Crane talk Downtown

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri donned a hardhat last Thursday to tour the site of the future W Hotel at 123 Washington St. with construction experts from around the country.

LiMandri used the rising 57-story W Hotel to illustrate just one of New York’s many high-rise projects that require tower cranes. The tour was a prelude to a daylong crane safety conference LiMandri hosted in the wake of accidents like the Midtown East crane collapse last spring that killed seven people.

“New York offers this unique dense environment where cranes are installed and used,” said Kate Lindquist, spokesperson for the Department of Buildings, after the event. “They were shocked,” she said of the experts from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom who attended the conference. “They were in awe of all the construction that’s going on around the city.”

One suggestion that came out of the conference was to create a system of tracking cranes as they cross state lines. Each state has its own safety regulations, some stricter than others. A crane may arrive in New York City after being repaired in another state, and LiMandri wants to make sure those repairs are held to New York’s standards, Lindquist said.

The W Hotel was a convenient choice because it is near the Buildings Department’s headquarters, where the conference was held, but the hotel tower does not have an unblemished safety record. The D.O.B. stopped work on the project last spring during a round of safety inspections, citing a missing pin in the tower crane.