Forest City Ratner Companies and The Durst Organization are Latest Firms to Join Construction for a Livable City Program
Forest City Ratner and The Durst Organization have both joined the New York Building Foundation's Construction for a Livable City Program to encourage community-friendly construction site management practices.
Construction for a Livable City (CLC) is based on a checklist of twenty-seven common-sense practices that, when adopted by builders, can help lessen construction's impact on the surrounding community. For example, participants agree to maintain construction fences, sheds and other exterior elements; mitigate noise, dust and other pollutants; maintain open lines of communication with the public; and schedule truck deliveries and other work in a way that lessens their impact on residents and businesses.
The Durst Organization has signed up its new residential project, at 625 W. 57th St. This project will transform a long underutilized commercial space into a 750 unit apartment building that includes affordable housing and incorporates advanced green building elements. The project is currently going through the City's public land use review process, during which Durst has emphasized its commitment to being a good neighbor during and after construction. Construction is expected to take 30 months to complete.
Forest City Ratner joins the program as an Underwriter, which gives the company an advisory role helping to refine the CLC checklist, bringing its expertise building large projects in diverse communities to bear, and allows it enroll up to five of its projects in the CLC program. Forest City recently completed work on the first phase of its Atlantic Yards project that featured printed artwork on construction fencing along its construction fence on Atlantic Avenue.
Frank J. Sciame, Jr., Chair of the CLC Task Force, said, "Forest City Ratner and The Durst Organization are helping to raise the bar for construction site quality. By adopting the CLC Checklist, these organizations are taking concrete steps to be a better neighbor and improve the quality of life for New Yorkers."
For more information on Construction for a Livable City or to participate, visit the New York Building Foundation website, http://www.nybuildingfoundation.org/livable-city.html or call (212) 481-9230.
New York Building Foundation
Contact: Cathy DelliCarpini-Kruse (212) 481-9230
Rubenstein Communications, Inc.
Contact: Bud Perrone (212) 843-8068
For Immediate Release
FRANK J. SCIAME ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF
NEW YORK BUILDING FOUNDATION
Mr. Sciame Succeeds Dominick Servedio as the Head of the
New York Building Congress Philanthropic, Research and Education Arm
NEW YORK, June 27, 2012 –Frank J. Sciame, a New York City builder known for highly designed and technically sophisticated construction projects, has been elected Chairman of the New York Building Foundation, which was formed in 1998 to complement the New York Building Congress through a program of targeted philanthropy, research and educational activities.
Mr. Sciame replaces STV Chairman and CEO Dominick M. Servedio, PE, as Chairman of the Building Foundation. Mr. Servedio’s tenure was marked by a greater focus on the Foundation’s research activities, initiating its monthly Construction Outlook Update series that provides current data on construction spending, employment and other economic indicators, and establishing the pilot Construction for a Livable City program that encourages clean, safe worksites Citywide.
Regarded as a builder with the vision of an architect and the eye of a constructor, Mr. Sciame and his colleagues at Sciame Construction Co., have been entrusted with the construction of some of the metropolitan area's most prestigious cultural, educational, commercial and retail facilities. A short list of his completed projects includes the restoration of the Victory Theater and Central Synagogue, creation of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Morgan Library and Museum and the Toys R Us flagship store in Times Square, as well as new educational facilities for Columbia University, Princeton University, and Cooper Union.
In addition to his award-winning work at Sciame Construction, which he founded in 1975, Mr. Sciame has been widely recognized for his decades of civic leadership, which has included serving as Chairman of the New York Building Congress and the New York Landmarks Conservancy. He also serves on different Boards for The City College of New York. In 2006, Mr. Sciame was appointed by Governor George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to lead the effort to ensure a buildable and financially-viable World Trade Center Memorial.
“Through his work, volunteer activities and civic leadership, Frank Sciame has consistently demonstrated his devotion to New York City, as well as the men and women of the design, construction and real estate industry,” said Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson. “Everyone involved with the Building Foundation looks forward to his help advancing the organization’s mission.”
