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Falling Pipe Stalls Work on NYC Tower

Thursday, January 22, 2015

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Construction on the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere faced a temporary delay last week after an eight-foot-long pipe plummeted 81 stories to the Manhattan street below.

The New York City Department of Buildings issued a Stop All Work order Jan. 14, suspending construction activities on the 1,397-foot-tall 432 Park Avenue project for one day.

432 Park Avenue
Louis B / Creative Commons

An eight-foot-long pipe fell from the 81st story of New York City's 432 Park Avenue project. Work was halted while city inspectors investigated.

The order was sparked by a complaint regarding falling construction material, according to reports.

An eight-foot section of guard rail reportedly fell from an external construction elevator on the skyscraper’s 81st floor. The pipe landed on the street in front of an occupied building, according to the NYC Department of Buildings.

No one was injured in the incident.

Inspected for Safety

On Thursday evening, all six external hoist cars were inspected for safety by the hoist installation company and the city, reports note.

The Stop All Work order was “fully rescinded” following the inspection and work was able to resume Friday morning, the Department of Buildings said. But the cause of the accident was not released.

The project’s developers, Macklowe Properties and CIM Group, have not issued a comment on the incident. Nor has contractor Lend Lease.

Elite Address

Designed by Rafael Viñoly, the skinny tower offers some of the most luxurious, most expensive condominiums in Midtown Manhattan. (As of Wednesday, Jan. 21, the cheapest available unit on the building's website is a two-bedroom for $17.2 million.)

World Architecture News / Used with permission

In this video, the project's structural engineer describes how the super-slim skyscraper  is being designed and constructed.

The project, slated for completion in 2015, is the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere, according to the property’s website. Reports say the project cost $1 billion.

Structural Details

In a video posted by World Architecture News, the project’s structural engineer—Silvian Marcus, CEO of WSP Cantor Seinuk—described how the slender building took shape.

He explains that the project represents “a purity in engineering,” featuring a square center (about 30 feet long and 30 feet wide) that houses mechanical elements surrounded by 30-inch-thick walls made of reinforced concrete.

The square acts as the slim building’s “backbone.”

The building’s façade, made of beams and columns, also helps to support and frame the tower, Marcus said.

“From the core backbone to the outside perimeter is about 30 feet that is free of any columns, beams or any structural elements, so you can have partitions as you wish or if someone wants to take the entire floor and doesn’t want partitions—he wants a loft—people can use the entire floor as they desire,” the engineer said.

Fallen Debris

432 Park Avenue is not the only new project plagued with fallen debris.

Three large steel bolts have recently fallen from the new 47-story Leadenhall Building in London.

The project, known locally as the “The Cheesegrater,” is the tallest skyscraper in the city, at 734 feet. It was completed in September 2014.


Tagged categories: Access; Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Construction; Health and safety; Inspection; lift

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (1/22/2015, 8:44 AM)

While it's bad to drop a pipe off the elevator before you install it, I would be a LOT more concerned about the Cheesegrater where the falling parts are actually failing in service.

Comment from Stephen Dobrosielski, (1/23/2015, 8:02 AM)

Especially when those falling parts are holding the structure together. This is a followup to Tom Schwerdt's comment.

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