SPECIAL REPORT: Acting Commissioner of NYC Department of Buildings Discusses Safety, Sustainability at BuildingsNY 2008

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorNew York–The Acting Commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings, Robert LiMandri (pictured), was the keynote speaker at BuildingsNY 2008, held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from June 17-18. With GreenBuildingsNY joining the BuildingsNY convention for the first time, LiMandri acknowledged the importance of building green to accommodate the future, with the benefit to the builder of reduced operating costs. In addition, and most importantly, with the recent crane collapses in the forefront of the industry’s mind, LiMandri discussed the city’s new safety guidelines at high-rise construction sites. The industry and the government must work together to demand and enforce higher safety standards, LiMandi said, noting the $4 million investment to address crane safety, excavation and concrete operations. Ways that the industry can make sites safer must be identified, he explained. Additionally, the Department has recently begun to certify Site Safety Coordinators, who are  responsible for supervising the construction of buildings 10-14 stories high. For buildings 15 stories and higher, a Site Safety Manager with at least 40 hours of training will oversee the development, and for buildings lower than 10 stories, a construction superintendent will be required to be on the site. The city’s new construction codes will go into effect in two weeks, and LiMandri noted the importance of developers, builders and owners working together to ensure safety on construction sites. “The time is now and I ask everyone on the ground to work with me and make construction safer,” said LiMandri.