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WHEREAS, It is also contemplated in such bill that the appointment on such Board of Standards and Appeals of a representative of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters shall not be obligatory, as is now the case under the City Charter, but shall be at the option of the Mayor for the time being, and
WHEREAS, It is in the interests of the City of New Ycrk, of property owners and of the capital represented in the New York Board of Fire Underwriters that one of the members of the Board of Examiners or the Board of Standards and Appeals, by whatever name called, should necessarily be a delegate from the New York Board of Fire Underwriters,
Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by the President with power to take such steps as may be necessary to give effect to these views, to oppose any proposed legislation the effect of which might be that a representative of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters would not necessarily be included in the membership of such Board of Examiners or Board of Standards and Appeals.
STATEMENT PREPARED AND SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 23, 1914, BY THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON CITY DEPARTMENTS
(Representing the New York and Brooklyn chapters of the Ameri
can Institute of Architects, the Building Trades Employers' Association, The New York Society of Architects, and the American Institute of Consulting Engineers.)
1. We herewith repeat our previously recorded approval of the principle involved in the consolidation into one bureau of all those City and State Departments having supervision over the construction and alterations of buildings within the city of New York.
2. We believe that the time allowed for the consideration of the draft is entirely inadequate to prepare a detailed study of the same. We ask another and later opportunity for presenting such detailed criticisms.
3. We believe that the consolidation of Departments should be complete. We can see no reason why any one Department any more than another (such as the Tenement House Department) now independent should be excluded from such a consolidation.
4. We believe that the new Department as proposed should include all the powers of the City and State Departments mentioned in the tentative bill and in general should control only matters affecting the construction, alterations and fire prevention equipment of structures in the greater New York.
5. We believe that the Board of Standards and Appeals proposed in the tentative draft would not prove effective. We believe that the two functions of standards and appeals should be kept distinct. The Board of Appeals is a technical court of relief, a court of adjustment. There should therefore be two separate boards, as follows:
a. A Board of Superintendents, or “ Board of Standards" consisting of the Commissioner of Buildings, the Superintendents of Buildings of the five boroughs and three experts. This Board of nine would be required to prepare standards and regulations, uniform for the entire city on all those matters left to their definition by the Building and other Codes governing the Department's work. Their proposed regulations and standards should be published in the City Record at least once a week for four weeks before final adoption, and public hearings should also be provided for. We have suggested the addition of the three experts so as to give the Board the assistance of technical men not in the Department who could be secured for part time work men of much higher grade than any that could be permanently employed — at comparatively small or even no cost to the city.
b. A Board of Appeal. This function should be entirely distinct and separate from that of the Board of Superintendents or Board of Standards. Those connected with building work in this city are qualified to speak on this subject, and they say in no uncertain terms that the principle of a Board of Appeal (or Board of Examiners) the principle of an independent-nonpolitical Board — is most valuable, is in fact essential. By nonpolitical we mean a Board of Appeal appointed officially by the Mayor but selected by the Architects' Societies of New York and Brooklyn, the Building Trades Employers' Associations, Consulting Engineers Society and Underwriters' Associations. In view of the proposed new powers of the Board there should also be added members selected by organizations most interested in tenement
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house protective legislation. The Commissioner of Buildings and the Borough Superintendents should not be members of this Board. The Chief of the Fire Department should be a member.
None but technical questions come before this Board and it should consist of none but technically qualified men.
Its composition should be carefully scrutinized. Unrepresentative organizations should be excluded. On a Board such as this — a Board that prevents injustice by permitting of new forms of construction not prevised in the law, new solutions of structural and fire prevention problems not permissible by strict interpretations of the ordinances on such a Board we can secure the services of men of great ability at little or no cost --- men who will give their time as they have in the past for the good of the city. These are men who could never be had to serve on a permanent Board, no matter what the salary.
6. The decision of the Board of Appeals should for obvious reasons be published in the City Record and be made citable as precedents for future applications.
