Temporary order requires tighter supervision of certain types of cranes and a new ‘lift director’

The New York City Department of Buildings issued a temporary order Thursday requiring tighter supervision of the type of crane that collapsed in Tribeca in February, killing a pedestrian and injuring three others.

The order requires that a new “lift director” be designated at each construction site to oversee the operations of crawler cranes, the kind that are mounted on tracks similar to the LR1300 crane that toppled over on Worth Street.

The lift director would monitor local weather reports and make sure that cranes are properly shut down according to a newly required “wind action plan.” Under the order, crawler cranes would be required to have anemometers high up on the crane, which are capable of measuring wind gusts that last just three seconds.

The order will end a citywide mandate to shutdown these cranes when winds exceed 30 miles an hour. Instead the lift director would be responsible for shutdown decision based on local forecasts for the crane location.

Building developers and contractors have complained the city ordered unnecessary crane shutdowns when conditions didn’t warrant it.

Bill Shuzman, executive director of Allied Building Metal Industries, which represents contractors who erect structural steel, said the new rules were “extremely onerous” adding daily reports and meetings requirements.

“These rules came about because of that accident in February, yet nobody knows what caused the accident,” he said.

Thursday’s order grew out of the recommendations of a city task force that were released a few weeks ago.

In the Tribeca accident, a crawler crane with a 516-foot long boom fell across two city blocks as it was being lowered during windy conditions. The cause of the accident is still under investigation, and a cause isn’t expected to be determined until the fall.

After the accident, city buildings commissioner Rick D. Chandler moved to ban any crawler cranes with boom configurations that weren’t designed to operate in winds of 20 miles an hour or more. With its huge boom, the Tribeca crane was under this wind restriction.

The new order was issued for crawler cranes, rather than the tower cranes that dominate many large construction sites, because tower cranes are already subject to more stringent code requirements, a spokesman for the buildings department said.

Under the order, the lift director would supervise a daily aircraft-style safety check at the start of each workday, and supervise the moving of cranes, and the raising and lowering of crane booms.

View original article here via Wall Street Journal, Josh Barbanel

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