New York City Buildings Department Commissioner Rick Chandler, PE Speaks at NYSSPE New York City Design Professionals Day

DOB Commissioner Chandler with NYSSPE Leaders (ref: DOB/Samantha Modell)

DOB Commissioner Chandler with NYSSPE Leaders (ref: DOB/Samantha Modell)


P-2 11-20-Event Chandler SpeakingApproximately 200 New York City design professionals attended the NYSSPE’s first New York City Design Professionals Day on November 20, 2014. New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Rick Chandler, PE kicked off the event giving an inspirational opening speech. Chandler reminded attendees that the health and safety of the citizens of New York City rest in the hands of our design professionals. The Commissioner outlined some of the new and existing codes that the DOB officials enforce on a regular basis. The Commissioner then passed the microphone off to several other DOB officials who spoke on different topics ranging from building codes to excavation safety and more.

Timothy Lynch, PE, DOB Assistant Commissioner of Investigative Engineering Services gave a seminar focusing on urban construction challenges. Lynch reviewed some of the DOB application processes as well as several online resources that are available to help design professionals gather information needed for properties they are working on including:

Google Maps
New York Public Library Historic Map Guide
NYC Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) – Ownership

DOB Commissioner Chandler with other DOB Speakers (ref: DOB/Samantha Modell)

DOB Commissioner Chandler with other DOB Speakers (ref: DOB/Samantha Modell)

Keith Wen, RA, NYC DOB Technical Advisor to the Office of the Commissioner presented some of the changes to the NYC Construction Codes Overview, which will take effect on January 1, 2015 in accordance with DOB guidelines. These codes are referred to as the 2014 NYC Construction Codes. One of the topics that Wen covered that received several questions and generated discussion was the percentage of floor area, which must be modified to trigger certain permitting requirements.

The 2014 codes can be found here:

Next Dan Eschenasy, PE, NYC Buildings Department Chief Structural Engineer, Robert D’Alessio, NYC Building Department Engineering and Safety Operations Unit and Michael Alacha, PE, NYC Buildings Department Assistant Commissioner all spoke on various topics related to Safe Excavation + Underpinning. This session was 2 hours long and was extremely detailed to the point or Mr. Eschenasy actually reviewing underpinning design details. Much discussion was prompted during this session through questions regarding the designer’s responsibilities and liabilities with regards to underpinning design.

Chapter 33 of the 2014 Codes covers Safeguards During Construction or Demolition.

Design Professionals filled the Pfizer Auditorium at NYU-Poly

Design Professionals filled the Pfizer Auditorium at NYU-Poly

Lastly Joseph Pasaturo, PE, NYSSPE Vice President and owner of AVT Engineering gave a session titled Business Practices & Regulations for the Design Professional. This seminar discussed legal business practices for design professionals along with explanations of New York State Education Department requirements, rules and regulations. There was much discussion during this session on the topic of design delegation and what the designer is responsible for when delegating a portion of the design work.

For details on design delegation, visit the NYSED Frequently Asked Questions page and see question #14.

The NYSSPE was very happy with the event overall as it served 3 important purposes:

  1. Allowed local officials to share important technical updates with design professionals.
  2. Gave design professionals an opportunity to speak with and ask questions of local officials.
  3. Brought NYC design professionals together in a networking atmosphere so they could learn from their peers.

The NYSSPE is already planning the 2015 New York City Design Professionals day – stay tuned for a save the date message.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This article should not be used as a substitute for codes and regulations. For specific requirements, please refer to the relevant laws and code provisions for your geographic region.

Note: NYSSPE facilitates posting on this blog, but the views and accounts expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not the views or accounts of NYSSPE, its officers or directors whose views and accounts may or may not be similar or identical. NYSSPE, its officers and directors do not express any opinion regarding any product or service by virtue of reference to such product or service in this blog.

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