DOB targets Gilbane after concrete, crowbar falls from Macklowe’s East 59th Street site

Agency is paying close attention to other alleged problem contractors

The city is cracking down on Gilbane Residential Construction after a rash of construction mishaps on several of the contractor’s sites.
In May, a crowbar fell from the 32nd story of a luxury condo building rising at Macklowe Properties’ 200 East 59th Street, the New York Daily News reported. The tool crashed onto the roof of a taxi driving by and shattered the vehicle’s windshield. An attorney for the driver — who hasn’t worked since — has indicated that he plans to sue.

The accident was the third construction-related incident to occur at the site in a two-month span. In another incident in March, three yards of concrete poured down onto vehicles below the building. After the crowbar fell, the Department of Buildings inspected 12 of Gilbane’s 14 sites in the city and found 49 hazardous violations and issued 13 partial or full stop-work orders.

Gilbane told the Daily News that it’s working with the DOB to address these issues.

“The reality is that 96 percent of Gilbane worksites had no lost-time injuries last year, and the overall injury rate on our projects was less than half the industry average cited by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” a Gilbane spokesperson said.

Brian Sampson, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors’ New York chapter, said that the crackdown was a “politically motivated scheme” to favor union labor. Over the last few years, Gilbane has drawn the ire of union groups for its use of nonunion labor.

The DOB targeted Gilbane as part of a broader data sweep of contractors with potential patterns of unsafe working conditions. The agency inspected 380 sites and issued more than 300 violations from November through February. 

This story originally appeared in The Real Deal.