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Engineers call for New York demolition codes to be redrafted

New York needs to redraft its demolition codes because regulations are being overlooked when buildings undergo structural refurbishment, leading engineers claimed last week.

New York City Buildings Department deputy assistant commissioner Dan Eschenasy said investigations into collapses in New York had revealed confusion about when demolition guidelines should apply.

“Contractors did not understand that code provisions for demolition were to be followed in alteration jobs as well,” Eschenasy, told the fourth International Forensic Engineering conference at the ICE.

“General construction contractors were taking on partial demolitions, but there was no information transfer from demolition contractor to general contractor.”

The New York Construction Codes, which came into effect in July, were revised to clearly include full and partial demolition and introduced requirements for engineering input for work on weakened structures. British Standard 6187, the code of practice for demolition, is also to be updated with greater emphasis on structural refurbishment.

“The existing code goes a long way to cater for refurbishment,but the industry hasn’t picked up on it,” said independent consultant and proposed technical code committee chair Brian Neale. “People involved in structural refurbishment often don’t see what they’re doing as demolition.

“The code will be updated to make it more obviously relevant to structural refurbishment.”

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