2018 Buildings Year In Review
2018 was a busy year for the Department of Buildings, amid the continued boom in construction activity in New York City. The agency implemented a number of new laws, reforms and rule changes that affect the construction and development industries across the five boroughs.
The first milestone date was reached for construction site safety training requirements in New York City on March 1, 2018, requiring all workers on site safety jobs in the city to have at least 10 hours of safety training. The next milestone, requiring workers on site safety jobs to have 30 hours of safety training, is coming up on June 1, 2019.
2018 was a big year for the rollout of our online portal DOB NOW. In December, Place of Assembly and Temporary Place of Assembly filings were moved to DOB NOW: Build in addition to other work types earlier in the year. We launched DOB NOW: Licensing with Journeyman Registrations, Gas Work Qualifications, and Welder Licenses in November. Elevator compliance filings were added to DOB NOW: Safety in September. And, DOB NOW: Inspections was expanded to allow for more kinds of inspection requests. As the agency continues to implement DOB NOW, the public will be able to do more and more transactions with DOB completely online.
Holding bad actors in the construction industry accountable has always been a top priority at DOB, and that was no different in 2018. New laws have increased penalties for working without a permit and working in violation of a Stop Work Order (SWO), while increasing reporting requirements for construction accidents. To help ensure compliance with the Code, DOB is staffing up across our enforcement units with new inspectors and support staff. New this year are DOB's Enforcement Action Bulletins, a monthly release which highlights the agency's actions to sanction bad actors under our jurisdiction, calling them out by name.
Improving the customer service experience across our various units has been a major goal for the Department since the launch of our Building Once City modernization plan. In October, DOB held a ribbon cutting for our new Customer Service Atrium located on the first floor of the DOB headquarters building at 280 Broadway in Manhattan. This public space is a one-stop shop for DOB customers and will host more than 150,000 transactions a year between members of the public and the Department. We also began modernizing how we issue violations in 2018, with our Mobile Summons Pilot Program. This program does away with handwritten violations, by enabling our DOB inspectors to use DOB NOW: Inspections to electronically issue and print OATH summons and DOB violations while out in the field, in an easier to read format, and available to the public on our website within a few days.
DOB, along with our partners at the city and state level, implemented a number of new reforms to fight construction-based tenant harassment. We cracked down on false filings related to occupied and rent-regulated buildings on construction documents, beefed up requirements for tenant protection plans, increased oversight of construction projects in occupied buildings, and created the new Office of the Tenant Advocate within the Department over the summer.
Some of our greatest strides in 2018 have been on the public transparency front, with the release of new public-facing digital analytics reports like our Real-Time NYC Active Major Construction Map, our Real-Time Sidewalk Shed Map, and DOB's comprehensive New York City Elevator Report. These interactive resources, combined with our continued data reporting both on our website and on the NYC Open Data portal are giving members of the public an unprecedented view of our changing city.
Stay tuned for more changes and updates in 2019!
Is Your Property Ready for Winter?
Winter is here, and DOB is reminding contractors and property owners that construction sites and buildings are required to be properly maintained.
DOB provides guidelines for winterizing construction sites and provides winter-weather tips for homeowners on our website. Multifamily building owners are also required to observe “Heat Season”, maintain minimum interior temperatures of at least 68 degrees during the day and 62 degrees at night between October 1st and May 31st.
Raising Awareness About Illegal Conversions
In an effort to educate the public about the dangers of illegal conversions, the Department recently teamed up with News12 to highlight the work of inspectors in DOB’s Quality of Life Unit in the Bronx and Brooklyn as they respond to complaints and investigate reports of suspected illegal conversions and illegal living spaces.
Reporting Rent-Regulated and Occupied Buildings on Construction Applications
As of December 18, 2018, applications in the Buildings Information System (BIS) will be stopped if data obtained from NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) indicates the building contains at least one rent-regulated unit and the owner checks ‘No’ in response to either statement in Section 26 of the PW1. If the answer to either statement is ‘No,’ the applicant must submit supporting documentation, such as an order or letter from HCR, to proceed with the application.
Applicants are reminded they must certify occupied units on the PW1 and identify the occupied units on the construction documents. If units are occupied, the applicant must submit a Tenant Protection Plan.
See the related Service Notice for more information.
Reminder: Unpaid Fines and Civil Penalties Can Lead to Revoked Permits
Based on Local Law 160 of 2017, DOB will seek to revoke active permits for buildings whose owners owe $25,000 or more to the city in unpaid fines, civil penalties, or judgments entered by a court or OATH.
The Department will send a letter to the owner, permit holder, and applicant notifying them of the Department’s intent to revoke the permit, and give them an opportunity to respond.
See the Service Notice for more details.
Major Disciplinary Cases
DOB publishes monthly bulletins detailing the agency's efforts to sanction and deter bad actors in the construction industry. You can find this information posted on the Enforcement Action Bulletin page of our website.
2014 Construction Code Updates
Update pages are printable inserts to keep your hard copy Construction Codes up to date.
All update pages for the 2014 NYC Construction Codes.
Local Law 117 of 2018 (effective 12/06/2018), A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to stove knob covers.
Local Law 191 of 2018 (effective 08/27/2019), A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York and the New York city building code, in relation to requiring carbon monoxide detectors in commercial spaces.
Local Law 195 of 2018 (effective 05/30/2019), A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, the New York city building code, the New York city mechanical code and the New York city fire code, in relation to approval processes for alternative automatic fire extinguishing systems, fire alarm systems, emergency alarm systems, fire department in-building auxiliary radio communication systems and fire protection plans.
Hearings + Rules
2018-013: Establishes acceptance criteria for Grade 100 high-strength steel reinforcing bars conforming to ASTM A1035/A1035M1 as an alternative material in the NYC Construction Codes.
Did You Know?
The NYC Benchmarking Law requires annual energy and water consumption data to be submitted for public disclosure annually by May 1st by owners of buildings that meet the criteria outlined in the law.
Buildings will now be given energy efficiency scores and grades for these buildings based on the benchmarking results for their energy and water consumption.
Rick D. Chandler, P.E., Commissioner