The Bloomberg administration has augmented the Dept. of Buildings' budget by $5 million next year in order to hire an additional 63 building inspectors. It will bring the total number of inspectors to 461, versus 277 in 2002. The move comes on the heels of publicized events of fatal mishaps.
Patricia Lancaster resigned last month as commissioner. Though she was brought in to streamline the notoriously inept and corrupt department, her leadership was questioned after more construction workers died in the first four months of 2008 than in all of 2007. After the Midtown crane collapse which left seven construction workers and one civilian dead, Lancaster admitted approval for the buildings construction never should have even been issued, and a crane inspector quit after admitting faking a report certifying that everything was A-OK at the site. In March, a vacant building in Harlem completely collapsed and the DOB admitted it knew the building was an imminent danger but failed to follow up on securing the building or protecting the public.
Over the weekend, sheet metal plunged from the under-construction Goldman Sachs headquarters, into an outfield where Little Leaguers were playing baseball. And a steel disc was dropped from the under-dismantling Deutsche Bank Building, which has been been a literal death trap since the 9/11 attacks.