Concrete that was poured over the past decade at more than 100 construction projects around New York City, including the Freedom Tower, the new Yankee Stadium and the Jet Blue Terminal at Kennedy Airport, has been or will be re-examined because a testing company did not do its job, according to state prosecutors. An indictment has been returned for a concrete-testing company. All of the structures are believed to be safe, according to city officials, although they might deteriorate sooner than expected if the concrete is below standards.
The testing company, Testwell Laboratories, the city’s leading concrete-testing firm, and several of its officials were indicted on charges that they failed to perform strength tests and billed clients, including a number of public agencies, for work that was never performed. The indictment charged Testwell, which is based in Ossining, New York, and its owner, V. Reddy Kancharla, with several crimes, including enterprise corruption, grand larceny and falsifying business records. Testwell’s vice-president, its director for concrete and masonry testing, and four other employees were also charged with enterprise corruption. That is the state equivalent of federal racketeering charges ‘ a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Five other Testwell employees were indicted on lesser charges.
As a precautionary measure, city officials have begun meeting with the owners of the buildings identified in the indictment to develop procedures to assess the structural integrity of these buildings. Prosecutors accused Testwell of cutting corners in evaluating the strength of concrete in various building projects. Testers, for instance, are supposed to put various types of concrete through an eight-week analysis that involves making several batches of concrete and storing them in controlled environments before recommending one formula for a project. But Testwell, on hundreds of occasions, skipped these tests, instead relying on strength estimates tabulated in a computer program, prosecutors said.
Many Testwell inspectors lacked certifications for their jobs, according to the prosecutors. The inspectors never conducted the majority of their field tests, instead falsifying results in their reports, prosecutors said. Prosecutors also accused Testwell of billing for work it never performed.
Source: New York Times
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