Report Highlights DOB Enforcement Outcomes from June 2020 to Deter Bad Actors and Keep New Yorkers Safe
NEW YORK____ New York City Department of Buildings released its June 2020 enforcement bulletin, which provides highlights of the agency’s actions to sanction and deter bad actors in the construction industry through the enforcement of safety laws and codes of conduct for construction professionals. Today’s bulletin includes summaries of DOB-imposed disciplinary actions, including penalties and license suspensions and revocations.
The actions below represent a portion of DOB’s overall work to enforce the City’s building codes and safety laws, in addition to the thousands of inspections conducted and violations issued by the agency each month for illegal building and construction conditions.
DOB took a number of major enforcement actions in June, including:
- Seven violations and $84,000 in penalties, including daily penalties, issued for illegal building alterations at two separate locations.
- 11 violations and $125,000 in penalties issued for failure to safeguard construction sites on 10 separate occasions.
- Six violations and $60,000 in penalties issued to six different individuals for failure to carry out duties of construction superintendents.
- Three violations and $55,000 in penalties, including daily penalties, for illegal transient use at one location.
Below are individual enforcement highlights for June 2020:
- $25,000 in penalties issued to General Contractor Record 13 Construction Co., for failure to safeguard a work site at 205 Freeman Street, Brooklyn, after failing to check the pounds per square inch (psi) of a pipe resulting in the dislodging of a water main that flooded two properties reaching 24 inches of water and creating an electrocution risk.
- $5,000 in penalties issued to Safety Registrant Brooklyn B Company Group for failure to hold a safety orientation program for all workers at the job site located at 375 Grove Street, Brooklyn.
- $10,000 in penalties issued to Safety Registrant Mega Contracting GP LLC after a DOB inspection of the construction site at 1921 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, found inadequate safety measures including unsafe use of hoisting equipment and inappropriate use of a forklift to hoist steel plates.
- $5,000 in penalties issued to Jacobs Development Corp., after DOB inspectors found workers demolishing a 10 feet high concrete masonry unit wall in the rear of the property without a DOB permit at a construction site at 1104 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn.
- $11,250 in total penalties issued to property owner Deacon Stella for multiple violations at 4024 6th Avenue, Brooklyn. At that location, DOB inspectors observed illegal work completed without permits including an installed gas valve with two flex hoses and a flex hose running through a wall into a back apartment. Violations were also issued for failure to inspect, certify, and test the gas line before use.
- $1,250 in penalties issued to Weinreb Management for failure to post or distribute a Tenant Protection Plan at 455 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, a 15-story occupied residential building.
- $2,500 in total penalties issued to property owner Turner Towers Tenant, Co. for multiple violations at an apartment building at 135 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, including failure to post or distribute a Tenant Protection Plan and failure to post the Safe Construction Bill of Rights while active construction was ongoing in the building.
- $17,500 in total penalties issued to General Contractor Blackstone Contractors LLC for multiple violations at a construction site at 525 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, including erecting a construction fence not according to code, not keeping their site safety plan on site, failure to notify DOB prior to commencement of earthwork, and not having a Construction Superintendent or competent person on site at the time of the inspection.
$10,000 in penalties issued to Tracking Number Holder Ecosystem Energy Services for failure to hold a pre-shift meeting at a construction site located at 251 Avenue C, Manhattan, where work was in progress.
- $10,000 in penalties issued to Site Safety Manager Madhu Luther, Star Safety Consulting, for failure to be on site or have a designated competent person on site, as required, after DOB inspectors found ongoing work taking place at 220 5th Avenue, Manhattan.
- $10,000 in penalties issued to General Contractor Daily Maintenance LLC for failure to safeguard the work site at 145 West 129th Street, Manhattan, after a DOB inspection revealed unsecured guardrails on the roof and many tripping hazards, creating a danger to workers and pedestrians.
- $6,250 in penalties issued to property owner 1460 Second Realty after DOB inspectors found cracks in the façade of 1460 2nd Avenue, Manhattan, that were posing a substantial risk of serious injury to the public.
- $1,250 in penalties issued to Management LLC/80 Ft. Washington LLC for failure to maintain the exterior walls at 615 West 162nd Street, Manhattan, after DOB inspectors found defective mortar and spalling brick work at the rear of the building.
- $8,750 in total penalties issued to property owner 54 Eldridge ST. Corp., for multiple work without a permit violations, and a failure to maintain the apartment building at 54 Eldridge Street, Manhattan. A DOB inspection of a fourth floor apartment in the building found an electric hot water heater and copper pipes had been installed without a permit and had not been not tested or inspected prior to use, a lack of adequate ventilation, and electrical wires running through a hole in the wall.
