CODE BREAKERS: Faux electricians, lockdown scofflaws hit with penalties

The New York City Department of Construction published its July 2020 enforcement bulletin highlighting some of the agency’s actions to sanction and deter bad actors in the construction industry.

The following actions form part of DOB’s overall work to enforce the city’s building codes and safety laws, in addition to the thousands of inspections and violations the agency conducts each month for illegal building and construction conditions.

DOB took a number of key enforcement actions in July, including:

  • 11 violations and fines of $ 238,000, including daily fines, were imposed for illegal building changes in two different locations.
  • 12 violations and fines of $ 120,000 for failure to maintain construction sites on 12 separate occasions.
  • Six violations and fines of $ 60,000 were imposed on five different individuals for failing to perform site supervisor duties.

Below are the individual enforcement highlights for July 2020:

Brooklyn

  • A total of $ 12,500 fine to Safety Registrant Folor Inc. for failing to provide the correct size walkway shed to protect pedestrians and for failing to provide construction drawings for the walkway shed to the construction site at 557 East 31st Street, Brooklyn .
  • Penalties of $ 2,500 to general contractor New Empire Builder Corp. for failure to notify DOB prior to commencement of construction which requires a tenant protection plan at 265 4th Avenue, Brooklyn.
  • Safety registrant Americon Construction Inc. was fined $ 5,000 for failing to officially inform DOB of an incident that resulted in an injury at a construction site on 4813 9th Avenue in Brooklyn. DOB inspectors were on site on January 16, 2020 to investigate after particles fell into the eyes of a worker while installing a window earlier in the day. The violation was reported to the security registrar for failing to provide the department with an official incident report for more than a month after the incident.
  • Fines of $ 10,000 to 2158 Ocean Avenue Condominium, owner of 2158 Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn, for failing to comply with security measures after being notified of a documented unsafe facade condition and failing to build a sidewalk shed.
  • Fines of US $ 5,000 to BMIR Group LLC for continuing construction at 1255 Decatur Street, Brooklyn, despite a Stop Work Order previously issued by the department.
  • The owner of 1117 East 103 Street in Brooklyn was charged with illegally using the premises to store dead vehicles and rubbish. Prior to a hearing at OATH, a pre-hearing inspection revealed that the illegal use has ceased, so the petition notice was withdrawn. The premises are monitored for further compliance.

  • The owner of 808 Glenmore Avenue in Brooklyn was charged with illegally using the property as a contractor’s yard and for the storage of utility vehicles. After the department issued a closing order and the premises were locked, the owner applied for and received the padlock key to cease illegal use. A compliance check showed that illegal use has ceased, so the closure order has been lifted. The premises are monitored for compliance.

Bronx

Fines of $ 6,250 to Cohen Jemal Partnership, the owners of 2450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, for failing to maintain the building after department inspectors discovered that bricks had peeled off the facade and fell onto the sidewalk below and that it was additional bricks were missing over exterior wall lintels.

Manhattan

  • Total fine of $ 17,250 to Kay Waterproofing Corp., owner of the tracking number, for failing to designate a site safety manager, failing to comply with safety protocols, and failing to comply with scaffolding on a construction site at 790 West End Avenue, Manhattan.
  • $ 5,000 in fines for security registrar Gilbane Residential Const. After womenswear inspectors at a construction site at 525 West 122nd Street, Manhattan discovered a crane with an expired Certificate of Operation (CD) for a crane type that needs to be replaced every three months.
  • In total, building supervisor Franco Caliendo was fined $ 10,000 following a women’s wear inspection that found two separate but contiguous construction sites in progress at 1516 First Avenue and 1518 First Avenue in Manhattan Demolition work took place, no site manager and no logbooks were available.
  • A total of $ 20,000 fine for site manager Joel Kahan for having no site manager, named competent person, and logbooks on site at 26 West 127th Street in Manhattan. DOB inspectors also identified many dangerous conditions, including three workers laying cement blocks without the need for safety training cards.
  • Fines of $ 10,000 have been imposed on Wallace Stratford Ctr., The owners of 135 East 57th Street, Manhattan, for a violation of public public space zoning (POPS) not permitted under the Discretionary Zoning Agreement has been properly maintained. DOB inspectors found that the room was locked with scaffolding, fences and nets, even though they did not have any actively issued work permits for facade work at the time of the inspection.
  • A total of $ 3,050 was fined to 460 Seventh Ave Associates LLC, the owners of 204 West 25th Street, Manhattan, after our inspectors observed improper construction that violated the legal use of the third floor as opposed to being zoned into an adult physical culture facility transformed. A violation was also imposed for the illegal occupancy of the third floor.

