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Code Breakers: Death, injury and neglect in DOB’s October round-up

New York City’s Department of Buildings has released its October 2018 enforcement report, which highlights the agency’s actions to punish bad actors in the construction industry by enforcing safety laws and codes of conduct. The round-up includes summaries of DOB-imposed disciplinary actions, such as fines and license suspensions and revocations.

Some of the major enforcement actions taken by DOB in October include:

  • 10 violations and $206,000 in fines, including daily fines, issued for illegal building alterations on five occasions.
  • 31 violations and $286,900 in fines, including daily fines, issued for illegal transient use of buildings at nine locations.
  • 39 violations and $465,000 in fines issued for failing to safeguard construction sites on 34 occasions.
  • 14 violations and $140,000 in fines issued to 13 individuals for failing to carry out duties as construction superintendents.

Individual enforcement highlights include:

  • $25,000 in fines issued to Registered General Contractor Central Builders Development at 33-02 30th Avenue in Queens after a worker fell 12 feet from the first floor to the basement while smoothing poured concrete. DOB inspectors determined there was no safety netting or fall protection system in place where the worker was at the time of the fall.
  • $25,000 in fines issued to contractor Sun Run Installation at 94-22 50th Avenue in Queens after a worker who was installing solar panels fell from the roof and died.
  • $25,000 in fines issued to Safety Registrant Related Construction LLC at 555 West 22nd Street in Manhattan after a cut hydraulic line spewed fluid onto the public sidewalk. The contractor failed to install a barrier to protect pedestrians, as was required and noted on their approved plans.
  • $15,250 in fines issued to Registered General Contractor Vice Contracting LLC at 851 East 217th Street in the Bronx for various safety issued found on an active construction site, including not having the approved plans available on site, the site being open and unguarded to the public, excavation work underway without prior notification to DOB, lacking guard rails around the excavation and creating an unsafe angle for the excavation walls.
  • $10,000 in fines issued to Registered General Contractor M-AZAD Construction Inc. at 684 Madison Street in Brooklyn after it was determined that no overhead protection was installed from the construction fence to the entrance of the building.
  • $10,000 in fines issued to contractor Surjeet Singh at 91-22 175th Street in Queens because a new building project at the location was missing guard rails around floor openings in the building and the staircases contained excessive construction debris.
  • $10,000 in fines issued to contractor Universal Builders Supply at 1 Wall Street in Manhattan after a worker assisting scaffold installation was injured on the 28th floor. It was determined that no “tool box talks” had been held prior.
  • $50,000 in fines issued to The George Units LLC, the owners of 111 Wadsworth Avenue, 1361 St. Nicholas Avenue, 1370 St. Nicholas Avenue and 260 Audubon Avenue in Manhattan, for failing to provide the appropriate safety measures to protect the public from the building’s unsafe façades.
  • $12,500 in fines issued to Stephanie Silveira, the owner of 95 Beechwood Place on Staten Island for a failing to maintain her property. A parapet wall on top of the building was in a state of disrepair, leaning inward and in danger of falling.
  • $12,500 in fines issued to 102 101st LLC, the owners of 102-17 101st Avenue in Queens after the rear exterior wall of the building was found in a state of disrepair and brick masonry at the site had partially collapsed from the building.
  • $10,000 in fines issued to 600 West 146 LLC, the owners of 600 West 146th Street in Manhattan, for failing to protect the public from the building’s unsafe façade.
  • $12,800 in fines issued to The Colonade Condominium and Maxwell Kates, Inc., the owners of 347 West 57th Street in Manhattan, for several zoning violations related to their privately owned public space. The owners were missing required signage indicating that the plaza was open to the public, a 20-foot-long illuminated marquee was installed without DOB approval or permits and metal spike strips had been installed around tree planters in the space, obstructing required seating in the plaza.
  • $4,000 in fines issued to Bel Canto Condominium Association, owner of 1991 Broadway in Manhattan for failing to have the required amenities for their privately owned public space, which was missing the required number of tables, chairs and trees.
  • $4,000 in fines issued to Vanderbilt Condo and Rose Associates, the owners of 235 East 40th Street in Manhattan for failing to have the required amenities for their privately owned public space, which was missing the required number of bike parking spaces. Also, metal spike strips had been installed around tree planters in the POPS, blocking required seating.
  • $10,000 in fines issued to construction superintendent Ilan Peleg of WCC Builders LLC for failing to perform his required duties at a job site at 851 East 217th St. in the Bronx, including failing produce the required log entry book to DOB inspectors.
  • $112,000 in fines issued to property owner Choi Kin Li for converting a legal two-family home at 1118 65th Street in Brooklyn into an illegal six-family home by constructing four additional apartments in the cellar, first floor and second floor.
  • $49,100 in fines issued to property owner Nitol Realty LLC for converting a legal two-family home at 148-52 87th Road in Queens into an illegal four-family home, by constructing two apartments in the cellar without DOB permits.
  • $48,000 in fines issued to property owner BK Properties Four LLC for converting one of the units at 142-01 41st Avenue in Queens, a six-story apartment building, into three, illegal single-room occupancies, or SROs.
  • $41,000 in fines issued to property owner Joseph Pernice, Jr. for converting a legal two-family home at 67 Sherman Avenue on Staten Island into an illegal four-family home by constructing two SROs.
  • $38,100 in fines issued to property owner Mohammed A. Alshaman for converting a legal two-family home at 143-25 84th Avenue in Queens into an illegal four-family home by constructing two apartments on the first floor and in the cellar without DOB permits.
  • $81,250 in fines issued to property owner 324 East 14 St. LLC for illegal renting an apartment at 324 East 14th Street in Manhattan on Airbnb. Violations were also issued for illegal work without a permit, and safety issues found in the apartment.
  • $27,875 in fines issued to property owner Highpoint Associates XII LLC for the illegal transient use of an apartment and several safety violations, at a 410 West 46th Street in Manhattan.
  • $25,000 in fines issued to property owner West 48 Holdings LLC for the illegal transient use of an apartment at 439 West 48th Street in Manhattan that was being rented out on Airbnb.