Mr. Sciame said, “I am honored to be entrusted by my colleagues with this important responsibility. I look forward to working with the remarkable men and women who voluntarily serve on the Foundation’s Board of Governors as we seek to maintain the standards of excellence and service set by my predecessors as Foundation Chairmen – Dominick Servedio, Richard Tomasetti and John Hennessy.”
Among the Building Foundation’s recent accomplishments:
For more information on the New York Building Foundation, please visit www.nybuildingfoundation.org or call 212.481.9230.
Rubenstein Communications, Inc.
Contact: Bud Perrone (212) 843-8068
For Immediate Release
NEW YORK BUILDING FOUNDATION RELEASES
CONSTRUCTION FOR A LIVABLE CITY REPORT
Building Foundation Effort Looks to Improve Relationship Between
Communities and Construction Industry
NEW YORK – The New York Building Foundation, the charitable arm of the New York Building Congress, issued a new report in November entitled Construction for a Livable City. The report considers the impact of construction worksites on the public and offers a series of recommendations designed to improve the appearance and effect of building sites on the urban environment.
The report notes that, while the building industry already implements many common sense practices to ensure safe and attractive worksites, these practices are not codified or followed systematically. The Foundation’s goals for this report were to highlight industry best practices, encourage wider implementation, review specific site management issues, and establish a framework for promoting and refining recommendations.
In preparing the report, the Building Foundation retained a consultant and assembled a working group of industry leaders. The consultant examined a broad range of worksite issues and best practices. The group then created a series of broad standards and a worksite checklist designed to serve as the basis for a citywide site improvement program.
Four broad areas of concern were identified and highlighted as sources for improvement.
Construction Sheds and Arcades
Construction sheds cover approximately one million linear feet – or almost two hundred miles – of City streets. While the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) sets minimum standards for height, illumination and structural integrity, no guidelines exist for overall quality, appearance or impact on pedestrians.
Fences and Barriers
Beyond DOB guidelines for public safety and advertising restrictions, there are no universally accepted practices about placement, maintenance and aesthetics for worksite barriers.
General Worksite Conditions
The report recommends a comprehensive effort to address worksite noise, cleanliness, environmental issues and pedestrian impacts.
Public and Community Relations
Several innovative approaches to communicating with the public about projects are highlighted and recommended for wider implementation.
The report concludes with a sample checklist of common sense, low-cost measures that, if followed, could improve the look, feel and operation of building sites throughout New York City. The list includes 29 items in four broad categories: Operations and Safety; Environmental Impact; Image and Design; and Community Relations.
“Construction for a Livable City outlines some of the challenges ahead and makes broad recommendations for ways to begin a site improvement program,” said Building Foundation Chairman Dominick M. Servedio. “But the real work must be undertaken by the industry leaders who are being counted on to apply them to their projects. It is only through that process that we can create a series of best practices that can be adapted and replicated easily and in a cost effective manner.”
Construction for a Livable City also features several case studies that demonstrate the positive impact such efforts can have when a team of owners, designers, contractors and skilled labor pull together. In particular, the report examines each site’s programs to improve community relations, safety and aesthetics. The case studies include:
Recognizing the importance of constructive and positive feedback, the report recommends the creation of a resource to coordinate efforts, report on progress and promote successful worksite improvement programs, both within the industry and to the broader public. Such an initiative should include the establishment of a program that recognizes and rewards exceptional achievement.
The full report is available on the New York Building Congress website at http://www.buildingcongress.com/code/foundation-livable-city.htm.
SOUTH BRONX HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS GETTING TRIP OF A LIFETIME
THANKS TO NEW YORK BUILDING FOUNDATION AND SKANSKA
Five Alfred E. Smith Students, Studying for Careers in Construction and Engineering, Spend Spring Break in Stockholm
NEW YORK, April 19, 2010 – Five students from the Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School in the South Bronx spent Spring Break in Stockholm, Sweden, thanks to the generous support of the New York Building Foundation, a nonprofit building coalition, and Skanska, an international construction firm with headquarters in Stockholm and major operations in New York City.