Queens

  • Fines of $ 10,000 to Construction Superintendent Ziad Ekwaneen AA Building & Inspection for failing to perform a Construction Superintendent’s duties, missing guard rails, missing handrails, missing fall protection, and missing a pre-shift meeting at the construction site at 80 a.m. 15 188th Street, Queens.
  • General contractor US One Construction Inc. was fined $ 10,000 for failing to provide a sidewalk shed on a construction site on 154-19 Northern Boulevard in Queens.
  • Lin Bao was fined $ 4,800 for mistakenly portraying himself as a licensed electrician on a construction site at 435 Beach 43rd Street, Queens. The respondent had business cards advertising his services as a licensed electrician.
  • Rafael Iskhakov was fined $ 5,000 for failing to comply with the governor’s executive order that halted all non-essential construction in NYC after DOB inspectors discovered four workers working on the exterior of a one-story building at 144 Coolidge Avenue -22 performed in Queens.
  • The owner of 51-59 Gorsline Street, Queens, has been charged with illegally using the premises as the contractor’s permanent establishment and metal workshop. Prior to a hearing at OATH, the owner presented evidence that the illegal use had ceased, so the petition notice was withdrawn. A pre-hearing inspection confirmed that the contractor’s office has closed. The premises are monitored for further compliance.

  • The owner of 27-02 Humphrey Street in Queens has been charged with illegally using the property as a contractor’s yard and for the storage of utility vehicles. Prior to a hearing at OATH, the owner sent evidence that the illegal use had ceased, so the petition notice was withdrawn. A pre-hearing inspection confirmed that the use of the property as the contractor’s branch office has ceased. The premises are monitored for further compliance.

Staten Island

  • James Bing, trustee, the owner of 48 Crescent Avenue on Staten Island, was fined $ 6,250 for failure to maintain the building and stucco falling to the ground in front of a daycare lot.

Construction and design professionals

  • After reviewing five professionally certified applications submitted by professional engineer Kenneth Chen, the department found that the code among the type 2 change requests for which a type 1 change request for a new or a type 1 change request is required, serious violations of the code has changed occupancy certificate; insufficient exit problems; insufficient fire protection materials and fire separation; insufficient accessibility for people with disabilities; insufficient light, air, ventilation and room sizes; Obstruction of the fire brigade’s access to the roof; and various other code and rule violations. Mr. Chen consented to a voluntary handover of Professional Certification Privileges and Policy 14 effective July 31, 2020.
  • Fire-fighting contractor Jonathan Grushinsky was disciplined for using the name “plumbing” on his company’s behalf to fight fires in violation of NYC Code of Administration. Mr. Grushinsky agreed to a provision, paid a $ 1,500 fine, changed his company name to comply with administrative law, and had his license suspended for a period of 6 months from July 13, 2020.
  • Special Rigger Selaudin Sela was disciplined for presenting a false insurance certificate to the department and failing to inform the department that his insurance has expired and new insurance has not been taken out. Mr. Sela agreed to pay a fine of $ 10,000 and suspend his license for 9 months, followed by a 90 day trial period effective July 24, 2020.
  • General contractor Gac Haxhari was disciplined for having received a large number of OATH subpoenas and owed a significant amount of fines. Mr. Haxhari agreed to a voluntary handover of his GC registration after a settlement phase with effect from July 6, 2020.

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Code Breakers DEPARTMENT OF BUILDING UPPER FORCEMENT ACTION

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