NYC Dept. of Buildings: No Records for Pre-9/11 WTC Elevator Rebuild, One of the “Largest, Most Sophisticated” Ever

 by Aidan Monaghan 


The New York City Department of Buildings (DoB) has reported within a June 6, 2011 Freedom of Information (FOI) response, that no records could be located regarding the following request for information pertaining to the massive elevator modernization project underway at World Trade Center buildings 1 and 2 until the very morning of September 11, 2001, one of the largest ever [1]. The DoB governs elevator construction and use within New York City.

An April 15, 2011 FOI appeal request sought:

“Permits or certifications provided by the NYC Department of Buildings regarding elevator modernization/renovation work performed at the former World Trade Center buildings 1 and 2 during the 1990s and 2000s.”

The DoB’s June 6, 2011 FOI answer reads as follows:

“BIS shows no elevator records for the time period in question.”

The DoB’s Building Information System (BIS) “is the Department of Buildings’ main database. The database was put into production in 1984 and supports Department functions with respect to: … Application Processing (application submission …)” [2]

The DoB’s description of its role regarding elevator installation and use within New York City: “The Department of Buildings’ Elevator Division oversees the use and operation of New York City’s elevators”. [3] Such duties include the receipt and issuance of construction applications and permits: “Applications and Permits; New Installations or Major Upgrades; File an Elevator Application (EA) to install a new device or perform a substantial upgrade, alteration, replacement or modernization to an existing device.” [4]

The New York City building code regarding elevator construction reads as follows: “SUBCHAPTER 18 ELEVATORS AND CONVEYORS; § [C26-1803.1] 27-1001 Permit required. – No construction, alteration or removal shall be commenced until a written work permit therefor shall have been issued by the commissioner” [5]

“Dear Mr. Monaghan

The New York City Department of Buildings (“the Department/DOB”) is in receipt of your April 15,2011 letter appealing the Department’s February 28, 2011 letter that acknowledged receipt of your FOIL request letter and advised you that it was currently working to determine if it had any of the requested documents. DOB’s letter further advised that it would notify you within 30 business days regarding the status of your request. You are treating this determination as a constructive denial based on the fact that the Department did not provide an update within the 30 days as stated, and that the Department is still working on your request.

Your FOIL request asked for the following DOB records:

“Copies of inspections and certifications records issued by the New York City Department of Buildings, pertaining to construction projects performed at the World Trade Center Buildings 1 and 2 between January 2000 and January 2002.”

“Permits or certifications provided by the NYC Department of Buildings regarding elevator modernization/renovation work performed at the former World Trade Center buildings 1 and 2 during the 1990s and 2000s.”

According to the Department’s Building Information System (“BIS”), there was a complaint registered on January 11, 2001 at 1 World Trade Center, but the Department did not inspect in view of a lack of jurisdiction. Nor are there records of the Department having inspected 1 World Trade Center during the time period in question for any other reason. There are no records of complaints filed or inspections conducted at 2 World Trade Center for the period requested.

The Department of Buildings records show no violations issued during that period, so there would be no certification records.

BIS shows no elevator records for the time period in question.

Therefore, the Department has no records responsive to your request.

This constitutes the Department’s final determination.”


[2] The Buildings Information System
[3] Elevators….
[4] Elevators: Applications and Permits….
[5] REFERENCE MATERIALS: 1968 New York City Building Code


2 thoughts on “NYC Dept. of Buildings: No Records for Pre-9/11 WTC Elevator Rebuild, One of the “Largest, Most Sophisticated” Ever

  1. The Elevator World article pdf is cached here:

    Elevator System
    A conventional elevator system would have taken up half the space of the lower floors. A novel system employing express and local elevators was developed by Otis Elevators. The express elevators took people to “sky lobbies” on the 44th and 78th floors, where they could board local elevators. (See this schematic.) This system halved the number of elevator shafts that would have been required in a conventional system, and resulted in shorter average transit times for tenants.

    A simplistic floor plan and section dwgs showing the elevators are here:

  2. A Cover-Up Where There Shouldn’t Be One?
    Vote up! Vote down!
    The Port Authority of NY/NJ’s excuse for missing WTC records was their loss within the destroyed WTC buildings. What excuse would the NYC DoB have? Might one find these and other missing records under Mayor Bloomberg’s mattress?

    It seems that one “back door” means of investigating with subpoena powers, the origins of the nano-thermitic incendiary material discovered in the World Trade Center (WTC) dust [1], would be a class action civil damages lawsuit comprised of willing 9/11 victim family members and survivors, based on the apparently unlawful presence of these hazardous nano-thermitic incendiaries within the WTC towers immediately prior to September 11, 2001. Such a complaint could proceed under the position of attributing culpable negligence to the Port Authority of NY/NJ and construction contractors assigned by them, for being the likely reason these materials became present within the buildings. Such a civil complaint could reasonably allege, that these nano-thermitic incendiaries: 1). contributed to the fires already present in both buildings and or; 2). somehow contributed to the possibly related and well documented accelerated corrosion [2] (and thus weakening) of WTC structural steel noted by official studies and contributed to the building collapses and loss of life that ensued.

    Perhaps most importantly, such a court action could create subpoena opportunities for otherwise inaccessible records and personnel recollections of the private contractors utilized by the Port Authority of NY/NJ; city, state or federal work-site inspectors; recollections of property engineers; records of project construction materials and methods utilized; names of providers of such materials and even access to and further study of other officially known WTC dust samples, that are now beyond reach. Any suspect information obtained during discovery could bolster already existing evidence of potential foul play capable of generating a future official investigation.

    Construction contractors were apparently assigned by the Port Authority of NY/NJ to perform extensive pre-9/11 renovations known to be underway until the very morning of 9/11 upon the supporting steel structures within the WTC tower elevator shafts [3].

    An official investigation may still be years away (if ever), but the type of relatively immediate civil action described above could yield the kind of investigative opportunities we all seek.

    [1] Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe
    [2] The “Deep Mystery” of Melted Steel
    [3] Port Authority of NY/NJ: Records For Reported WTC Renovation Work Destroyed On 9/11

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