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Mayor’s DOB reforms are a wise investment for NYC

Mayor de Blasio recently announced a major budget increase and sweeping reforms for the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) that will allow for a number of initiatives to improve service and to increase transparency, public safety and integrity.

Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler will execute plans to enhance public and worksite safety, slash wait times and delays, and modernize all aspects of the agency.

DOB’s budget will receive $120 million over four years, which will allow for an additional 320 new positions, including 163 plan examiners and 38 development inspectors to be hired over the next two years.

Key changes at DOB include the creation of a risk management office to determine liability, a new industry code of conduct, and enhanced legal action against bad actors who repeatedly abuse the construction codes.

Photo by Steve Friedman
Photo by Steve Friedman

The reforms will also equip inspectors with efficiency-improving tablets, and redesign the DOB website to facilitate online plan review and submission, target auditing resources to higher-risk self-certified jobs, and add 10 project advocates over two years.  Additionally, the DOB will pilot after-hour and weekend inspections for a fee on high-rise inspections this summer.

A well-funded and sufficiently staffed Department of Buildings is a wise investment. These changes will lead to safer construction sites and better response times by government to the needs of the private sector.  These improvements, in turn, will lead to more economic activity, more jobs and more tax revenue to support vital government services.

There’s no other city agency with a more direct relationship with our industry.  The Department of Buildings is responsible for enforcing the New York City Construction Codes and Zoning Resolution on more than a million buildings and construction sites throughout the City. Issuing a record 140,000 construction permits in 2014, the daily operations of the Department impact the everyday lives of those that live, work and build in New York City.

REBNY has long been advocating for additional department resources to facilitate reduced plan examination and inspection times, and we applaud the Mayor and his administration for making this essential investment in the Department of Buildings.

In other REBNY news:

June 16th is our next Residential Breakfast Club Seminar! These seminars, free for REBNY members only, are where the best and brightest of our industry leaders gather to share their advice, secrets, and tips on how to get ahead in residential real estate. The seminar will take place in the Mendik Education Center from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and Yesenia Dhanraj can be contacted for further information at YDhanraj@rebny.com.

The next Residential Ethics Course for New Members is on June 23rd in the Mendik Education Center! This is a non-credit course required for new REBNY members, and registration is required. In order to register, please visit the events page at REBNY.com, or contact ResidentialEthicsCourse@rebny.com for assistance.

Request for Potential Pre-Kindergarten Spaces: The New York City Department of Education (DOE) is seeking to identify space for September 2015 that could be converted for pre-K programs in order to offer full-day, high-quality, free pre-K to every four-year old in New York City through the Pre-K For All Expansion.  To find out more information about the space requirements, or to submit a property for consideration, please visit the DOE’s web site at http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/EarlyChildhood/support/prekspace.htm.

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