June 29, By Jason Cohen
The City has suspended the Queens contractor who was in charge of an Astoria work site where a construction collapse last week left three workers seriously injured.
The Department of Buildings announced yesterday that it has suspended the registration of general contractor Ideal Builders and Construction and its construction superintendent, Fazal Hassan.
On June 20, Ideal and Hassan were working on a project at 31-25 28th Road, where they were adding another floor to an existing building. Following a delivery of construction materials, the Astoria building’s third floor collapsed, injuring the workers.
According to the DOB, Ideal has a track record of racking up public-safety violations, with 14 citations issued in the last two years. While no injuries were reported to DOB on Ideal/Hassan sites prior to last week’s accident, DOB determined that the conditions that led to these previous violations – along with the recent collapse – demonstrate that Ideal and Hassan are a danger to workers and the public.
“Cutting corners on the job site and improperly loading excessive weight on the third floor caused the collapse that pinned three workers last week,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. “Mr. Hassan and his firm neglected their duties on this and other construction sites and showed disregard for the lives of workers and the public. Bad actors in the construction industry need to get the message: the city will not tolerate those who endanger people’s lives.”
Investigators from DOB’s Emergency Response Team and Forensic Engineering Unit determined that the collapse last week occurred because Hassan allowed multiple pallets of cinderblocks and other heavy construction materials to be loaded on the newly-built third floor – which was built without adequate structural supports and without first getting an engineer’s assessment of the floor’s structural stability, as is required under the city’s construction codes. The weight of the construction materials caused the floor to collapse through the second and first floors into the building’s basement, trapping the workers.
Additionally, DOB determined that at the time of this incident, Hassan was designated as the construction superintendent on more than 10 jobs – the maximum allowable number under the law. DOB also found that he failed to adequately supervise construction projects under his management and ensure that they were safe.
Ideal Builders and Construction could not be reached for comment.