New York City High Risk Construction Oversight (HRCO)

Two fatal crane collapses occurred in New York City in 2008 – one on March 15th and the other on May 30th. Before that, the city had observed a general increasing trend in occurrences of job site accidents. Subsequently, in July 2008, The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) initiated the $4 million High Risk Construction Oversight study (HRCO).

DOB identified three high risk areas of study based on historical accident data: high-rise concrete; cranes and hoists; and excavation operations.

The goal of this study was to develop recommendations for modifications to the NYC regulatory framework and construction industry practices to improve safety. DOB retained CTL Engineers & Construction Technology Consultants, P.C. as the lead consultant on this effort.

CTL Engineers & Construction Technology Consultants, P.C., with a team of over 30 experts, was on site for approximately 6 months and conducted over 600 field assessments, industry outreach to more than 70 construction companies and organizations, benchmarking of construction practices in US and foreign cities, design review and regulatory review.

The study resulted in over 60 formal recommendations for changes in construction practices to improve safety. Implementation of the recommendations ranges from immediate to others that represents major changes from current practice and require further study.

Example recommendations include:

Implementation of a fall hazard awareness campaign - workers failed to tie off adequately at 31% of visited sites.

Tower Crane Tie-In connections should be subjected to special inspection and require improved design and erection procedures - 71% of reviewed plans did not have an engineering review of the loads imposed by the tower crane on the building.

Introduce and implement an Off-site Hoist Equipment Control Program to check that the equipment is adequate for the intended use - 30-year-old hoist masts had almost 30% loss of thickness due to corrosion and wear.