A New York Without Patricia Lancaster


Now that New York City exists in a post-Patricia Lancaster world, anyone even remotely involved with building, construction, and architecture, are going back and looking over their facts and figures, making sure everything’s up to code. After a string of highly unfortunate incidents, including accidents that involved deaths, like the collapsing crane in March, Lancaster, the Building Commissioner for the city, decided to step down just two weeks ago and now the city is doing everything it can to make sure all is up to snuff so, for at least a little while, things appear to be running smoothly and safely again. But hey, it’s big city government. So we’ll see how long that lasts. Here’s one of the particularly interesting bits, proving that things will always be shaky:

For the Bloomberg administration, Lancaster’s departure is a chance to lift the city’s requirement that building commissioners be licensed architects or engineers — a tactic intended to improve operations. “The rationale is to attract people from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, who have the necessary management skills, to oversee an agency with this number of employees and a large budget,” explains John Gallagher, a Bloomberg spokesman. But James McCullar, AIA New York chapter president, thinks the mayor’s plan could exacerbate the DOB’s troubles. “The commissioner needs to be someone with the hands-on experience to understand what the problems are that we encounter in construction,” he says.