The five 10th Grade students from minority backgrounds are studying for careers in building construction and engineering. The students, three boys and two girls, were selected randomly from a pool of 30 interested students who have excelled academically and maintained strong attendance records.
The five-day trip, which began on March 30th, was made possible thanks to financial contributions from the Building Foundation and Skanska, as well as logistical support from both organizations.
Highlights of the trip included a VIP tour of Skanska’s headquarters, visits to Swedish vocational schools, as well as cultural exchanges with their Swedish peers, including a traditional Viking meal, basketball games and cultural activities. The trip also included boat tours of Swedish islands, museum visits and sightseeing walks.
One student, Jonathan Mayers, said, "This was a great opportunity not only to travel but to meet and talk with kids my age from a different culture." Another student, Olivia Hoyte, commented, “Skanska inspired me to become an engineer.” Other students complimented Stockholm’s architecture and its cuisine, while another student most enjoyed making new friends in Sweden.
The New York Building Foundation was formed in 1998 to promote the long-term growth and well-being of the industry through a program of research, educational and philanthropic activities. As part of its mission, the Building Foundation is supporting the development of the next generation of industry leaders through funding for fellowships, internships and scholarships that support students in academic programs related to design, construction and real estate.
Over the past few years, the Building Foundation has awarded college scholarships to Alfred E. Smith students. Building Foundation President Richard T. Anderson also served as Principal for a Day at the school and delivered the Commencement Address in 2007.
In recognition of this ongoing involvement, Maia Blumgarth, a science teacher at the high school, reached out to Mr. Anderson with her idea to coordinate a trip to Stockholm for the students. He readily pledged the organization’s support and reached out to executives of Skanska USA, who in turn pledged financial backing for the trip and offered to provide the students with a guided tour of its headquarters facilities in Stockholm.
Ms. Baumgarth said, “Alfred E. Smith High School is very fortunate to have found such a great, and caring friend in Richard Anderson. Not only did he help us fund the trip but went out of his way to introduce us to Skanska, which also has been incredibly generous with its time and support. Thanks to their assistance, five deserving students were rewarded for their hard work and given a rare opportunity to broaden their horizons.”
According to Ms. Baumgarth, who chaperoned the students along with another teacher, the trip was the first outside New York City for some of the students. In addition to the visit to Skanska, Ms. Baumgarth arranged additional educational visits to Stockholm vocational schools and designers. Even before the trip began, students already used it as a learning experience by studying the region and helping to plan their itinerary.
“We are proud of our ongoing relationship with the Alfred E. Smith School and happy to support the faculty and administration as it seeks to educate and excite New York’s next generation of builders,” said Mr. Anderson. “The generous support of Skanska demonstrates the building industry’s deep commitment to the future of this City and its young men and women.”
Added Skanska USA Chief Executive Officer Michael McNally, “Our support for these students is in keeping with Skanska’s commitment to make a positive impact on society and provide young men and women with opportunities to help build their communities. We want to demonstrate to the next generation of builders that the work we do is demanding, but also fun – and that the rewards from what they help create will last a lifetime.”
DOMINICK SERVEDIO ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF
NEW YORK BUILDING FOUNDATION
Mr. Servedio Succeeds Richard Tomasetti at the Helm of the
New York Building Congress Philanthropic, Research and Education Arm
NEW YORK, March 31, 2009 – Dominick M. Servedio, P.E., one of New York City’s preeminent leaders in design and construction, has been elected Chairman of the New York Building Foundation, which was created in 1998 to promote the long-term growth and well being of the industry through a program of research, educational and philanthropic activities.
Mr. Servedio replaces Richard L. Tomasetti, PE, Hon. AIA, founding principal of Thornton Tomasetti, as Chairman of the Building Foundation. Mr. Tomasetti’s tenure was marked by greater focus on the Foundation’s core mission; to marshal the diverse talents and energies of the building community toward projects, grants and scholarships that benefit the greater New York area.
