Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Construction Debris Not Tied to Any Codes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Construction Debris Not Tied to Any Codes

Article excerpt

Byline: Caren Burmeister, Shorelines staff writer

Some Jacksonville Beach residents are calling for tighter safety controls at construction sites after wind gusts from Hurricane Frances thrust a wood plank off scaffolding at a seven-story condo and into the bathroom wall of a nearby apartment.

No one was injured by the flying debris from the Beach Terraces Condominiums at 116 19th Ave. N. But some people are worried it could happen again, especially since the city's coast could eventually have 25 new high-rise condos.

No specific building codes require contractors to secure job sites before a hurricane, said Jon Hays, who heads Jacksonville Beach's building department.

However, the city has the authority to require that contractors secure their job sites, City Manager George Forbes said. City building inspectors visited construction sites Sept. 3 and asked workers to secure material and equipment in preparation for the Hurricane.

"We're disappointed that some of those contractors didn't do a better job," Forbes said. "We're going to work harder on that."

Niccole McCrary, who lives in the duplex apartment on 19th Avenue North, wasn't at home when the large wooden plank pierced the wall around her shower about 4 p.m. Sunday.

"The board just came through my house," McCrary said. "I'm glad I wasn't in the shower."

Leslie Lucero, a friend who lives nearby, called McCrary with the news.

"We saw the planks moving and debris whirling," Lucero said. "It seems to me there should be some sort of responsibility. This is why we have building codes."

Cullen Richart, a partner with HCM Construction, which is building Beach Terraces Condominiums, said the contractor took steps to secure the site Thursday, strengthening the connections between the scaffolding and the building and tying the planks down with wire. Richart said he doesn't understand how the plank broke free.

"We got several calls from neighbors," Richart said. "It must have been a tremendous burst."

While he said he understands the public's concern, Richart said crafting an ordinance to cover every situation would be difficult for the city. …

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