WILLIAMSBURG - With construction booming throughout the borough, the New York City Department of Buildings formed an excavation team charged with ensuring the safety of thousands of building sites.
The special team that was created a year ago visits more than 100 construction sites a week to look over blue prints and make sure all the appropriate safety measures are taken. The chief engineer estimates about half of all the sites do not pass the inspection.
?They over excavate, they?re overanxious to get their foundations, and they don't take the proper precautions to protect the adjacent sites,? says excavation inspector Delia Shumway.
A typical excavation site represents a patch of land squeezed between older structures, which is razed and then dug down before a building is erected. When the excavation phase of construction is done improperly, it could lead to accidents.
?We have some buildings that have been around for over 100 years,? says Chief Excavation Inspector Miguel Padin. ?You have some bad conditions so when you start to dig, that could affect them, so that's one of the major issues we're having.?
The excavation team says because of the large number of construction sites in Brooklyn, it only manages to inspect one in four. But it plans to triple the size of the team by the end of this year.