No sidewalk shed violation at stopped job

35-03 Leavitt Street, Queens. Image: Google Maps.

Buildings cited unsafe conditions at inactive construction site and served construction supervisor. Dennis Chen, the construction superintendent of a construction project located at 35-03 Leavitt Street, Queens, was responsible for safety on the construction site.  In 2014, the project stalled because of inaccurate design calculations. On March 23, 2016, the Department of Buildings served construction superintendent Chen with three summonses relating to hazardous conditions at the construction site. The issuing officer observed a hazardous gap between the sidewalk shed and the fence where construction debris could fall off the construction site and endanger pedestrians on the sidewalk. At the time of the inspection, the construction site was inactive.

The Hearing Officer sustained the summons and fined Chen $4,800. Chen appealed.

The Appeals Board reversed, ruled in favor of Chen, and dismissed the summonses. The Appeals Board ruled that a construction superintendent was not responsible for the conditions of a sidewalk shed on a stalled job site where no active work was being performed. The Board ruled that the Building Code did not impose any responsibilities on the construction superintendent where active construction had ceased. The Board also rejected Building’s contentions that Chen was required to notify Buildings of his withdrawal from the job to avoid responsibility.

City of New York v. Dennis Chen, OATH Appeal No. 1700574 (Feb. 17, 2017).  CityADMIN

By: Aaron Ladds (Aaron is a student at New York Law School, Class of 2019)

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