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Construction & Design

City moves to bar workers involved in fatal accidents

The Department of Buildings announced that it is revoking the privileges of a special inspector and the license of a master plumber who were implicated in fatal accidents.

DOB found that the special inspector and the master plumber were negligent on job sites and disregarded public safety.

Last year, DOB launched an enhanced disciplinary enforcement initiative against unscrupulous construction professionals, leading to these two cases and other high-profile disciplinary actions last year that stopped work at more than 500 construction sites citywide.

In 2011, a concrete collapse occurred at an active construction site at 2929 Brighton 5th Avenue in Brooklyn resulting in the death of one worker and injury of others.

In the ensuing DOB review of site conditions, Steven Schneider, a Professional Engineer and Special Inspector, was unable to document that he performed any safety inspections on site.

Special inspection privileges, which require years of construction experience to obtain, allow a qualified individual to monitor, inspect, and document that a job is complying with approved plans throughout the development process.

Through its enhanced disciplinary enforcement initiative, DOB audited Schneider’s job history and found that he failed to properly perform and document inspections on numerous sites over the past few years.

In addition, DOB found that Schneider failed to report hazardous conditions on at least one occasion.

As a result of this misconduct, the Department has permanently revoked his Special Inspection privileges, denied renewal of his Special Inspection Agency registration and referred him to the State for further disciplinary action.

Following the East Village explosion in March of 2015, an investigation was launched into the work history of Licensed Master Plumber Andrew Trombettas, who held work permits at 121 2nd Avenue, the site of the explosion.

DOB found that Trombettas acted with complete disregard for public safety, failing to supervise numerous plumbing jobs throughout the City as required by his license, including the one that resulted in the East Village explosion last March.

In addition to his recent indictment by the Manhattan District Attorney, the Department has revoked his plumbing license and barred him from reinstatement in the future.

“DOB’s enhanced disciplinary program is getting results, removing dangerous individuals from construction sites and sending a clear message to the construction industry that safety must be the top priority,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler.

“Both of these individuals showed a disturbing disregard for the safety of workers and the public, who they were entrusted to protect as licensed and credentialed construction professionals. We will continue to root out bad actors who cut corners and endanger lives.”

Under the NYC Administrative Code, the Department is granted a wide array of disciplinary enforcement actions for construction professionals who fail to comply with the NYC Construction Code and the various other laws the agency is tasked with enforcing.

In addition to the issuance of violations, the Department can place stop work orders on jobs, assess civil penalties, suspend and revoke licenses, and, where necessary, refer cases for criminal prosecution.

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