De Blasio Administration Announces New Measures to Expedite NYCHA Heating System Upgrades By Up to 20 Months

March 8, 2018

City presses for Design-Build from State, which would save an additional 12 to 15 months on these repairs

NEW YORK—The de Blasio Administration today announced measures to expedite major heating upgrades at public housing by 8 to 20 months, depending on the size of the project. In January, the Mayor announced $200 million in heating system upgrades at 20 developments experiencing chronic outages. The Administration conducted a review of NYCHA’s capital program and will make the scoping and design, procurement and construction processes more efficient. The City is also pressing the State to grant Design-Build authority, which would save an additional 12 to 15 months on these upgrades.

 “Our investment in new heating systems goes right to the heart of the biggest problems NYCHA residents face, and will make a difference thousands of them will feel,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are cutting through red tape to expedite these critically needed repairs for tenants, and urge our state partners to do the same by authorizing design-build immediately.”

“This interagency partnership is about looking at how we can all work smarter and more collaboratively in support of New York City residents,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “With the Mayor’s investment and commitments from our city agency partners, we are able to bring better quality heat service to 45,000 New Yorkers much faster. This is a tremendous effort from everyone involved.”

The Administration reviewed NYCHA’s capital program and identified several ways to expedite repairs by 8 to 20 months, depending on the size of the heating system, including:

  1. Design Phase: NYCHA will provide estimated load calculations to engineers to minimize pre-design services. They have also committed to reviewing fewer submissions from designers, and will create a single standard specification to streamline design. These steps will shave 6 months off what is normally a year long process. 
  2. Procurement:  NYCHA is seeking authority from the NYCHA Board to delegate authority for awarding contracts ahead of Board approval; the Board would ratify the contracts. This would cut 30 – 45 days each time a contract is awarded.
  3. Construction & Commissioning: DEP has agreed to expedite review and approval of NYCHA installations for usages, saving 3 weeks. NYCHA will also work with DOB to streamline the inspection and approval processes.

Since 2014, NYCHA has committed nearly $300 million in HUD funds to upgrade heating and plumbing at 100 developments. Also, more than $100 million of the $3 billion FEMA grant for Sandy Recovery and Resilience will fund replacement of 67 boilers at 17 developments, and NYCHA’s three in-progress Energy Performance Contracts include more than $40 million in heating-related improvements.

The de Blasio Administration has made an unprecedented commitment to preserve and strengthen public housing. This latest investment brings the Administration’s total commitment to $2.1 billion to support NYCHA’s capital infrastructure from Fiscal Year 2014 to Fiscal Year 2027 and $1.6 billion to support NYCHA’s operations from Fiscal Year 2014 to Fiscal Year 2022. This investment includes $1.3 billion to fix over 900 roofs, over $500 million to repair deteriorating exterior brickwork at nearly 400 buildings, and $140 million to improve security at 15 NYCHA developments.  The City waived NYCHA’s annual PILOT and NYPD payments to the City, relieving NYCHA of nearly $100 million in operating expenses a year. In January 2018, the Mayor announced $13 million to improve NYCHA’s response to heating emergencies this winter.

“Expediting the process to implement boiler replacements and other capital projects will improve the quality of life for many thousands of families and individuals in NYCHA apartments,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee. “I commend NYCHA, Mayor de Blasio and DEP for moving forward on these critical projects.”

“In February, I called and lead a hearing where my colleagues and I asked NYCHA to provide answers to and definitive plans on the Hot Water and Heating Crisis faced by thousands of residents. Since then, we have asked NYCHA to be transparent around what they’ve been doing to expedite the convoluted city procurement process. Today’s press conference is in response to addressing the immediacy and need to install heating systems and boilers. The Council looks forward to working with NYCHA and the residents on strategic plans to fix these problems,” said Chair of the Committee for Public Housing Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel.

Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Chair of Subcommittee on Capital Budget said: “As the weather grows more and more unpredictable, it has become even more important to replace and repair NYCHA's aging boilers. While I applaud the Administration for making a critical $200 million investment in repairing boilers in NYCHA buildings across the city, and thank them for today's announcement committing to finishing this work faster than anticipated, the fact remains that the Design Build model would allow for even faster work with even greater cost savings. We can all agree that heat in the winter is a basic right, but without the cost savings Design Build provides, these boiler repairs will be on the backs of taxpayers, including NYCHA residents themselves. I urge Governor Cuomo to authorize Design Build for New York City and help us deliver critical infrastructure projects to New Yorkers faster, better, and on budget.”

For too long NYCHA residents have been living in unacceptable conditions,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “Heat and hot water must be a basic right, which is why I was proud to allocate $500,000 in the past to fix boilers in developments in my district. These investments must go to where the aid is needed most and I hope the work gets done speedily and efficiently.”

“I am proud to work with my colleagues in the State Senate, the New York City Housing Authority, and my esteemed colleague Council Member Alicka Samuel on this plan to repair the heating systems on which more than 175,000 families depend. We shared a commitment to providing every NYCHA tenant with a safe, healthy, and – in these winter months – warm home. We will not leave anyone out in the cold, as we continue to monitor the implementation of this plan and, to the greatest extent possible, to expedite these repairs,” said Senator Roxanne Persaud.

"A speedy installation and set-up of boilers in my district and across the city are past-due. Many of the NYCHA developments are suffering from antiquated systems that have been ignored and have lacked crucial capital investments. As extreme weather conditions and frigid temperatures continue to affect our residents, I look forward to the city establishing a long-term strategy to remediate these conditions," said Assemblywoman Latrice Walker.

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