‘Negligent’ engineer suspended two years after Bronx building collapse

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New York Construction Report staff writer

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Jimmy Oddo have released details of an agreement with professional engineer Richard Koenigsberg this week, concerning his negligence in inspecting a Bronx building that partially collapsed in December 2023.

Koenigsberg agreed to a voluntary two-year suspension of façade inspections under Local Law 11, along with a $10,000 fine.

Following the collapse at 1915 Billingsley Terrace in Morris Heights, DOB temporarily suspended Koenigsberg’s ability to conduct inspections.

“Public safety in our city relies heavily on the competence and expertise of state-licensed private engineers, especially their ability to properly diagnose building conditions,” said DOB Commissioner Oddo. “When a private engineer fails to demonstrate this competency, our construction professional disciplinary team will not hesitate to take quick action to curtail their ability to work in our city.

“Decisive actions, like the one announced today against Mr. Koenigsberg, send a clear message to the industry that we will not tolerate sloppy work that puts our fellow New Yorkers in danger.”

According Oddo, the investigation team is looking at “all of the factors that could have contributed to the collapse, completing numerous field inspection sweeps of other properties across the city associated with the responsible parties at this building, and pushing the landlords to make needed repairs to 1915 Billingsley Terrace in an effort to get displaced families back into their homes both safely and as quickly as possible.”

The collapse, on Dec. 11, 2023, led to a full vacate order for the building. There were no fatalities or serious injuries.

Koenigsberg had misdiagnosed a load-bearing column in his engineering drawings, leading to the collapse, Otto confirms in his statement.

Under the agreement, Koenigsberg will wind down his business over four months, with a third-party engineering firm reviewing active jobs. Completed inspections from 2023 will face enhanced scrutiny from DOB engineers. DOB has audited 368 reports by Koenigsberg and shared its findings with the state oversight body.

This settlement avoids a formal disciplinary hearing, and DOB is reviewing regulations related to façade inspectors’ qualifications to enhance public safety measures. Investigations into the collapse continue, with potential further actions against those responsible.

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