As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of STV Group, Inc., Mr. Servedio manages one of the nation’s largest and most diversified design and construction management firms. STV and its partners are involved in aspects of the World Trade Center rebuilding, including the Transportation Hub, Memorial and Freedom Tower. Prior to joining STV in 1977, Mr. Servedio spent fifteen years in the public sector. He also served as Chairman of the New York Building Congress from 2006 to 2008.
“Dominick Servedio demonstrates the continued strength, vitality and commitment of this industry to New York City,” said Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson. “Like past Foundation Chairmen, Richard Tomasetti and John F. Hennessy III, Dominick personifies the building community’s historic devotion and intelligent service to the industry and all New Yorkers.”
Mr. Servedio said, “I am deeply honored to be entrusted by my colleagues with this important responsibility. I look forward to working with the remarkable men and women who voluntarily serve on the Foundation’s Board of Governors as we seek to maintain the standards of excellence and service set by Richard Tomasetti and John Hennessy. It is our collective goal to ensure that we smartly give back to the City and region from which we all have received so much.”
The Building Foundation serves the industry and the community in part through its financial support of existing programs that recruit, educate, mentor and inspire tomorrow’s design, construction and real estate professionals.
In 2008, the Building Foundation supported scholarship programs for students of Alfred E. Smith High School in the Bronx, the Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction in Manhattan and the ACE Mentor Program of Greater New York. In addition, the Foundation awarded a grant to the Salvadori Center to support a design challenge involving more than 100 local students and their mentors.
The Building Foundation also awarded $10,000 to Nontraditional Employment for Women in 2008 to continue its New York Building Foundation Career Advancement Fund and an additional $15,000 to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, bringing the combined contributions of the Building Foundation to $100,000.
In addition, the Foundation continues to make important research contributions to New York’s design and construction activities, as well as the City’s economic future, through rigorous analysis of timely and relevant issues. In 2008, the Foundation spearheaded a groundbreaking new analysis of the factors leading to rising construction costs in New York City and potential solutions. The Foundation also underwrites research for the New York City Construction Outlook series, a franchise that is being expanded in 2009 to provide more regular updates on building industry trends and conditions.
NEW YORK BUILDING FOUNDATION
AWARDS $70,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS
Bulk of Support Designed to Inspire the Next Generation of Building Industry Leaders
|New York Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson with Priscella Richards, an ACE Mentor Program student and aspiring architect who was awarded a $5,000 college scholarship from the New York Building Foundation|
NEW YORK, August 2008 – The New York Building Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the New York Building Congress, recently awarded five grants and three scholarships, totaling $70,000, to a range of organizations. A large portion of the Foundation’s financial support is for programs designed to recruit, educate, mentor and inspire the next generation of design, construction and real estate professionals.
New York Building Foundation Chairman Richard L. Tomasetti said: “Since its inception a decade ago, the Building Foundation has worked to promote the long-term growth and well being of the industry and New York City through a series of research, educational and philanthropic activities. This round of financial support, I believe, illustrates the organization’s desire to give back to the community while introducing tomorrow’s leaders to the exciting opportunities available to them in the building industry.”
Recent Building Foundation support includes:
CONSTRUCTION COSTS IN NEW YORK CITY OUTPACE REST OF NATION, ACCORDING TO REPORT BY NEW YORK BUILDING CONGRESS AND NEW YORK BUILDING FOUNDATION
Costs Rose 32 Percent between 2004 and 2007; Inflation of One Percent Per Month nticipated Through Remainder of Decade
Report Offers Series of Measures to Mitigate Costs Locally and Make City Construction More Competitive with Rest of Nation
NEW YORK, July 30, 2008 – Non-residential construction costs in New York City significantly outpace similar construction in other major U.S. cities, and the gap continues to widen, according to New York’s Rising Construction Costs: Issues and Solutions, an analysis of recent and future trends, released today by the New York Building Congress and the New York Building Foundation.
