NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Department of Buildings is revising the rules for façade inspections after a woman was killed by falling debris earlier this month.
It was Dec. 17 when Erica Tishman became the victim of every New Yorker’s worst nightmare. The 60-year-old architect was walking down the street near Times Square when debris from a building façade came crashing down from above. She was killed.READ MORE: New York City Rolls Out $100 Incentive For Getting Vaccinated As CDC Report Warns Delta Variant As Contagious As Chicken Pox
That incident has prompted the DOB to expedite rule changes to strengthen the inspection process for building façades, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reports.
The proposed changes include making inspectors get more up-close and hands-on for routine checks of buildings over six stories, meaning inspectors would be touching building façades instead of looking through zoom lenses from afar.
Dozens of residents, architects and building owners appeared before a DOB public hearing on the issue Monday.
Some say those up-close inspections mean more scaffolding and that means higher costs.
“It’s too high a price. There has to be a more effective way to keep the building safe,” co-op board member Ed Yaker said.
But others say after that tragic incident near Times Square, the DOB has to put safety first.READ MORE: Broadway Vaccine Mandate: Audiences Must Be Vaccinated And Masked; Performers, Crew And Staff Required To Be Vaccinated
“Do it right. Listen. Don’t make up your mind before you hear the folks,” co-op owner Elizabeth Weiner said.
Out on the street, New Yorkers who spoke to CBS2 were also split.
“It would be terrible if all of Manhattan had all these protections all over because then you miss the beautiful architecture here,” Lisa Fiumano, of Staten Island, said.
“If that’s going to protect the public, the safety, they should do it,” Long Island resident Julio Narvaez said.
The proposed rule changes could also mean steeper fines for building owners who fail to correct unsafe conditions.
CBS2 has been told the DOB commissioner will make a decision on the proposed rule changes soon, possibly as early as January. The DOB has also doubled the department’s existing façade inspection team, hiring 12 new inspectors.MORE NEWS: Man Suffers Broken Nose In Alleged Anti-Asian Attack At Midtown Subway Station
Some city officials have also backed a plan to allow drone inspections of building façades in the city to help inspectors get a better look at buildings from the air.