Hoist contractor fined $1,000

Hoist at former Deutsche Bank building had broken door and brake. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation hired Regional Scaffolding and Hoisting Co. and Safeway Environmental Corp. to assemble exterior scaffolding on the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street in Manhattan. Aside from the scaffolding, the joint venture was also hired to install a hoist for personnel and material. Lower Manhattan Development hired Bovis to deconstruct the building after the joint venture completed its work, and Bovis agreed to assume responsibility for the maintenance of the hoist once Bovis accepted the joint venture’s work. After the work was completed, an officer from Buildings observed a defective car door and machine brake on the hoist, and issued Regional a notice of violation for failing to maintain the hoist in a safe manner.

At a hearing, Regional argued that it could not be found liable for the violation because Lower Manhattan Development was the owner of the premises and that the joint venture, not Regional, contracted to install the hoist. Regional claimed that the maintenance responsibility for the hoist had already transferred to Bovis at the time of the NOV. Buildings countered that Regional was a proper party because it was the applicant of record for the hoist installation permit. The ALJ agreed with Regional and dismissed the NOV, finding that Lower Manhattan Development was the owner of the premises.

The Environmental Control Board reversed the ALJ and imposed a $1,000 penalty. The Board found that the Construction Codes’ definition of “owner” was not limited to the land owner and included any entity that had control over the land or improvements thereon. Buildings proved that Regional, as the permit holder, had initial control over the hoist, which was part of the premises. Furthermore, since Regional was still responsible for hoist alterations, cleaning, dismantling, and removal, it had retained enough control over the hoist to be considered a properly named party on the NOV.

NYC v. Regional Scaffolding and Hoisting Co., Inc., ECB Appeal No. 0900082 (Aug. 13, 2009). CITYADMIN

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