New York Suspends Engineer Involved in Inspection of Collapsed Bronx Building

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An engineer responsible for overseeing inspections of a Bronx apartment building, which partially collapsed on Monday, has been accused of “misdiagnosing” a critical column that supported the structure.

In plans filed in June, the engineer allegedly classified the load-bearing column as a “decorative” element, according to city officials on Friday.

Mayor Eric Adams and the city’s buildings commissioner, James Oddo, announced the suspension of the engineer’s authority to inspect building facades, with intentions to pursue permanent revocation. Fortunately, no fatalities or serious injuries occurred in the collapse, but over 170 residents at 1915 Billingsley Terrace were left without housing.

The Buildings Department, along with the Bronx district attorney’s office and the Department of Investigation, is actively investigating the incident’s cause.

In a statement, Mayor Adams emphasized swift action against those who compromise safety, stating that the engineer had “no business assessing the exterior walls of buildings in New York City.” Commissioner Oddo added that the engineer failed to recognize a clearly structural column, expressing relief that the collapse did not result in fatalities but asserting a commitment to preventing such risks in the future.

While the engineer’s identity was not disclosed by Oddo, records from the Buildings Department indicate that Richard Koenigsberg, an experienced facades inspector, is associated with the June filing updated in September.

Koenigsberg, in response to the allegations, mentioned that he had filed reports deeming the facade unsafe but clarified that this was related to protecting pedestrians from falling debris, not structural unsoundness.

Although Koenigsberg claimed not to have been contacted by city officials since the collapse, he acknowledged the need for legal representation and expressed a commitment to following legal advice.

Commissioner Oddo revealed that the engineer had 368 filings under the city’s facade inspection and safety program, all of which will be reviewed as part of the ongoing investigation.

The collapse, which occurred in midafternoon on Monday, resulted in a portion of the seven-story building collapsing onto the sidewalk, prompting pedestrians and motorists to seek shelter.

The incident has raised significant concerns about the structural integrity of the building and the effectiveness of the inspection process.

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