The skyscrapers of New York’s so-called Billionaires’ Row in Midtown Manhattan have something in common besides eye-watering prices: The city still considers them active construction sites, with a range of safety-related requirements that remain incomplete, sometimes years after occupancy.
All eight of the towers were missing final signoff from the Department of Buildings on elevators and plumbing; seven did not have final signoff on fire sprinklers and standpipes; and five were missing approvals from the fire department.
There are at least hundreds of buildings across the city that similarly have not received what is known as a final certificate of occupancy, and the system of temporary certificates that allows buildings to be occupied without these final approvals has been in place for decades.
But the stakes have never been higher. The surge of supertall towers near or above 1,000 feet tall across the city in the last decade is without precedent, and the buildings, skinnier and more complicated than ever before, are exposing gaps in the city’s enforcement strategy that could pose safety risks if left unchecked, according to interviews with engineers, urban planners and former employees of the Department of Buildings.
A building is not necessarily unsafe because it did not complete all of the oversight tasks required by the city, and there is no evidence of danger on the scale of the deadly condo collapse in Surfside, Fla., in June. All of the supertall buildings in…