Engineers battle NYC mayor over building commissioner position

The mayor wants to drop the requirement in the City Charter that only a registered architect or licensed engineer can hold the position, according to the New York Times. By doing so, Mayor Bloomberg hopes to deepen the pool of commissioner candidates.

06/19/2008


Engineers and architects are fighting Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to downgrade the qualification requirements for the city’s building commissioner: The mayor wants to drop the requirement in the City Charter that only a registered architect or licensed engineer can hold the position, according to the New York Times.

 

The mayor, with the support of City Council speaker Christine C. Quinn, seeks to deepen the pool and managerial talent of candidates for the position, which has been vacant since

Patricia Lancaster, an architect, resigned last month

.

 

However, professional societies of architects and engineers, and the New York Building Congress, said only a technical expert is capable of running a department that handles a range of responsibilities, which include enforcing safety laws, building codes, and zoning regulations; and curbing fatal construction accidents at a time when New York is struggling to keep pace with a building boom.

 

"I'm tremendously concerned about construction site safety,” said John F. Hennessy III, chairman of the American Council of Engineering Companies, “but I’m also concerned about the long-term safety of buildings. Materials, products and building systems approved today have to last for the next 40 years.”

 

Under the mayor’s proposal, the commissioner would not have to be an architect or engineer as long as the first deputy is.

 

Architects and engineers have testified, petitioned and lobbied against the idea. If the measure is approved, Robert P. Stelianou, president of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers, said his group will sue.

 

Behind the debate stirs a city agency desperately trying to add inspectors as accidents mount. Its chief crane inspector was arrested on charges of taking bribes . Deaths from construction-related accidents have climbed to 15 this year, up from 13 in all of 2007.

 

The mayor has gained some support for his effort within the Council, the State Legislature, and the construction industry.

 

Quinn said the department should be “led by people who are both good managers and have the technical training and expertise to oversee and understand all of what falls within Buildings’ purview.”





No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
40 Under 40; Performance-based design; Clean agent fire suppression; NFPA 92; Future of commissioning; Successful project management principles
BIM coordination; MEP projects; NFPA 13; Data center Q&A; Networked lighting controls; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
Emergency lighting; NFPA 3 and 4; Integrated building systems; Smart lighting, HVAC design
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing Arc Flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me