President of the Queens chapter of the AIA, Alan Weinstein, told WAN he received a report that New York council member, Erik Martin Dilan put forward a proposal for changes on behalf of the Mayor today and the official position was the Queens AIA response. A similar document is awaiting the final signatures from the balance of affected organisations in the city and this is due to be released tomorrow.
Weinstein is convinced that the proposed changes, which would mean that the new Buildings Commissioner for New York need not be an architect or engineer, would be in contravention to the city charter and state law and would put New York residents and construction workers in danger. The official position, which is signed by Weinstein reads:
“For the sake of public safety, the elected officials of New York City and the City Council cannot allow an individual to serve as the head of the Department of Buildings without possessing a valid NYS issued license to practice Architecture or Engineering… It is incumbent upon our elected officials to preserve this minimum standard and guarantee the current requirement as outlined in the City Charter and State Law. If any change is sought then it should be to include a license requirement for an acting or interim DOB Commissioner.”
The position states this legislation is already being contravened by the temporary appointment of Robert Limandri , who was Patricia Lancaster’s deputy, as Buildings Commissioner:
“The recent resignation of Patricia Lancaster, RA, has placed the Department of Buildings under the appointed leadership of one, whom although we respect and has served well as Deputy Commissioner, does not possess the minimum qualifications as required by law to be Commissioner.”
Lancaster resigned amid a crisis in the New York Buildings Department following 13 construction-related deaths this year, in particular the death of 7 people after a crane collapsed on-site.
WAN have tried to contact Dilan, who it is claimed has put forward the proposals, but so far he is unavailable for comment.
Niki May Young