- The New York City Department of Buildings has approved demolition of JPMorgan Chase Bank & Co.’s 52-floor, 707-foot-tall headquarters at 270 Park Ave. in Manhattan, making it the world’s tallest planned building demolition, according to City Realty.
- Engineering and design firm Howard I. Shapiro & Associates of Lynbrook, New York, submitted the application on behalf of JPMorgan, and indicated that crews will use an excavator and equipment made by Brokk, which offers remote-controlled demolition robots. The demolition will also require asbestos abatement.
- Once the tallest building in New York City designed by a woman — Natalie de Blois of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill working with firm partner Gordon Bunshaft — the structure will be replaced with a 2.5-million-square-foot tower designed by British architect Norman Foster of Foster + Partners. The financial services firm's new 1,400-foot-tall, 70-floor headquarters is expected to be complete in 2024 and create 8,000 construction jobs.
When a structure is in a high-density location like Manhattan, safety is a top priority during a demolition. The city's Department of Buildings requires companies that wish to demolish a building, among other specific actions, to submit a site safety plan that meets the requirements of Article 110 of the city’s administrative code.
Proposed plans must include items like the location of fencing, traffic information and statements that all those performing work on the site will have completed an OSHA-approved, 10-hour safety course by their first day on the job. Applicants also must affirm that anyone working on the jobsite will receive site-specific training about the hazards they might encounter.
The New York City Council in 2017 passed a law that requires most construction workers on jobsites to take 40 hours of safety training. The city will phase the law in completely by September 2020.
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a tragedy for building officials to realize that tighter regulations on demolition projects are needed. Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and Inspections came under fire in 2013 when a wall being demolished collapsed onto the Salvation Army thrift store, killing 6 people and injuring 13 others. At the time of the collapse, for which two demolition contractors are now serving time in prison, the city did not require information on contractor qualifications or submission of demolition plans. The city has since revised the application requirements and mandates much more detailed information about a proposed demolition.