From the outside, a building’s exterior may seem empty.
But inside, a lot of work is going on, says Joe Niehaus, principal engineer at Peab Office Building, a new office building in San Francisco’s Bayview District.
The building, which was built in 2012 and will be the first office building for a company that sells appliances, is home to more than 400 engineers and designers.
Niejas company, which he calls Peab, also has an engineering office, but that’s not the same as the office.
“The building itself is not designed for the job,” he says.
“It’s designed to have an office, where you can have meetings, conferences, where we can talk about everything that we’re doing.”
The problem, says Niekas engineering director, is that the building was built with the intention of being used as an office building.
Nieshaus says the building is only used for meetings and other office work, and he and other engineers are being forced to stay in the building during their work hours.
In March, Peab filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, alleging that the city has violated state law by requiring engineers to live in a building that they are prohibited from using for work, which violates the state’s Fair Housing Act.
While Peab has not received any formal complaint from the city, Niebas lawsuit argues that the requirements to live inside the building violate the city’s Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires employers to offer housing at reasonable wages to employees.
Peab, which has been under investigation for a number of violations, including hiring workers who have been fired or suspended for conduct detrimental to the building’s health and safety, said in a statement that it was disappointed in the lawsuit.
As part of its settlement with Peab in late March, the city agreed to set up a team of engineers and architects to investigate whether Peab’s violations were intentional.
The team, which will be led by former federal prosecutor Mark M. Wigley, will report to the city attorney’s office.
“We are looking forward to having the city investigate Peab further and look into their compliance and management of the building,” said a statement from the office of San Franciscans Housing Authority (SFHA).
Peb has been a leader in San Jose, California for years, but it’s only recently that the San Francisco company was forced to leave the Bay Area, which is home of the tallest office towers in the country, and relocate to its new office in the City of Industry.
The company, whose name translates to “big city,” has about 15,000 employees in the city.