Predictable but costly underpinning failures. Deficient design. Inadequate construction and supervision. General lack of monitoring site conditions...
And we here at IMBY were convinced it, (the root of all evil), had something to do with south Slope homeowners engaging in orgies of misconduct!
Please visit this DOB video link to hear Mr. Lynch's own words.
"In the last three years, there have been 13,000 new building permits in the city. Every new building has an excavation component, and for every new building, there are approximately three adjacent buildings impacted by the construction. Most of these buildings are on the lot line. That potentially equates to 40,000 neighbors being impacted by the new building. In response to the rise in excavation related incidents and collateral damage to the neighbor's buildings, the Department recognised the need to focus on excavation." -Timothy Lynch DoB Special Enforcement Forensic Engineer
"A typical self-certified Manhattan job... Hundreds of drawings of the new building, and virtually no information provided on the lot line. This is not our idea of good due diligence. Engineers should have provided this essential information to the general contractor to ensure that the general contractor understood what was on the lot line in congested neighborhoods.
The problem with this is that if there is a structural issue progressing with the neighbor, there is no way to check to see if it's progressing. You can't pick it up early enough." - Timothy Lynch
"The challenge before us is primarily one of compliance with existing regulations."
A little background: In April of 2008 Mayor Bloomberg and Department of Buildings Commissioner LiMandri announced the launch of the High Risk Construction Oversight (HRCO) Study to analyze high-risk construction operations of concrete, cranes / hoists, and excavation. Over the past six months, a group of highly-specialized engineering experts have been conducting in-depth site inspections of materials, processes, and systems, while also reviewing the Department's current inspection protocols, to identify any necessary changes to industry practices as well as the Department’s oversight of these activities. During this process, the HRCO Engineers have been working with the Department and Industry in developing recommendations to expand the agency's efforts in making high-risk construction activities safer. BuildSafe New York: The NYC Department of Buildings’ New Vision for Safety provides participants with the opportunity to hear about the findings from the study experts themselves and to help craft the implementation of recommendations that will support a safer construction industry.
32% of sites visited had NO monitoring at all of adjacent properties.
"Over half of all design drawings had major deficiencies."
One in four sites with NO precondition surveys of adjacent properties. Those claiming to have surveys, the remaining 3/4, their surveys were found to be deficient.
36% of sites visited had significant problems with digging their foundation holes= hazardous conditions concerning the sheet shoring, bracing, and setting up of the site.
26% of sites visited had significant problems with underpinning. Problems with sequencing, layout, GROUND LOSS, approach pit, and dry packing.