Monday, August 11, 2008

Who's at Fault for Trump Mess? Is Another Disastrous Site on the Way?

Trump Parc is a clusterschmuck of which we’ve not seen the last.

TP is a 34-story construction site located on one of the busiest corners in the city. In less than four months, we’ve had four spectacular incidents of debris smashing through cars and a window of the college campus next door.

TP is being built by contractor George A. Fuller Co., which is owned by New York developer Louis Cappelli. Cappelli has a history of safety violations in NY, but I assume he's still scott-free in CT since Fuller's name is on the TP project. Whoever approved this project, and approved Cappelli/Fuller as the builder, should share the blame for the accidents. Approving a project on such a busy corner, with no space between the building and the sidewalk and street below, was obviously a terrible decision. (Question 1: Who approved that?)

Guess what’s even more horrifying than being stuck with Cappelli until Trump Parc wraps up next year? Being stuck with him after that, when he starts construction on another tower in downtown Stamford! I KNOW! I MUST BE JOKING, RIGHT? Nope! He’s building a 400 foot tall building right on Tresser, also known at Rt. 1, next year!

There is no way in Hades that Fuller/Cappelli should build the Ritz-Carlton on Tresser. Call me overcautious, but I'm not sure the company has proved to Stamford that it can do the job safely.
(Question 2: Does the city have the right to demand a new builder? Question 3: Who could do that? Mayor? Board of Reps?)

I'm sure the people working the site are great people who want to be safe, but something about the construction process is not working out. After the third Trump Parc incident, the mayor appeared stunned by how much excess debris was lying all over the floors that opened directly onto the street below. He implied that he’d never seen anything like it, which to me suggested gross carelessness. Maybe the workers are overworked. Why else would they leave the site in such a condition, especially after the first two debris incidents?

After the fourth incident, in which wood and all kinds of other stuff got blown off the building in strong thunderstorms, the contractor seemed perplexed by how that accident could have happened: Though the incidents are "inexcusable," weather may have been a factor, [Trump Parc developer Louis Cappelli] said. "You had a perfectly beautiful summer day that turned into a 50-mph wind gust," he said about Saturday's incident when a 4-by-4 piece of lumber fell 27 stories and through the roof of a postal delivery truck… Cappelli said he ordered his foremen to remove or secure stacks of plywood and wood beams from the building by Friday. Cappelli yesterday said he had absolute confidence in the skills of the construction workers at Trump Parc. "I have my best men working on this job," he said, adding, "The 99 things you do right are meaningless when that one thing goes wrong."
(Advocate Aug 5, 2008)

What “one thing” was that? The weather? ‘Cause to me, it looks like the error was made not by Mother Nature, but by the people on the site. After the third incident, the city ordered all loose building materials tied down. That obviously didn’t happen, so why is Cappelli saying he has “absolute confidence” in his workers? Was he saying that they did tie the stuff down? I’m confused. That’s nice that his best guys are on the job, but that doesn’t explain what caused the fourth accident, nor does it reassure me that a fifth won't occur.

I'm still wondering why the city-mandated on-site inspector did not notice the loose 4 x 4s on Friday. (Question 4: Does that inspector really exist? Is he impartial, or did the construction company pick him?)

The board of reps has called for a meeting with city officials about the Trump mess: City Rep. Scott Mirkin... urged Mayor Dannel Malloy to bring in help from the federal and state governments, because the city does not seem able to manage the 34-story project. The representatives did not set a date for the hearing. … [Board President David] Martin said he plans to ask officials, including Malloy, Director of Operations Ben Barnes and the city's legal counsel, to attend. (Advocate, Aug 6, 2008) Maybe they can get the scoop on the inspector or figure out why Trump Parc has gone so very badly.

I think the meeting might be Monday, but I'm not sure. I'm at the beach in NH with spotty (stolen) internet, so if you see anything online about the Board meeting, please post a comment or email me. Although I can't always get online, I do check email on my iPhone regularly. Comments go to my email, so they are just as good a way to reach me as email.

Currently at Trump Parc, limited building continues. After the fourth accident, the builders were banned from doing any work on floors that were not completely enclosed. However, don’t start feeling safe. They're allowed to do "safety-related work" on all floors.

Here's a pic of Trump from Thursday. The one at the top of this post is from Friday. I'm not sure what's up with the blue netting- is it stronger than the orange? a replacement for orange netting that may have gotten blown off the building last week?- but I do enjoy seeing UVa colors in the middle of Stamford. Go, Hoos, go.


patty said...

Great questions. The complete lack of responsibility the builder took for incidents 4 & 5 was ridiculous. Go get 'em, Talk.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic...coudn't have summed it up better. Very valid questions and once that every citizen of Stamford deserves ansers to..espcially those driving under the building and the to be built Ritz (UBS will be in the shadow of the Ritz...what do you think will happen if a piece of anything whizzed into UBS? They will sue Capelli so fast his head will spin..)

Anonymous said...

They could put the glass exterior curtain wall on the building sooner to prevent this kind of thing, but once they do that they have to bring all material into the building via elevator. It's far more efficient to load material into the building via crane but clearly they had their chance. I wouldn't disqualify them from the Ritz, but they need to know that they will be kicked off the Ritz job if they f up again.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the city should impose stiffer penalties for this type of incident. My suggestion would be that for every piece of debris that falls off, they have to sell one unit in the building to actual poor people. They would clean up their act in a heartbeat.

You Missed Your Calling said...

Great questions -- couldn't have said it better myself! I hate this building all the ineptitude that it's unearthed!

Spike and Roxy said...

Obviously I'm the minority (plus I live in Norwalk so my opinion doesn't really matter) but I think the Trump Parc is awesome. It's so freakin' big, you can see it from everywhere.

So a few pieces of debris fell off the building. Accidents happen, that's why pencils have erasers.

That being said, I was freaking ou the other day when I came to the traffic light @ Washington & Broad.

PS-Ivanka Trump is HOT. You're fired.

Anonymous said...

So they were taking down the crane over the weekend. Closed off all the streets, cones up, cops parked blocking the road.

Were they looking at the traffic? No, do the Stamford polie ever direct traffic or do they sit and watch the construction instead?

Traffic backs up, they have their backs turned or they are sitting in their car, or they are on their cell phones, nobody knows what direction to go. Typical situation everytime they get hired to do this kind of work. The overtime description must not include directing traffic, so they dont.