City suspends contractor after Astoria construction accident left three workers trapped

Photo by Robert Stridiron

A contractor that has racked up 14 violations and was at the scene of a construction accident that left three workers trapped under rubble in Astoria last week is now suspended from working in New York City.

The Department of Buildings suspended the registration of Ideal Builders and Construction, along with construction superintendent Fazal Hassan. The company has been issued 14 public safety violations in the last two years and though there were no injuries on their construction sites prior to the incident on June 20, the city ruled that the company poses “an unacceptable risk to workers and the public.”

The accident occurred on the afternoon of June 20 at 31-25 28th Rd., where Hassan and his team were adding another floor to a two-story house. The DOB found that the floor collapsed after Hassan allowed cinder blocks and heavy construction materials to be loaded on the third floor without getting an engineer’s assessment on the structural stability of the floor, which the city’s construction codes require.

During a press conference at the site, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that a crane was moving an array of building materials when they suddenly dropped, trapping the workers.

“One individual with serious injuries had removed himself from the building,” Nigro said. “Another was trapped, and was removed earlier in the operation. A third construction worker was trapped under a few thousand pounds of materials in the basement of the building.”

The city also found that Hassan was working as a construction superintendent on more than 10 buildings at the time of the accident. Under city law, superintendents can only oversee a maximum of 10 jobs at the same time.

“Cutting corners on the job site and improperly loading excessive weight on the third floor caused the collapse that pinned three workers last week,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. “Mr. Hassan and his firm neglected their duties on this and other construction sites and showed disregard for the lives of workers and the public. Bad actors in the construction industry need to get the message: the city will not tolerate those who endanger people’s lives.”