In New York City, some buildings are sacrosanct. They may not be good looking or special from the outside but what they do on the inside helps save lives. When Adam Leitman Bailey attorneys received the emergency call and ran to this building, upon arriving we were shuffled into an office and briefed on the importance of our mission. We had to secure and eventually save the building to allow these workers to continue their life-saving functions which I cannot specifically name due to the secrecy of the assignment.
Next door to the building, a large developer had been in the process of building large residential towers along with a shopping center. Being so massive, the construction has caused cracks into our Fortune 500 company’s building. We analyzed the cracks and their depth in the walls and how far reaching the affected the building. We had to make a decision on whether the workers needed to be moved while getting the proper experts to secure the building’s structure.
Previously, our client has entered into a license agreement with the developer for temporary protections required under the New York City Buildings Code for the developer’s massive construction project. Notwithstanding the plain letter of the agreement, and the requirements under the Building Code, the Developer decided to wholly ignore its obligations to protect the Fortune 500 company’s building, and proceed.
As soon as we fortified the building, we made moves to immediately halt the Developer’s work so that the damage to its building could be thoroughly assessed, and quantified, and that proper protection measures could be instituted at the building to ensure that the risk of future building movement and damage could be mitigated.
Working collaboratively with representatives of the Fortune 500 company, its engineers, and Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s select expert team of structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, and architects, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. immediately inspected the entire building inside and out to determine and document the totality of the damage, including the structural damage and the severe cracking to the building.
Simultaneously, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. reviewed the license agreement, and identified numerous breaches by the Developer of the agreement. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. notified the Developer of its patent breach of the license agreement, and the damage caused by its negligence, and demanded that the Developer immediately cease and desist all excavation and construction activities at the site until the building was deemed structurally safe and stabilized.
In addition, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. notified the New York City Department of Buildings, including directly contacting the Commissioner for the Department of Buildings, of the Developer’s negligent conduct and numerous violations of the Building Code, and the dangerous conditions, including life and safety, created as a result of same. In support of these communications, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. provided the Department of Buildings with comprehensive reports from its engineers and architects, which extensively detailed the Developer’s repeated failure to comply with even minimal standards of the Building Code to protect its adjacent neighbor.
Based on Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s efforts, the Department of Buildings promptly inspected the Developer’s construction site, and immediately issued a stop work order to the Developer relating to any excavation and construction activities near or around the Fortune 500 company’s building. In addition, as a result of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s efforts, the Department of Buildings flagged the Developer’s project for an audit, thereby putting the Developer, its project, and its plans and means and methods, under detailed scrutiny.
After bringing the chaotic conditions created by the Developer’s conduct to status quo, working with representatives of the Fortune 500 company, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., and its expert team of engineers and architects, instituted monitoring devices and protocol to measure any further movement of the building. These geochemical monitoring devices provided the Fortune 500 company with critical information regarding whether or not the Developer’s prior excavation and foundation work was causing any further movement of the building.
Once the monitoring devices were installed, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. and its team collaborated to identify how the building could be structurally stabilized to mitigate any further movement and damage. To accomplish this, representatives from the Fortune 500 company, and Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., and its team of engineers and architects, met with the Developer to assess the status of the construction project, and what future activities would adversely impact the building. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s experts also instituted soil stabilization mechanisms for the building.
As a result of such efforts, the Fortune 500 company’s building was stabilized and saved of future damage, and rendered safe. The new protocols put in place had made it possible for our client to continue its important work and eventually the development got back to building once it learned to follow the City’s building rules.
This was one of those projects where we were able to go home and tell our children that real estate attorneys do can protect lives and can act like superheroes—at least for one case.
Adam Leitman Bailey, Joanna Peck and Rachel Sigmund represented the property owner in securing and saving the building and requiring the adjacent developer to stop working until all protocols were in place.