7. There are many details of the plan as suggested, which in our opinion, should be modified. Such, for instance, are: the failure of the plan to provide for the inspection and supervision of elevators; the failure of the plan to provide for surveys of unsafe buildings; the failure of the plan to provide for surveys on appeals from fire prevention orders.
8. Finally, we reiterate our declaration of the approval of the principle involved in the proposed legislation, provided the consolidation includes everything properly within the scope of such a department, and we ask for a later opportunity to present a more detailed constructive criticism.
THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON CITY DEPARTMENTS.
Endorsed by Ira H. Woolson and F. J. T. Stewart on behalf of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters and submitted to the New York State Factory Investigating Commission, November 23, 1914.
MR. ELKUS: Mr. Chairman I have been asked to file a brief on behalf of the New York Society of Architects by Mr. Joseph
C. Schaeffler, which reads in part that the New York Society of Architects is largely in accord with the consolidation of all the various departments having jurisdiction over building operations in the greater city, the brief is as follows:
“ The present draft of this bill was received too recently to permit of anything but an altogether too hasty and superficial examination.
“ The New York Society of Architects is heartily in accord with the consolidation of all the various departments having jurisdiction over building operations in the Greater City of New York, but we desire more time for a careful consideration of the details involved and respectfully request that this matter be again presented for discussion at a future hearing.
“The consolidation, to be what the name implies, would of course include all departments, whether City or State, which in any way control the erection of new structures, alterations to existing structures, means for the prevention of fire, sanitation, etc., within the limits of the Greater City of New York.
“We desire at this time, however, to call attention to the importance of separting the power of fixing standards from the discretionary powers of the Board of Appeals. The Board of Standards should properly be composed of the Commissioner of Buildings and his deputies, assisted and advised by several engineers of known ability. The Board of Appeal, however, should be composed of men of known ability in the design and erection of structures (architects, engineers and builders), recommended to serve by the various organizations directly interested in such work in the Greater City of New York. The Board of Appeal must be a fully representative body. The present Board of Examiners is not fully representative. In the present draft of the bill the Commissioner of Buildings would be a member of the Board empowered to hear and pass upon appeals from his own decisions. Manifestly such a proceeding would be an injustice to the appellant. Although all those serving on both Boards would be appointed by the Mayor, the above mentioned method of selecting the members of the-Board of Appeals would ensure a nonpolitical body of technically trained men, qualified by experience to judge and pass upon difficult and new methods of construction, and such other problemas not provided for in the existing laws. All proceedings and decisions of both Boards should be published in the City Record.
“ This is the only comment we care to make at the present time. We desire more time for further and more mature cousideration of the entire draft of the bill so that we may be enabled to submit a more detailed criticism of same at a future hearing.
“ By JOSEPH C. SCHAEFFLER.”
The CIIAIRMAN: The Commission will now take a recess until two o'clock sharp.
AFTERNOON SESSION Mr. HARRY N. FRENCH: I appear for the Building Trade Employers' Association of the city and I am asked to state for them that they are represented in the Joint Committee on City Departments, from which you have already heard from Mr., Kohu, that correctly stated its opinion regarding this tentative bill.
I am also asked by Mr. Cheney for the Society of Architectural Iron Manufacturers to say that they also are of the same opinion.
Mr. FURST: I am the President of the South Bronx Property Owners' Association. We have adopted resolutions which are as follows:
SOUTH BRONX PROPERTY OWNERS' ASSOCIATION,
549 EAST 138TH STREET.
At a meeting of the Executive Committee of the above Association, held at our headquarters, 549 East 138th street, Thursday, November 17, 1914, the following resolutions were offered and unanimously adopted :
WHEREAS, the New York State Factory Investigating Commission, Hon. Robert F. Wagner, Chairman, has formulated a tentative plan with reference to the inspection of buildings in New York City by uniting different city and State departments, and