"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."