Falling bricks. Rickety scaffolding. An errant nail and an unsuspecting foot. Things can go wrong during renovation and restoration projects no matter what the size and scale of the work at hand. Whether the job is tackling a new façade on a high-rise or putting new shingles on a townhome, anything can happen. That’s why state and local governments put so much effort and energy into ensuring the safety of passers-by and why co-op and condo managers turn eagle-eyed and protective of their residents when large projects loom.
When it comes to ensuring resident safety, the keys are inevitably cooperation, communication and planning. Staying ahead of the curve and taking all necessary precautions can save a lot of headaches—and potential pain—down the road, both of which are good news to shareholders, unit owners and management alike.
The Safety Net
Over the years, as New York and New Jersey have grown and residential buildings and communities have expanded, state and local governmental entities have worked hard to keep pace. In New York, the Buildings Department bears responsibility for protecting the public—as well as work crews—from construction hazards. In New Jersey, it’s the state’s Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Codes and Standards that establishes and enforces building codes to protect the health and safety of residents.
With the surge in building that went on for much of the last two decades as well as the more recent incidents in the city including the tragic crane accidents earlier this year, new and increased efforts have been put into play to enhance and update safety protocols. According to a DOB press release issued just this past May, the New York City mayor’s office announced that $5.3 million was being added to the department’s budget, enabling it to launch a new construction monitoring program and increase its staff of building inspectors from 277 to 461. The announcement followed the city’s earlier pledge to spend $4 million to perform a comprehensive analysis of high-risk construction activities.
“The Buildings Department has a critical responsibility to protect the public from construction hazards and to protect the lives and guard the safety of the city’s more than 125,000 construction workers,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in the release. "Today, we are furthering this mission by investing resources in making sure that the city's diverse and talented construction industry takes responsibility for worker and public safety at construction sites throughout the five boroughs-from high-rise construction to single-family homes ...we [must] devote sufficient resources to aggressively enforce site safety."