Southern Brooklyn

Brighton Building Collapse: Architects Had History Of Breaking Building Regulations

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Following the building collapse in Brighton Beach on November 8, it was discovered that the architects of the buildings have a history of breaking building regulations, reports the New York Daily News.

According to city officials, Douglas Pulaski and Henry Radusky of Bricolage Architecture and Design – the firm behind the project – had to surrender some privileges in the past due to a repeated failure to follow building codes.

“They have been known by the Buildings Department for many years to operate on the fringe,” said Assemblyman James Brennan in the article, who in 2005 demanded all projects submitted by the firm to be reviewed.

Records show in 2009, Pulaski surrendered his self-certification, which is his right to certify without review that design and construction comply with codes. In 2002, Radusky surrendered his self-certification privileges for a year after inspectors found problems on 55 jobs. It’s still not clear if the two men have gained these privileges back.

In Brighton Beach, city investigators blamed the building collapse on the way concrete was poured. The standard method is to start from the bottom and work your way up, but, in this case, concrete was poured onto the third floor first. A construction industry expert in the article said pouring concrete on the tops floors first could have been a way to save more money and time.

“Professionals would never have allowed pouring concrete in this way,” an ex-official said. “In fact, skilled union workers would not do it. Not ever.”

“If you’re starting from the bottom, it takes longer to set up,” said Jerry Gargano, who delivered 67 cubic yards of concrete to the site.

Five workers were injured when the building collapsed. One of the men that was trapped, Ivan Lendel, 54, passed away from a heart attack at Coney Island Hospital.

“When I woke up, I saw all the metal beams. Everything was on top of me,” said Oleksandr Kushch, 26, one of the survivors, in a New York Daily News article. “I started digging myself out. I don’t know how I got out … I have two small children. I had to get out.”

Kushch is still recovering from injuries at his home in the Kensington section of Brooklyn.

The city has issued nine violations to the contractor SP&K Construction thus far, but more are expected to come. Moreover, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating.

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