The office of New York City Department of Buildings (NYC DOB) Commissioner Rick Chandler, PE invited the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE) to attend an industry meeting held on Tuesday October 31st, 2017 which was intended to provide a presentation of DOB’s Progress Report highlighting their new online platform DOB NOW that continues to be improved. Attending the meeting on behalf of NYSSPE were Anthony Fasano PE, Executive Director, Joseph Pasaturo PE, Treasurer, and Rudi O. Sherbansky PE, NYC Regional Vice President.
During the meeting, Mr. Chandler discussed the DOB’s improvements made in reducing the time for DOB to accept development filing (first response) and perform required DOB inspections throughout the City. The slide presentation by Mr. Chandler showing DOB’s progress report will be available online on DOB’s websites within the next few weeks.
The presentation included statistical charts showing that the average time for a DOB plan examiner to respond with comments/objections to a New Building or Alt Type 1 filing was reduced from 11 days in 2015 to just 5.2 days in 2017. Alt Type 3 average response time was reduced to about 1 day. There were no statistics available regarding the total time it takes from initial filing to obtaining final plan approvals.
DOB Boiler inspections average response time in 2017 was about 3.1 days, Construction inspections average response time 2.3 days, cranes 2.2 days, electrical inspections 5.4 days, elevators 2 days, and plumbing 3.4 days. DOB Complaints response time was about 0.4 days for an A-Type complaint (hazardous) and 19 days for B-Type Complaint (administrative complaints, e.g. work w/out work permit). There were no statistics available regarding response time for Stop Work Orders and Site Safety Reviews.
The Presentation included an update on DOB Now filing system. DOB Now is accepting filing of required self-inspection reports for plumbing, elevator, cranes, facades, emergency response and boilers (among others). In 2017, about 10,000 boiler inspection reports and 6,000 facade inspection reports were filed through DOB Now. Additionally, DOB Now is accepting filing of plan applications for plumbing, standpipes, antennas, curb cuts, sheds, fences, scaffolds and signs. In or about December 2017, DOB Now will start accepting the filing of electrical and elevator work online.
The presentation included an update on the DOB Code Development process and the various committees assigned to revise or update the 2015 NYC Building and Energy Codes. The DOB, through the work of its committees, completed a revision of the 2016 Energy Code. DOB is also working on creating a separate Existing Buildings Code for alteration work on existing buildings and will present the first draft in or around 2019. DOB has recently put out an RFP to develop new waterfront regulations and waterfront construction codes of over-water structures. DOB stated that the goal is to reduce the regulatory burden.
The presentation included an update on the Construction Safety Report of injuries and fatalities. Construction injuries doubled over the past 3 years to about 501 injuries while fatalities were fluctuating between 8 to 13 per year. DOB attributes this increase to an increase in construction permits and construction jobs as well as the increase in reporting of minor injuries such as a thumb cut. Mr. Chandler also discussed various pieces of construction safety legislation introduced by City Council’s Housing and Building Committee and the cost burden of these bills on the construction industry. The proposed legislation doubles penalties for site safety violations as well as requires reporting injuries to OSHA, reporting to public, introducing new site safety supervisors, and Local Law 196 requiring workers to take 40 hours safety training plus 10 hours OSHA safety training.
There was no progress regarding the proposed law to increase the fees of pre-consideration and re-consideration applications to $1,500 and increase determination appeals to $2,500.
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