After taking actions such as issuing summonses and fines, the DOB was able to compel some landlords to make necessary repairs to their buildings.

Aikens Apartments HDFC and Jeffrey Dunston, owners of 676 Willoughby Avenue in Brooklyn were compelled to repair a nonfunctional elevator and restore it to safe working service. This six-story, 21-unit apartment building was previously on DOB’s Top Elevator Offender list.

DOB got 517-525 West 45 LLC and Naim Offir, owners of 521 West 45th Street in Manhattan, to repair a nonfunctional elevator and restore it to safe working service. This five-story, mixed-use loft building was previously on DOB’s Top Elevator Offender list.

The department was able to pressured Zamzam Realty Inc. and Muhammad Shahid, owners of 260 Lenox Avenue in Manhattan, to repair the building’s façade and remove a long-standing sidewalk shed.

DOB actions led to the dismantling of three illegal and unpermitted monopole advertising signs in the Bronx that were located within 200 feet of arterial highways, including Bruckner Boulevard, Exterior Street and East 138th Street.

Other illegal advertising actions included:

  • $80,000 in fines issued to Hylan New Dorp Realty LLC and Lamar Advertising of Penn LLC for two illegal outdoor signs at 2506 Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island.
  • $65,000 in fines issued to Lee 8th Avenue Realty LLC for four illegal outdoor signs at 6009 8th Avenue in Brooklyn.
  • $2,500 in fines issued to Modell’s Sporting Goods Inc. for two illegal outdoor ads displayed at 280 Broadway in Manhattan. The signs have since been removed.

The DOB also reprimanded to several service professionals last month.

  • Audits of the professionally certified applications submitted by engineers Mohammad Alauddin and Wayne Clarke showed that their applications contained multiple code violations. After this discovery, Clarke and Alauddin surrendered their Professional Certification and Directive 14 privileges.
  • $5,000 in fines was issued to contractor JN Construction Inc. for advertising services in the city while falsely claiming they had a DOB-issued Master Plumber’s license. The ads have since been removed.
  • $5,000 in fines and a probationary period of one year were issued to Master Electrician Adam Kopp for failing to pay prevailing wages to his employees.
  • $3,500 in fines and a probationary period of 18 months were issued to Master Electrician Bill LeComples for allowing non-employees to perform electrical work and for failing to have a required sign at his shop.
  • A one-year license suspension was issued to Hoist Machine Operator Delroy Danvers for operating a crane that was set up contrary to DOB approved plans, operating a crane with a damaged cable, failing to maintain proper daily and monthly logs for the crane, and for failing to cooperate with Department personnel.
  • The DOB revoked the license of Fire Suppression Contactor Everton Howell after he failed to cooperate with an investigation and was found to be skirted laws and rules by not appearing for scheduled interviews and for failing to have an established place of business in New York City.
  • The Department accepted the voluntary surrender of a construction superintendent registration from Alexander Kogan after he was convicted of filing false reports to the Department of Environmental Protection.

The DOB padlocked the following residential properties because they being used for illegal purposes and their owners ignored letters asking that the sites be returned to their lawful states.

  • 104-10 Rockaway Boulevard in Queens, which was being used for commercial vehicle storage.
  • 138-02 106th Avenue in Queens, which was being used for commercial vehicle and junk storage. DOB had ordered the property to be reverted back to its legal condition.
  • 278 Essex Street in Brooklyn, which was being used for commercial vehicle and junk storage

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