Construction Today - June 2017 - 25
that safety is a
Alessio adds that communicating with
subcontractors is also a vital part of any
successful project. "We do have excellent
working relationships with our subcontractors," Alessio notes. "But at the same time, we
do want to open our doors to multiple bids
per trade, to encourage competition."
For Alessio, it is also important to make
sure there is adequate representation of
minority and women-owned businesses on
Sweet's projects. "With many of our projects
we would like 20 percent minority participation," Alessio says. "And so we work hard to
meet those goals."
In addition to helping women- and
minority-owned businesses, there is also a
consistent effort to stay active in the broader
New York community. "We're very active
with Saint Dominic's Home," Alessio says,
referring to a nonprofit Catholic agency that
cares for individuals with developmental disabilities. Sweet holds
fundraisers twice a year for the organization. In addition to that,
Sweet contributes to Eger Nursing Home on Staten Island, which
the company built from the ground up. The company is also very
active in an organization called Outreach, which offers alcohol and
drug abuse treatment services for both adolescents and adults in
New York communities. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Sweet also
partnered with the city's "Build it Back" program.
As Sweet Construction has grown in its 100-plus years of business,
its commitment to the community and its clients proves that the
company has indeed remained small enough to care.
Build it Back
Build It Back is a New York City program designed to assist homeowners, landowners and
tenants in the five boroughs whose primary homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The
goal of NYC Build It Back is to help those residents affected by the hurricane to return to
safe housing by addressing unmet housing recovery needs.
Though the program began in 2013, the de Blasio administration assumed control of it
in 2014 and implemented creative solutions to get relief to homeowners and multifamily
property owners. As a result of these efforts, today there are more families moving back to
stronger homes and neighborhoods.
Robert DiSarro, a Sweet Construction superintendent, served on 10 Build It Back-sponsored homes. "As soon as the city gave us the OK to start, residents were thrilled," DiSarro
says. "The gratitude many homeowners had for our laborers who worked countless hours in
rain or snow on these homes was evident. We were thankful Sweet was able to make significant strides to further the program's progress, and make very real and welcomed changes
in these people's lives."
All things considered, the program has done a remarkable job of serving its applicants.
As of June 13, 2017, 4,746 of the 5,174 homes that have required construction work, or
92 percent, had seen construction start. Further, 3,819 or 74 percent had seen construction
finished, according to the de Blasio administration. Overall, 95 percent of families that have
applied for the program have been issued a check or are in construction.
The average age of homes in the Build It Back Program is 81 years old, which predates
modern NYC building codes. After reconstruction began, it became clearer that more funds
would be needed to complete the Build It Back program. As a result, the de Blasio administration requested additional funds from the federal government, which were approved,
adding $500 million to the $1.7 billion estimate of costs needed to complete the program.
Out of a total $20 billion allocated to New York City by the federal government for Sandy
recovery, New York City's Build It Back will cost $2.2 billion and fortify homes and communities across New York City.
Additionally, there have been upgrades to New York City's building codes to address
potential new climate threats. Through the Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency, New
York City is implementing a comprehensive $20 billion resiliency program. With this funding,
New York City is building a stronger, more resilient New York by strengthening coastal
defenses, protecting infrastructure, strengthening communities and adapting buildings.
Such measures have included laying more than four million yards of sand in Coney Island
as well as the Rockaway peninsula. Nearly 10 miles of dunes have also been installed in
Staten Island as well as the Rockaway peninsula. $1.7 billion was also invested for the
Health and Hospitals Corporation, which operates the public hospitals throughout New York
City, including Bellevue, Coler, Metropolitan and Coney Island.
JUNE 2017 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM
COVER STORY: THE SWEET CONSTRUCTION GROUP
Both offices preach a culture of safety.
According to Snyder, all New Jersey employees are OHSA certified for construction safety
training. "Our guys really keep up with it,"
Snyder says. "And it's not just important for
us, it's also really important that the client
knows that safety is a huge concern of ours."
In addition to safety, another focus for
Sweet is communication, and that means
getting everyone involved, Alessio says. "We
constantly strive to be great communicators
with the clients as well as the architects and
the unions," Alessio says. "If we get everybody on board, we have a successful project."