Thursday, April 26, 2007

In Ward Bakery incident, was a sidewalk shed required?

[Udpate: No shed was required.]

The sidewalk shed outside the Ward Bakery has been gone for weeks, though one existed for years. When local residents protesting Forest City Ratner's demolition plan walked on Pacific Street Monday, they passed right by the bakery, which lacked such a shed. Had today's incident--200 feet of the parapet wall falling, according to the Times--occurred three days earlier, those walking by could have been very unlucky. (Photo taken Monday by Jonathan Barkey)

When Forest City Ratner applied for a demolition permit in early March, it was approved on the basis that a sidewalk shed was required. The permit (below) also said that a shed had been erected.

That shed apparently was the one that had existed for years, and apparently was removed at some point after March 3. On March 21, the developer filed for a permit to build a new shed. Apparently a shed is not required while workers do pre-demolition work, such as asbestos removal. Among the lingering questions: did the asbestos removal at the building morph into more significant work that affected the building's structural integrity? If this could be blamed on weather and deterioration, should the developer have taken more precautions?

NY1 adds: At the request of the buildings department, Forest City Ratner says it will put up sidewalk scaffolding, which was not in place when the collapse occurred.

(Below, the demolition permit; click to enlarge.)

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