CALGARY Three years after a child was struck and killed byfalling debris from a highrise construction site, the city ismaking major demands on developers for safety plans. New requirements will force building developers to submit publicprotection site safety plans before they will be awarded buildingpermits. The new mandatory requirement applies to construction projects thatare five storeys or greater, the city announced Tuesday. The change was sparked by the August 2009 death of three-year-oldMichelle Krsek, who was killed by a steel bundle that fell from adowntown work site along 9th Avenue S. |
Two construction companies were each fined the maximum $15,000. Ajudge called the safety code penalty woefully inadequate. News that the city is being tougher on developers to be safer iswelcomed by Krsek s father. I m still sad, but it will be nice to change something for thefuture, said Milo Krsek. In the wake a number of high-profile incidents in the last fewyears involving building material blowing off Calgary highriseconstruction sites, authorities pledged a series of safety changes.
The city has already moved ahead with plans for the early-warningweather forecasting alert system which may be the first of itskind. There is also a bylaw in the works to hold building ownersaccountable for maintaining buildings and securing hazards. I think all of council will be pleased to see this move ahead,there have been too many incidents of unsafe buildings, said Ald.Druh Farrell, who represents Ward 7, where Krsek was killed. Wehave a responsibility to ensure the safety of the public.
Other incidents of debris falling off buildings is troubling, shesaid. In my view, the penalty would be more significant as well, Farrell said. The plans are intended to ensure the public is protected aroundconstruction sites at all times, said building regulations managerKevin Griffiths. We have worked closely with the construction industry in Calgaryto determine plan requirements and to develop a review process, Griffiths said.
The city took its cue from larger centres, including New York, hesaid. The city s development and building approvals department sayswhile the new review process will require the site safety plansbefore they will release a building permit, the plans are notrequired at application time. Our intention is to work with industry prior to construction toreview public safety measures, as well as throughout each phase ofconstruction, said building approval director StanSchwartzenberger. The changes couldn t have come quick enough, according to RobStewart, a safety expert. It s about time.
Everybody who is walking downtown will be verypleased, said Stewart. There are some buildings underconstruction I will not walk under. I m glad they were finallyable to get that through. Meanwhile, the city s investigation into material that came looseduring high winds at Western Canadian Place earlier this yearcontinues.
City officials are planning to introduce a bylaw to ensure regularexterior maintenance of buildings. The city wants a stronger bylawto hold building owners more accountable.
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