers in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, helping New Yorkers receive emergency electrical and plumbing service, schedule home repairs and understand the necessary steps to re-occupy their homes.

The Advancing Public Safety Award was given to a team of 18 inspectors and engineers who responded to the damaged tower crane at 157 West 57th Street and helped secure the collapsed boom after Hurricane Sandy. Soon after the boom collapse, Assistant Commissioner Michael Alacha, P.E., and Acting Assistant Commissioner Timothy Lynch, P.E., climbed to the top of 74-story, unenclosed building to inspect the boom, which bent backwards during the 80-mile-per-hour winds and dangled nearly 1,000 feet high in the air. In the days that followed, both men, along with Executive Director of Cranes and Derricks Division Faisal Muhammed, P.E., and Chief Inspector Frank Damiani and others, conducted multiple inspections of the crane, the hoist and the surrounding buildings as a precaution. The team worked with the contractor and developer to devise a plan to secure the equipment, and five days later, the operation was completed – allowing nearby residents to return home and businesses to open.

The Innovations in Borough Operations and Development Award was given to Lisa Fan, Director of the NYC Development Hub. Director Fan oversees the day-to-day operations at the Development Hub, a state-of-the-art project review center that accepts digital construction plans and coordinates all online permitting. At the Development Hub in Lower Manhattan, she implemented a new tracking system to monitor the progress of plan reviews and increase the efficiency of project approvals. In its first year, the Development Hub approved projects up to three times faster than paper-based plans filed at the borough offices.


Marc LaVorgna / Kamran Mumtaz   (212) 788-2958

Tony Sclafani / Kelly Magee (Buildings)   (212) 566-3473


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