Should Architects Be Allowed to Assist in Disaster Recovery?

After Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of architects and engineers offered their services to assist an overwhelmed NYC Department of Buildings in assessing storm-damaged properties. So why were they turned away?

By Jonathan Nettler

Published: Feb 22, 2013

Matt Chaban examines how New York's lack of Good Samaritan laws, and fears of lawsuits, prevented hundreds of willing architects and engineers from helping in post-Sandy building evaluations.

"For more than a decade now, following a spate of lawsuits stemming from work they did at Ground Zero and got sued for subsequently, architects, engineers and contractors have been pushing for their own Good Samaritan protections in Albany," notes Chaban. "With Sandy as their rallying cry, they are making a renewed push, arguing that having such protections in place would help the city be better prepared for the next disaster."

"What building professionals in New York want is the sort of protection their colleagues in 24 states already have. Many of those states, including California, Colorado, Florida and Louisiana, are places better accustomed to natural disasters that only now, courtesy of rising sea levels, seem to be increasingly in the cards for New York as well."

"Staten Island Assemblyman Michael Cusick, a co-sponsor of the Good Samaritan bill, said that with the growing instances of disaster, the need for the bill is obvious: 'We saw the need for architects and engineers and professionals in times of disaster. We want to have them feel comfortable to help in a time of need.'"

"Mr. Morgan gave the bill only a 50-50 chance of passage. But he believes that unified support from architects, engineers and contractors, who do not always work together on legislation, could help."

Full Story: Fears of lawsuits hold back Sandy help

Source: Crain's New York Business, Feb 22, 2013

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