2008-04-18 / Top Stories

City Department of Buildings Ups Inspection Of Cranes

Several mobile construction cranes such as this one have been active on the Rockaway peninsula. Several mobile construction cranes such as this one have been active on the Rockaway peninsula. Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster, FAIA, has announced the completion of the Buildings Department's citywide safety inspection sweep of tower cranes, the type of crane involved in the March 15th collapse at 303 East 51st Street in Manhattan. The results of the safety inspection sweep, launched days after the crane collapse, show that 21 of 29 tower cranes installed and in use throughout the five boroughs passed inspection and are in compliance with regulations. The eight tower cranes issued violations were immediately shut down and remained out of operation until the violations were corrected. Violations for seven of the tower cranes have been corrected, and one of the tower cranes issued a Stop Work Order remains shut down by the Department.

According to department sources, several of the mobile construction cranes are being utilized in Rockaway, but that those have all passed recent inspections.

"The public can rest assured that the majority of the tower cranes did pass inspection, but our inspectors uncovered eight tower cranes with unacceptable violations. The Buildings Department shut down these cranes and required the individuals responsible to immediately address the violating conditions," said Commissioner Lancaster. "Cranes that are found to have unsafe violating conditions will not be permitted to operate."

Since the safety inspection sweep was announced on March 20, all tower cranes installed and in use citywide have been inspected and evaluated for structural deficiencies. A total of 29 tower cranes were inspected at 26 construction sites. Each tower crane inspection lasted an average of four hours and included a visual review of the crane's structure to determine whether it was installed and secured to the building according to the approved engineering plans. Of the 29 tower cranes inspected, 21 of the cranes passed inspection, meaning that these cranes were installed in accordance with engineered plans approved by the Buildings Department and were functioning safely at the time of inspection. Buildings inspectors issued Stop Work Orders to eight tower cranes. Of the tower cranes that were shut down by the Department, two had administrative violations, such as not having the proper paperwork available on site at the time of inspection, and six had safety-related violations, including broken decelerators, missing pins, and conditions contrary to the engineered plans.

Upon completion of the inspection of the 29 tower cranes in operation, the Buildings Department began a safety inspection sweep of approximately 220 mobile cranes throughout the five boroughs on April 14. Unlike the type of crane involved in the accident at 303 East 51st Street, which is assembled on the job site and made up of stacked tower mast sections, mobile cranes are pre-built structures that require no assembly to operate. Commonly used to build or deconstruct buildings and other structures, including tower cranes, mobile cranes are often smaller in size. At this time, the Department has inspected five mobile cranes and issued one Stop Work Order and one violation during the safety inspection sweep. Mobile cranes that do not comply with existing safety and building regulations will be immediately shut down and removed from use.

New Yorkers are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to report non-compliant conditions or 9-1-1 to report emergencies at construction sites.

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