The Esplanade, the senior home on 74th street and West End Avenue where a toddler was hit and killed by a falling piece of the facade earlier this year, was not properly inspected, even after a consultant warned the Buildings Department it wasn’t safe, according to a report from the city’s Department of Investigation. An engineer hired by the building said the building was safe despite never going there to inspect it, the DOI alleged. The engineer, Maqsood Faruqi, was arrested Tuesday.
Other problems abounded, according to a report in the Daily News. The DOI found that building employees did not report that parts of the facade had previously fallen down.
And a warning from a consultant 7 months before the toddler was killed went unheeded by the Department of Buildings.
In October 2014, seven months before the death of the 2-year-old, a consultant was inspecting a building next door when he noticed serious problems with The Esplanade’s brick façade.
He took a photograph of an obvious crack in the façade and emailed it to the head of the buildings department’s façade unit. He warned DOB to “get someone over pretty quick on this.”
The consultant received an “out-of-office” reply from the top official, so he tried again with a top DOB architect. The architect acknowledged receiving his emailed warning.
DOI found that the architect then forwarded the warning to a supervising inspector, asking “Can we inspect?”
It appears that this inspector never opened the email and the top DOB architect never circled back to follow up. Ultimately no inspector was sent to the site.
Read all the details in the Daily News report.
Infuriating and so sad.
So who’s city ass do we burn, tar and feather and prosecute over their failures. Good bless this precious child and his family. The city offiials well, go to hell !!!
The city issued warnings which were ignored; the building is ultimately responsible.
They all deserve to go to prison. I walk by that building all the time and I can’t stop thinking about the poor baby who died and her family. RIP sweet girl and the rest could rot in hell.
Can the inspector be sued for negligence? Or the city?
It seems that there needs to be accountability for inaction.
Meanwhile the city NEVER fails to follow up on parking tickets and made up sanitation tickets.
Maybe instead of paying for “inspectors” to put A, B, C ratings on restaurants… (and prob take bribes), that money could be used to actually inspect something that needs inspecting. Like facades, like 100 year old gas lines, like illegal gas connections in basement, etc, etc etc.
Is this the same government bureaucracy that we are relying on to stop terrorists on our planes and in our city?? I assume so, and that makes me shudder….
well said and sadly true
The building was warned several times by the ‘government bureaucracy’. That is all they can do. Whatever happened to individual responsibility?
The building’s engineer has been charged – the ‘government bureaucracy’ worked.
I believe that is not all the City can do. I have heard of the City intervening in critical situations and hiring someone to fix the problem and charging the owner/landlord. Seemingly no one took this warning seriously enough. Many are culpable here, especially the City for not acting more aggressively. Meanwhile the City and landlord’s negligence cost a beautiful young child her life and her family and loved ones unbelievable grief, while the community was burdened with an extra dose of sorrow and insecurity. All should have to take responsibility for this and pay the price.
Over the past two decades, the City of NY, in particular the Dept. of Buildings, began the practice of letting professionals (Architects and Engineers) ‘Self-Certify’ their own work.
In brief, the professional certifies that the individual performed or carried out the work involved. The problem with this practice is that the City does not investigate, examine, or check to see if the actual work was performed. In allowing for self certification, the City relieves itself from any liability, which is not fair to the general public – tax paying public. This has become a growing concern, especially in gas line work (remember the building explosion this past March in LES, wherein the plumber certified that he performed the gas line connection in accordance to code. In reality, he performed an illegal gas line tap. DOB relied on the plumber’s ‘self certification’ and did not check to see if this was indeed the case).
The City has the responsibility of protecting the public. In other typical scenarios where the building or professional fails to act, the city typically has its contractor erect scaffolding (sidewalk bridge) to protect the pedestrians (they have an open work order contract for such emergencies).
The city should go back to having its own employees performing the inspections or at a minimum, add more people to their staff so they can spot check these ‘self certifications’ being submitted.
The City (and building) are on the hook for this unnecessary death.
Hmm so this was actually a case then of budget-squeezed city departments outsourcing their core duties. So not enough government bureaucracy. But dont expect the free market fundamentalists who frequent these pages to allow their delicate bubble to burst.
@AC As a licensed engineer in New York I must reply to your post. The condition at this building is not the result of a shoddy installation that was certified by an engineer, it is the neglect of a building to maintain its brickwork. Every building over time needs to address settlements or repointing. I can not speak for all engineers, but in general we have worked through many years of education and testing to acquire our licenses and as a common thread I have yet to meet an architect or engineer that does not take seriously the liability of putting our stamp on a document.
Keith, I believe you’re not familiar with the incident. I’m not talking about local law 11 or Continuing Education credits.
In this particular incident, an engineer falsely certified that he performed an inspection, when he didn’t. The city accepted his ‘self certification’ (he stamped his report, when in reality he never performed an inspection to begin with)
The family is still absolutely devastated.
This is an example where individual dishonesty and lack of responsibility led to tragic consequences. We do not always remember that our individual decisions can have real effects on the world – lying about whether you did what you said you did doesn’t lead to disaster most of the time. Until it does, and a child is killed and a family is devastated. Honor and honesty in everyday life are critical to the functioning of a civil society.