Last week, the license of a “special inspector,” engineer Steven Schneider, was pulled after an investigation of his methods proved them unsafe. The investigation, which was conducted by the Buildings Department, was triggered by a 2011 incident in which a 54-year-old Ukrainian worker was killed and four others were injured when part of a condo building that was under construction in Brighton Beach collapsed on top of them. Their investigation determined that the steel used in the structure was unstable and the concrete had been poured improperly. This, despite the fact that the contractor on the project had hired Schneider as a special inspector on the project to make sure everything was done safely.
On Friday, at a license hearing, the Buildings Department noted that Schneider was unable to show that he’d performed crucial safety inspections at that tragic job site or at a number of other job sites throughout the city. For example, on another condo job, they obtained a photo of a worker standing in the pit of a foundation that “clearly showed unsafe underpinning, which posed a collapse threat to workers.” Even though Schneider was the special inspector on that job, he never reported the incident to the city, which he was required to do under the law.
On a number of other projects, investigators found that Schneider “routinely” signed off on special inspections of job sites before they were completed and that he rarely “performed any of the proper structural tests as required by code,” including tests for structural stability and tests of masonry and structural steel.
After permanently revoking Schneider’s license, the Buildings Department referred the case to the state “for further disciplinary action.”