Construction Scaffolding Crashes Down on Broadway

Photo by Cecilia Barberot.

A large section of scaffolding at a construction site on Broadway and 85th Street came down on Thursday morning, though it appears to have been fully caught by the sidewalk shed below. FDNY got a call about an “unstable facade” at 11:20 a.m. at 2330 Broadway, a spokesman said.

Police said no one was injured in the incident.

The site is expected to be a new senior living residence development.

Update: The Department of Buildings told us the issue was with a “cocoon system” meant to safeguard the edge of the construction site:

  • This morning, DOB inspectors were called to the scene at 2330 Broadway to investigate reports that of a partial cocoon system collapse at the construction site.
  • 2330 Broadway is a 19-story new building project under construction, which is currently up to the 4th floor.
  • Our preliminary investigation determined that workers were jumping the work site’s cocoon system, when a large portion of the cocoon collapsed onto the sidewalk along Broadway.
    • “Cocoons” are a protective netting system meant to safeguard the leading edge around building construction sites, which are moved up the side of the building as construction progresses.
    • “Jumping” is the process of moving the cocoon system up the building, to cover new floors as they are being constructed.
  • The sidewalk shed sustained damage due to the collapse, but no part of the cocoon system fell to the street below.
  • There were no injuries reported to DOB associated with this incident.
  • DOB’s investigation into this incident is ongoing. Enforcement actions are pending the results of that investigation.

A complaint about the project made on May 21 filed with the DOB said that a crane was “swaying approximately six inches and appears that it is not adequately braced.” A DOB inspection found it was safe, however, and the compliant was listed as resolved on May 24.

Photo by Cecilia Barberot.

NEWS | 16 comments | permalink
    1. John L Young says:

      This scaffolding system is relatively new to NYC, approved only in recent years by DoB Enforcement Division Site Safety office. The system moves up as construction proceeds and replaces multiple component older methods. This failure may be a first and will lead to inspection of all similar installations in the city. Unclear if wind caused the fall or it was hit by a crane load or a faulty installation. Grateful nobody hurt, apparently, and the sidewalk bridge proved its utility.

    2. steve says:

      The DOB inspector who declared it safe 3 days ago needs to fired immediately and the construction company fined and investigated. This could have easily killed several people

      • Paul says:

        It was safe 3 days earlier. The summary makes it clear that it was being moved when the collapse occurred.

    3. Alicia Wong says:

      DOB Inspection failed to find the fault that was there!

    4. UWSer says:

      Complaint on May 21, DOB inspects and declares as safe on May 24, collapse on May 26. DOB seems wholly incompetent. Or corrupt. Or both.

    5. Josh says:

      With my failing eyesight, I read: “The Department of Buildings told us the issue was with a ‘cocoon system’ meant to safeguard the edge of the construction site”

      as RACCOON system. And thought to myself, that’s pretty amazing to rely on raccoons that way…

    6. Catherine Holmes says:

      I knew from the day that cocoon was erected it never looked safe. We live on W 85 and avoided it especially during a windy day. Fortunately no one was hurt

    7. charles says:

      Just maybe it is not incompetency but greed. DOB have been subject to bribery scandals in the pasts.

    8. your_neighbor says:

      Wow, all these conspiracy theorists blaming corruption or a cabal between the construction companies and the DOB. Sometimes an accident is just an accident. An inexperienced worker probably did something stupid. Even if this style of scaffolding system isn’t very common in NYC doesn’t mean it isn’t used all over the US and actually all over the world.
      Happily there were no injuries.

      • Rich B says:

        System has been around for years. Most likely human error at the shoes that connect the Perimeter Protection System to the slabs. These systems are safer for workers and pedestrians.

    9. Kenneth says:

      As a project manager, I interact and manage the outcome of DOB site inspections weekly. It’s my observation that they are tougher than they have ever been. They are writing up financially impactful violations regularly and issuing stop work orders (“SWO”) that take weeks to resolve without hesitation – sometimes for arguably minor issues. I’m not a fan of all their actions however they perform an important function and to state there are issues with bribery of DOB inspectors is a mischaracterization, imo.

    10. Jo Baldwin says:

      With a lot of off the books, non-union labor helping scheming developers make more money, and of course that old, oft – heard phrase “the envelope please”, ya gets what ya pays for.

      • Phoebe says:

        And when any one looks the other way, literally or “figure”atively, duck and cover, kids

      • Rick says:

        What this have to do with union and non union
        It was union company that did it so what you saying

    11. Seth G says:

      The DOB complaint was about the tower crane, which was deemed safe by the inspector. I’m no expert, but from the photos, the failed scaffolding doesn’t seem to be near or associated with the crane.

      There’s definitely some failure here, but this particular inspection doesn’t seem to be the problem. They can’t inspect the entire site for every complaint.

    12. Construction is an important sector that contributes greatly in the economic growth of a nation. The Construction Industry is an investment-led sector where government shows high interest.