Over the past 35 years, the cost of construction in New York City has increased more than 400 percent. In recent years, the cost curve has escalated. According to the report, costs rose 32 percent between the first quarter of 2004 and the first quarter of 2007. General contractors in New York reported a 5 to 6 percent increase in 2004, an 8 to 10 percent increase in 2005, and a 12 percent increase in 2006. The rate of escalation moderated to 11 percent annually in 2007 and is expected to reach one percent a month over the next 2 to 3 years.
At present, construction in New York City is more than 60 percent more expensive than in Dallas; 50 percent more than Atlanta; 25 percent more than in Seattle; and 20 percent more than in Los Angeles.
On a more positive note, the report identified a wide range of measures that, if taken by industry and government, would significantly reduce the overall cost of construction in New York City and bring it more in line with other U.S. cities.
“A number of factors have been acting in conjunction with an unprecedented volume of construction to produce a seemingly relentless rate of cost escalation, which shows no sign of diminishing in the coming years,” said New York Building Congress Chairman Dominick M. Servedio. “Fortunately, and as this report indicates, government, management and labor have the power to contain some of these costs if each is willing to work together on a series of proactive measures. In fact, Mayor Bloomberg on Monday announced a series of aggressive steps aimed at reducing costs and making City capital projects more contractor-friendly.”
Added New York Building Foundation Chairman Richard M. Tomasetti, “Though the current white-hot demand of construction in New York City is largely undiminished, the question arises as to whether, and at what point, these inflationary pressures and increased costs will finally begin to dampen the enthusiasm of developers and threaten to overwhelm the funding for public projects.”
Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson said, “This year has already produced news that government is pulling back on long-anticipated and initially-funded projects – such as the expansion of the Javits Convention Center and creation of a Fulton Street Transit Center. These events point to the collective need to get a real handle on building costs, especially given the multitude of major transit and development projects currently on the drawing board – including the Second Avenue Subway, Atlantic and Hudson Yards and the World Trade Center build out.”
Some of the report’s findings follow.
According to the report, many inflationary pressures are borne out of global conditions and the forces of supply and demand. Demand for scarce construction materials, particularly steel, has surged this decade nationally and in booming economies such as China and India. Further exacerbating the cost of these materials is ongoing declines in domestic production. Other factors in national building-cost escalation have been the weakness of the dollar and increasing labor costs.
In New York City, additional inflationary factors include higher labor costs, tighter supply of materials and urban logistical issues. Related local factors include prevailing wage mandates, extensive union work rules and various jurisdictional issues, which often cause delay due to different work schedules among trades and the process for dealing with division of labor issues.
Productivity and safety concerns related to less-skilled, less-experienced non-union labor may be another contributing factor in rising costs. A limited supply of local specialized trades, like curtain-wall installers and elevator/structural steel erectors, and urban logistical issues, such as street congestion, special permitting requirements for Saturday deliveries and staging constraints, also make building in New York more expensive.
Moreover, soft costs, land costs, and regulatory costs play an equal or greater role in New York, due to higher insurance rates and liabilities, limited available sites, high and escalating prices on land, costs of environmental mitigation and the constraints imposed by public processes and regulations, such as building and zoning codes as well as site and design approval. Land costs have accelerated beyond all other factors, driven by returns in the luxury condo and office markets of New York.
The report concludes with a set of recommended actions on the part of government and the industry that, if followed, could help mitigate or even reverse local cost factors. Potential actions are summarized below.
With land costs accelerating more than any other factor, there is a dire need to maximize the use of available sites. Government could expand the supply of land by:
The delivery of public and private construction projects on-time and on-budget begins with effective and fair procurement policies and practices. Potential actions include:
Maximizing the productivity and supply of workers would help satisfy demand and relieve pressure on costs. To accomplish this, government, owners and management could:
In addition, labor could:
To keep construction activity flowing, timely decision-making and better coordination is essential. Government could:
Copies of New York’s Rising Construction Costs: Issues and Solutions are available by contacting the New York Building Congress at 212-481-9230 or by visiting www.buildingcongress.com.
The New York Building Congress is a non-partisan public policy coalition of business, labor, association and governmental organizations representing the design, construction and real estate interests of more than 250,000 individuals.