Development Safety Laws
Assemblymember Jim Brennan (D-Bklyn) reports two bills to improve regulation and enforcement of the NYC Building Code and Zoning Resolution have become law. Over the past two weeks Governor Spitzer has signed into law Brennan’s “self-certification” bill (A7746/S4603) and “excavation and shoring” bill (A7748/S5246). The bills were sponsored in the NYS Senate by Senator Frank Padavan.
Brennan said, “These laws expand DOB’s arsenal to protect public safety. They give DOB new power to crack down on shady architects who file illegal building plans and they give DOB a way to ensure new buildings don’t go up at the expense of existing neighboring homes and properties.”
A7746/S4603 authorizes the Buildings Commissioner to refuse to accept plans from an architect who in the past was proven to have knowingly made false filings with the Buildings Department.
A7748/S5246 requires contractors doing excavating of any sort to provide protection for adjacent properties. In addition, it requires contractors to carry insurance for damage caused by construction, demolition and excavation.
A7746 is retroactive to 8/15 and A7748 is retroactive to 8/28/07.
The two bills are part of Brennan’s comprehensive legislative package to protect public safety by giving DOB more tools for enforcement and regulation of construction. The legislation has won wide support from community advocates, civic groups, community boards and borough presidents. Two other bills, the DOB Community Accountability Act and a bill by Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi which allows the City to issue tax liens for hazardous building violations, passed only the Assembly.
The package grew out of lengthy city-wide hearings Brennan held in the Fall of 2006 on the subject of the regulation of construction and development in NYC. Brennan introduced six bills in the NYS Assembly in April of 2007 and another was Hevesi’s. Companion bills were introduced in the NYS Senate by Senator Padavan.
Last week Governor Spitzer vetoed one of the bills in this package, A7800/S5223 - which required re-inspection and correction of hazardous violations if a developer failed to answer a summons. Brennan said, “I plan to work on crafting a version of this bill that still has real force. I am optimistic that we can work together with the Governor and the Mayor to achieve what we all want: safe construction, solid development, without harm to people or property. I look forward to seeing the entire package becoming law.”
Wouldn't it be wonderful if these laws could be retroactively applied to the Armory Plaza? I think Assemblymember Brennan had us personally in mind when he wrote them. What does this mean for all the future "Henry Radusky Juniors" out there?
Who would have thought that excavation/foundation contractors were not required to carry insurance? Probably the most dangerous part of the entire job when the worst is to be expected. Does anyone know exactly how much insurance coverage will be required? $10 million? $20 million? $100 million? To put it in perspective, most co-op /condo boards in NYC now even require a simple painting contractor to have $3 million in coverage before they let him step foot in their building. Come to think of it, I don't think anyone of the residents on 16th Street ever received the insurance information they requested from the developer of 406 15th Street. Better check up on that. Now let's pray they actually have the ability to enforce these new laws.