MARCH 04, 2021 | By BILL MORRIS
The sweeps are part of the ongoing tightening of DOB rules and fines following a recent string of fatal accidents. Last summer, the collapse of a suspended scaffold rig at an 11-story Murray Hill building left one worker dead and three hospitalized. A sidewalk shed prevented debris from injuring any pedestrians. In December 2019, a piece of debris from a 17-story building near Times Square broke off and tumbled to the street, hitting a pedestrian in the head and killing her instantly. The building had recently been fined by the city for its unsafe facade. The city’s facade inspection program was born in 1980, the year after a 17-year-old Barnard College student named Grace Gold was killed by a piece of falling masonry near the corner of Broadway and 115th Street.
The DOB has recently made substantial changes to strengthen FISP, including doubling the size of its facade-inspection unit, requiring more hands-on inspections of buildings over six stories tall, increasing the frequency of DOB follow-up inspections of known unsafe facades, and greatly increasing penalties to building owners for non-compliance. (cont. below)