- 142 Fifth Ave Owners Corp was issued a violation for displaying an outdoor advertising sign along the first-floor windows without a permit at 1 West 19th Street, Manhattan. The sign was removed prior to the scheduled OATH hearing, and a $5,000 penalty was imposed on the property owner.
- $17,400 in total penalties issued to Tracking Number Holder Ka Home Improvement for multiple violations at a construction site at 130-05 101st Avenue, Queens. DOB inspectors on site found no roof protection for the adjoining property, a failure to safeguard the site, missing guardrails, steel beams illegally being stored on a sidewalk bridge, and two workers on site that did not have the required 30 hours of Site Safety Training.
- $10,000 in penalties issued to Construction Superintendent Isaac Gombo, Best Enterprise for failure to perform his required duties, and for unsafe conditions found at a construction site at 92-32 Union Hall Street, Queens.
- $10,000 in total penalties issued to General Contractor Singla Concepts Inc. for performing work with an expired license at 152-09 136 Avenue and 152-11 136 Avenue, Queens.
- $6,250 in penalties issued to property owner Plaza Homes LLC for missing and defective bricks at various areas on the side and rear of the building’s façade at 105-13 177th Street, Queens.
- The owner of 106-25 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, Queens, was cited for illegally using the property for dead vehicle storage and a contractor’s yard. Prior to a scheduled hearing at OATH, the owner submitted evidence that the illegal use had been discontinued. The premises were monitored for compliance and an inspection confirmed that the illegal use was discontinued.
Construction and Design Professionals
- Following an audit of 14 professionally certified applications submitted by Registered Architect Minsoo Hyun, the Department found major code non-compliances, including proposing changes in use, egress and/or occupancy under Alteration Type 2 applications which requires Alteration Type 1 applications for a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy; proposing non-compliance with zoning yard regulations; inadequate egress issues; failure to provide an automatic sprinkler system; failure to provide a range hood and exhaust system; proposing a use not allowed as-of-right in the zoning district; proposing a wood frame building in the fire district; inadequate accessibility for persons with disabilities; inadequate fire ratings; and various other violations of code and rules. Mr. Hyun agreed to a voluntary surrender of his Professional Certification and Directive 14 privileges, effective June 2, 2020.
- Following an audit of nine professionally certified applications submitted by Professional Engineer Danny Chen, the Department found major code non-compliances, including proposing changes in use, egress and/or occupancy under Alteration Type 2 applications which require Alteration Type 1 applications for a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy; inadequate egress issues; failure to provide an adequate automatic sprinkler system; violations of zoning bulk and yard regulations; inadequate accessibility for persons with disabilities; inadequate light, air, and ventilation, and room sizes contrary to the Multiple Dwelling Law; and various other violations of code and rules. Mr. Chen agreed to a voluntary surrender of his Professional Certification and Directive 14 privileges (except for Solar Applications), effective June 30, 2020.
- Following an audit of five professionally certified applications submitted by Registered Architect Michael Just, the Department found major code non-compliances, including proposing changes in use, egress and/or occupancy under Alteration Type 2 applications which require Alteration Type 1 applications for a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy; proposing a Use not allowed as-of-right in the zoning district; inadequate fire separation; inadequate fire ratings; inadequate egress issues; violations of zoning bulk and yard regulations; failure to provide an automatic sprinkler system; inadequate accessibility for persons with disabilities; inadequate light, air, and ventilation, and room sizes contrary to the Multiple Dwelling Law; and various other violations of code and rules. Mr. Just offered a voluntary surrender of his Professional Certification and Directive 14 privileges, effective June 30, 2020.
- Following an audit of a professionally certified Alteration Type 2 application submitted by Registered Architect Sigurd Lee, in which Mr. Lee certified the job did not propose change in use, egress, or occupancy, the Department found the plans proposed a change in use from a store to a physical culture establishment. Based on this audit, the Department issued an OATH Hearing summons for submitting a material false statement in an application and plans. Mr. Lee was found in violation at a hearing on June 10, 2020.
- Master Electrician Chris J. Ragavanis was disciplined for failing to adequately discharge his duties as the responsible representative of an electrical firm. Mr. Ragavanis agreed to a stipulation, paying a fine of $1,500 as well as 6-month probationary period starting on June 16, 2020. Additionally, Mr. Ragavanis was required to submit proof of compliance with the duties of a responsible representative within 90 days.