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Real estate record and builders' guide: [v. 99, no. 2557: Articles]: March 17, 1917

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AND (Copyright, 1917, by The Record and Guide Co.) NEW YORK, MARCH 17, 1917 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BUREAU OF BUILDINGS Marked Increase Last Year as Compared With 1915 —Zoning Resolution One of the Influencing Factors By HON. ALFRED LUDWIG, Superintendent of Buildings, Manhattan PART TWO. THE budget for 1916 cut the appropri¬ ation for executive service in the Bureau of Buildings $34,080, which necessitated a reduction of fifteen clerks, four stenographers, two copyists and five messengers in the clerical force. The result iias been that while the reducedl force has been able to keep the work up to date there is danger of giving rather poorer service to the public, owing to the fact that there is no reserve force available for emergencies. In case of sickness on the part of any employee, or during the vacation period, the work falls rapidly behind or can be kept up only by overtime on the part of those on duty. This is not a healthy state of affairs and is anything but beneficial to efficiency. Owing to a reduction in the ste- tiographic force, it was found advisable to organize a central stenographic di¬ vision, consistin? of a chief stenographer, four stenograohers and three copyists. Formerlv each division of the Bureau had assigned to it either a stenographer or a copvist, who handled only the work of that division; under the present sys¬ tem, which went into effect on October 15. 1916. all routine work goes to the central division, regardless of where it emanates. The many new taws and ordinances relating to buildine; construction, which became effective during the year, have very materiallv increased the work of the Bureau. The Lockwood-Ellenhoaren bill, which went into full effect on Octo¬ ber 1. 1916. placed within the iurisdiction of the Superintendent of Buildinqrs the enforcement of the Labor Law as to con¬ struction and extended his jurisdiction generally in matters relating to build¬ ines. In addition, orders of the Labor Department aeainst buildings, which have been turned over to the Fire De¬ partment, must now be investin-ated and insnected by the Bureau of Buildines. which means increased clerical work for it. Several recent collapses of structures in this city have directed attention very forcibly to the question of proper super¬ vision of buildings during the course of construction and alteration. The Bureau of Buildings, as at present organized, is in no position to give proper and efficient inspection, as the force of inspectors available is wholly inadequate for the purpose. A few figures will suffice to demonstrate this point; in an average month like November, the twenty-six in¬ spectors assiened to new construction and alterations were carrying applica¬ tions for 372 new buildines and 1..S40 al¬ terations, or a total of 1.912 applications, an average of about 72 for each inspec¬ tor. Of these, about 39 were in progress and required the attention of the inspec¬ tor; the remaining 33. while inactive, were liable to start up any day. and con¬ sequently necessitated frequent visits on the part of the inspector. Inspectors are required to report for dutv at the offices of the Bureau of Build'nes at 8.30 a. m., and as soon as oossible thereafter thev are expected to leave for their districts. Usually, at least an hour is required for work in the_ office, assienment of applications, writing reports, etc., and 10 a. m. may be consid¬ ered as the average time of arrival of the inspectors in their districts. Building operations cease at 5 p. m., and the in¬ spectors' tour of duty ends at the same time; deducting one hour for lunch, six hours remain as the actual time an in¬ spector spends in the field, inspecting buildine construction and alteration. ThTs time divided among thirty-nine active plans and the issuance of the permit the architect's connection with the operation practically ceases and consequently the only inspection the building receives during its actual erection is that given by the city. A great improvement in conditions would undoubtedly follow if a law or ordinance were passed, holding the applicant, whose name is signed to the application and to whom the permit, upon approval, is issued responsible for Elevator Accidents for 1916. Jan. Feb. Mar. April May Jun. Jly. Aug. No. of accidents reported.. 15904 456 Passenger elevators: Persons killed............0 1 3 2 2 4 1 3 Persons Injured...........1 2 2 3 2 0 1 1 Frelaht elevators: Persons killed.............0 12 0 0 0 10 Persons injured...........0 0 4 1 0 0 2 0 Sidewalk elevators: Persons killed.............01010 001 Persons Injured...........0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 Totals : Persons killed.............0 3 5 3 2 4 2 4 Persons Injured...........1 2 6 6 2 0 3 2 Accidents due to defects In ropes: Persons killed.............00000 000 Persons Inlured...........0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Defects In safety devices : Persons killed.............0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Persons Iniured...........0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Defects In machinery: Persons killed.............0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Persons injured...........1 0 3 1 1 0 0 1 Carelessness of passen¬ gers : Persons killed.............0 12 10 3 13 Persons Injured...........0 0 12 0 0 2 0 Carelessness of operators: Persons killed.............0 112 1 0 0 1 Persons Inlurpd...........0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 C^iuse unknown : Persons killed ............ 01100 010 Persons Inlured...........0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 Onen dnnr In shaft! Persons killed.............0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 Persons inlured...........0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 Onen rpte on car: Persons killed............. 0000 0 000 Persons Inlured...........0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 Sept. 5 Oct. 11 Nov. 10 Dec. 4 Total 73 1 4 3 3 0 5 1 1 21 25 1 2 2 1 3 1 0 0 10 11 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 8 e 3 7 6 S 5 7 2 2 30 42 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 10 0 1 1 2 1 6 1 1 14 14 0 0 3 2 0 1 1 0 10 7 1 0 1 1 3 0 0 0 8 3 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 operations woulii allow onlv a little oyer nine minutes per iob per day. including time eoine from job to iob. The prac¬ tice, however, is to visit an operation two or three t''mes a week on an averaee; operat'ons wh>Vh aopear to need particu¬ lar attention beine visited more frenuent- ly than those seeminely requirine less. A laree percentaee of the building operations in this Boroiieh are of such maenifnde that if properly insnecfed bv tlie Bureau would reouire a laree part of the time of an inspector dailv. Ade- ouate inspection of buildines under con¬ struction or alteration, if done by the city, would renuire the services of at least l.'iO additional inspectors in the Boroueh of Manhattan alone. Any such increase in the force of inspectors is out of the nuestion. as no appropriation to cover the cost could possiblv be ob¬ tained, nor does it seem either proper or wise that the citv should assume this extra burden. Buildine operations are in genera! undertaken bv special inter¬ ests, and it would seem that a laree part of the cost of the inspection should be bene by these interests. Manv owners and builders contemplat- ine erectine buildings eneaee the ser¬ vices of an architect merely to draw up plans and file the necessarv applications with the Bureau of Buildines for the pur¬ pose of securing a permit to erect the building. Upon the approval of th§ the proper execution of the work from start to finish. It has also been suggested that both arrhitprts and builders be licensed and reninVed to reeister with the Bureau of Buildines. and while tbis sueeestion. if enacted into law would undoubtedtv im¬ prove the situation and lead to better cnnstruction. it would nevertheless be in addition a"d sunnlpmenfrv to tlip strict resr>nn = iKilitv of the applicant fiHne the application and plans, as hereinbefore mentioned. It is very necessarv and es¬ sential that steps be taken without de- lav to remedv conditions or else some serious collapse or catastrophe, in con- neetion with building construction, is liable to happen, accompanied bv a loss of life ereater than anv recorded as vet. Article 27 of the Revised Building Cne\e. which went into effect March 1_4, 1916. has vastiv increased the work in connection with the inspection and supervision of elevators in this Borough; formerly periodic inspections for passen¬ ger elevators onlv were required, but under the revised law not only must passeneer elevators be inspected at least once in everv three months, but freieht elevators includine sidewalk elevators and amusement devices at least twice each vear; in addition, a docket contam- ine complete data for each passeneer elevator with its serial numher. which is pow required by law must b? kept. When