With the recent focus on construction site accidents, whether inspectors are properly licensed is of great concern. Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Buildings Department recently announced stricter rules and increased fines to combat safety issues at construction sites. According to a New York Times expose, the accident rate at building sites has increased by 52% from the 2014 fiscal year (July 2013-July 2014) to the 2015 fiscal year (July 2014- July 2015). Proper licensing of inspectors and enforcement of construction site rules is essential to preventing further accidents.
A recent criminal prosecution brought to light one of the safety concerns at construction sites regarding the falsification of safety inspection reports. Richard Marini, the head of consulting company Avanti Building Consultants, was recently sentenced to one to three years in state prison for falsifying construction safety inspection reports. Mr. Marini allegedly searched through Craigslist to hire bellhops, musicians, and restaurant workers to sign off on safety logs using either their own names or forging the names of licensed safety inspectors; one of the names belonged to a deceased safety inspector. Avanti Building Consultants inspected approximately 40 sites by representing themselves as licensed inspectors, but it was later found that, in most cases, they were neither licensed nor experienced in construction safety.
According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., from 2012 to 2014, Mr. Marini represented his workers as site managers, interpreted as being actual “Site Safety Managers.” The farce came to an end when a Department of Buildings inspector saw that a safety log was signed by an individual that had died the year before. Mr. Marini and some of his employees were arrested in July 2014, and Mr. Marini pled guilty in late 2015 and is required to pay restitution in the amount of $610,000.
The New York City Buildings Department handles licensing for inspection positions. Site managers must take an exam, undergo a background investigation, and meet one of six different requirements regarding architectural, engineering, or building-inspection experience.
If you have been involved in a construction site accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and remedies. Call Arze & Mollica, LLP at (718) 996-5600 for a consultation today.