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Breaking News, New York, United States 
Thursday 03 Sep 2009
 
Safety concerns for 82 New York buildings 
 
Concrete foundations at 1 World Trade Center, © Joe Woodhead, 2009 
 
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Editorial

Concrete safety concerns call for re-testing of buildings including 1 World Trade Center 

Robert LiMandri, New York's Buildings Commissioner has announced that concrete tests are to be carried out on 82 New York buildings following safety concerns arising from the indictment of Testwell Laboratories in January and a further firm in July. Testwell were accused of falsifying concrete mix design reports for the high profile Freedom Tower project (now 1 World Trade Center), Yankees Stadium, Jet Blue Terminal and a number of other projects and had their license suspended. Stallone Testing Laboratories were also indicted for falsifying concrete mix design reports in July.

The indictment of Testwell led to a lack of confidence in the safety of over 100 buildings in New York. Following investigations 82 buildings are to be re-examined. The investigations come as part of an announcement by LiMandri of a new comprehensive program to increase the oversight and evaluation of concrete testing at construction projects throughout the City, including projects funded by the City and private developers. The program includes plans to build a city-owned and operated concrete-testing laboratory and the creation of a new Concrete Unit at the DOB.

The new City laboratory, which will be operated by the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and is expected to open as early as January, will offer testing services to all City agencies responsible for construction projects. New York City has 35 private concrete-testing firms currently licensed to do business in the City and the new facility will also make it possible to audit these firms.

"Concrete testing is a critical component of concrete operations, and the results should affirm the strength and quality of materials used for a building under construction,” said LiMandri. “However, the integrity of concrete-testing practices has come into serious question, and this new laboratory, as well as a new Concrete Unit and re-testing protocol, are three significant measures to ensure concrete testing procedures are lawful and the concrete used meets a project’s specific design requirements."

DOB denied Testwell’s application to renew its concrete-testing license but a state Supreme Court judge rejected DOB’s denial of the license renewal. DOB is now appealing that decision. Last Friday, DOB revoked Stallone’s concrete-testing license, prohibiting them from testing concrete in the City. The Department Of Buildings is currently working with property owners named in the Stallone indictment to determine whether a project’s final test results meet the structural design requirements. If they do not, the affected property owners will also be required to follow the re-testing protocol.

“New Yorkers must be confident the City's buildings have been built to exacting standards and that the concrete, not usually visible, was mixed to proper construction specifications," added Design and Construction Commissioner Burney.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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