As the largest modular building in the world goes up at Atlantic Yards, the Plumbing Foundation is filing a lawsuit against the city’s Department of Buildings.
The union’s suit states that the development is in violation of a city code stating that all plumbing and fire suppression work must be done by licensed workers.
The 32-story residential building is being fabricated in pieces at an offsite facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Once the pieces are ready to be assembled, they are brought to the site at Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue.
It is the first phase of a $4.9 million project that will include 15 residential and commercial buildings across the street from the Barclays Center.
According to the Plumbing Foundation, only the workers on the job site are licensed, while the factory workers are not.
In the lawsuit, the Plumbing Foundation notes a meeting that took place with city officials when the need for licensed workers to install all of the plumbing aspects of the project, along with the sprinkler system, was discussed.
However, according to Plumbing Foundation officials, following a meeting with the developer, Forest City Ratner, the city determined that it would only be necessary to have licensed workers at the job site, not in the factory as well.
The factory work is inspected by licensed professional before it leaves for the site.
“We think it is dangerous for unlicensed people to be doing the work,” said Steward O’Brien, executive director of the Plumbing Foundation. “They are really misleading everyone. Everyone has to be licensed. This will be the only project in New York City not being performed by licensed people.”
A spokesperson for Forest City Ratner denounced the lawsuit as frivolous.
“The work in the factory is being completed by union labor and approved by a licensed engineer, all according to city building codes,” said the spokesperson. “The units are then delivered and installed and all plumbing connections are made by licensed plumbers.
“It is false and they know it,” they said of the lawsuit.
In a statement, the Department of Buildings said it was satisfied with how the work was being handled.
“Licensed plumbers and fire suppression contractors in New York City are responsible for installing these systems at a construction site, not the manufacturing or assembly of these systems before they reach the site,” the statement read.