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Building Collapse That Killed One and Injured Four Was the Result of Contractor Negligence, Engineer Says.

A construction accident that killed one worker and injured four others could have been prevented if the contractor had followed pre-established safety procedures and waited for the engineer in charge of safety to be on site before pouring concrete.

From the Local 157 Blogspot:

Engineer Steve Schneider, who was responsible for certifying the safety of concrete work at the doomed site, told the Daily News he was not on-site to inspect the setup when the concrete was poured.

City officials believe the contractor’s decision to pour concrete from the top floors down may have caused the half-built condo to collapse, killing one worker and injuring four others.

Schneider said the contractor, SP&K Construction, didn’t notify him that the concrete pour was about to begin.

“I didn’t have any idea what stage they were at,” Schneider said. “The last time I was there was when they poured the foundation about 3 ½ weeks before.

“I would not have approved it,” Schneider said of Tuesday’s job at Brighton Fifth St. in Brighton Beach.

By not following procedure, the contractor put five of his workers in harm’s way, leading to the aforementioned fatality. Schneider noted that besides the notable safety violations, the contractor wasn’t using proper materials either.

Schneider said the contractors “used materials that did not conform to approve plans” and bumbled through procedures that “were not even vaguely correct.”

Floor decking was made of a lighter gauge steel than called for and may not have been strong enough to support the concrete, Schneider said.

Also, joists supporting the decking were loosely attached with nails and clamps instead of being welded or fastened with special screws, he said.

“The plans were approved by the Buildings Department,” Schneider said. “If they had followed the plans, followed the directions, there wouldn’t have been a problem.”

People familiar with the investigation have noted that a pump used to pour the concrete may have been faulty, to boot.

Because it shakes violently during the pour, workers lashed the pump to the building to stabilize it. That caused disastrous vibrations that may have helped trigger the tragedy, they said.

The condo’s steel skeleton collapsed with a roar, sending firefighters racing to the scene. The Bravest freed the trapped hardhats using blowtorches and pry bars.

Safety inspection procedures exist for obvious reasons and those contractors who decide to ignore their obligation to workers end up with tragic blemishes on their record. Our prayers go out to the family of the deceased, our hopes to those in recovery.


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