City Imposes Two-Year Facade Inspecting Ban for Engineer Following December Partial Building Collapse in the Bronx

The corner of 1915 Billingsley Terrace collapsed in December 2023. The City has agreed to a two-year ban for the engineer responsible for inspecting the building’s facade. Image Credit: Benny Polatseck | Mayoral Photography Office

On February 22, 2024, Mayor Eric Adams and the Department of Buildings announced an agreement for a two-year suspension for a professional engineer to conduct facade inspections following the December 2023 partial collapse of 1915 Billingsley Terrace in the Bronx. Several families lost their apartments, although there fortunately were no fatalities or serious injuries.

The engineer, Richard Koenigsberg, had been temporarily suspended from conducting facade inspections following the collapse and pending further enforcement actions. Before the building’s collapse, Koenigsberg was contracted as a professional engineer by the building owners for the required facade inspections and repairs under Local Law 11. Koenigsberg misdiagnosed a load-bearing column in the building’s northeast corner as non-load-bearing in his engineering drawings. Now, in a legally binding agreement, Koenigsberg agreed to a two-year suspension for conducting facade inspections and a $10,000 fine instead of a formal disciplinary hearing from the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. 

Koenigsberg will be required to wind down any ongoing work over four months, but any facade inspection reports for ongoing jobs must undergo peer review by a third-party engineering firm before they can be submitted to the Department of Buildings. Once submitted, those reports will be reviewed by senior Buildings engineers. Buildings has completed audits of 368 facade inspection reports

Investigations into contributing factors for the collapse are ongoing by the Department of Buildings, the Department of Investigation, and the Bronx District Attorney. 

Mayor Adams stated, “Public safety is our administration’s top priority, and the signing of today’s agreement should serve as a reminder to all construction professionals about the importance of carrying out their duties professionally, competently, and, most importantly, safely. I would like to thank Commissioner Oddo and his team at DOB for their quick and tireless work to hold Mr. Koenigsberg accountable following this incredibly dangerous collapse, and for helping to get the displaced families back into their homes safely.”

Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Oddo stated, “Public safety in our city relies heavily on the competence and expertise of state-licensed private engineers, especially their ability to properly diagnose building conditions. When a private engineer fails to demonstrate this competency, our construction professional disciplinary team will not hesitate to take quick action to curtail their ability to work in our city. Decisive actions, like the one announced today against Mr. Koenigsberg, send a clear message to the industry that we will not tolerate sloppy work that puts our fellow New Yorkers in danger. Since the collapse occurred, our enforcement team has worked tirelessly — investigating all of the factors that could have contributed to the collapse, completing numerous field inspection sweeps of other properties across the city associated with the responsible parties at this building, and pushing the landlords to make needed repairs to 1915 Billingsley Terrace to get displaced families back into their homes both safely and as quickly as possible.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the Editor of CityLand and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)




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