Construction safety at Columbia during NY State on PAUSE

April 27, 2020

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent restrictions put in place by New York State, there were approximately 70 active construction jobsites at academic and residential buildings in and around the Morningside and Manhattanville campuses. Below is a summary of the state of these projects (current as of May 19, 2020). 

Projects that are deemed essential in accordance with New York State guidance on the updated Executive Order 202.6 have resumed or will be resuming in the coming weeks. All active projects have been filed and approved by the NYC Department of Buildings as essential construction projects. For all projects, construction managers and contractors have instituted stringent practices and procedures to protect the health and safety of construction workers and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Active or soon-to-be active construction projects include: 

  • The Columbia Business School and associated below-grade space, and Central Energy Plan Expansion at Manhattanville (see this update for more details about the stringent health and safety measures implemented at this site) 
  • Aquilos microscope project in the Jerome L. Greene Science Center 

  • 610 West 116th Street (necessary safety repairs to the water tower’s structural supports)  

  • 610 West 115th Street (necessary safety repairs to the water tower’s structural supports)  

  • 562 West 113th Street – McBain Hall (repairs to the building’s façade in accordance with the NYC Department of Building’s Façade Inspection and Safety Program) 

  • 362 Riverside Drive – Carlton Arms (repairs to the building’s façade in accordance with the NYC Department of Building’s Façade Inspection and Safety Program) 

  • 410 Riverside Drive (repairs to the building’s façade in accordance with the NYC Department of Building’s Façade Inspection and Safety Program)

  • Northwest Corner Building (repairs to the building’s façade to mitigate snow and ice hazards prior to the next winter)

This list will be updated with any additional projects that may resume. Any project that resumes will qualify as essential according to state guidance and will have all necessary permits. In addition, Facilities and Operations will require construction managers and contractors to provide a strict health and safety protocol for review and approval prior to any work beginning.

The health and safety of construction workers – along with implementing measures that will continue to reduce the spread of infection – were essential for Columbia before allowing any construction activities to resume.

All other previously active projects are currently suspended. For projects that are suspended, the NYC Department of Buildings is requiring that ongoing safety inspections be performed on all suspended construction projects, consistent with Columbia’s general practice. Inspections will be conducted weekly, as well as the day of and following severe weather where applicable. While on campus, inspectors are required to follow the latest COVID-19 health and safety guidance from the CDC to maintain safety, which includes wearing masks/face coverings and maintaining physical distancing.

For any questions about this work, email projx@columbia.edu.