Media Coverage


All the City’s Sidewalk Sheds

New York Times
June 14, 2018

Sidewalk sheds, those temporary metal-and-wood structures that can sometimes feel creepy to walk under, are everywhere in New York City. They aren’t pretty, but they do perform the important function of protecting pedestrians from crumbling building facades and other construction hazards above… A new website maintained by the Department of Buildings is updated daily with information about every shed in the city. This week’s chart offers a recent snapshot.


A Year Has Passed Since the Grenfell Tower Fire

NY Magazine
June 14, 2018

The obvious question: If dozens of Londoners can die in a single night from a combination of lax regulations and wishful thinking, do Americans face the same dangers? Not exactly the same ones, no. Grenfell Tower’s aluminum panels, with their combustible polyethylene core, are prohibited in New York, and probably everywhere in the U.S. (It’s hard to be certain about that because building codes vary from state to state and city to city.) New York’s Department of Buildings keeps a list of specific products that have been approved for use. A building owner who wants to add some new technology to that list must hire an independent consultant to follow a protocol called NFPA 285, which describes in detail how to test whether a building will burn from the outside. “You have to get it tested by someone qualified,” says Gus Sirakis, assistant commissioner for technical affairs at the Department of Buildings. “It’s not just PR.”


Inspectors ensure ride safety before Feast of St. Anthony

News 12 Bronx
June 13, 2018

City building inspectors worked to ensure ride safety ahead of the start of the annual Feast of St. Anthony on Wednesday. The Department of Buildings' elevator division inspects about 700 portable rides at city street fairs every year. The specialized unit is also responsible for checking about 200 permanent rides at places such as Luna Park in Brooklyn.


3 steps to make GIS part of a successful smart city

Smart Cities Dive
June 8, 2018

There’s a revolution in civic innovation taking place in most major cities around the world. One by one, cities are realizing the need to provide easy access to open spatial data and interactive map apps for partner agencies and local governments… o, conveying complex information to people who may not have a deep or professional understanding of it can be easier with data-driven maps and animated graphics. One example of this strategy is a comprehensive report of New York City’s elevators created by the Department of Buildings (DOB).


The challenge of zero net goals and Architecture 2030’s new Zero Code

AIA Knowledge Net
June 8, 2018

Gina Bocra, Chief Sustainability Officer at the NYC Department of Buildings, writes that Zero Code, released in April, is Architecture 2030’s proposal to guide jurisdictions to a different model building energy standard for new commercial, institutional, and mid- to high-rise residential buildings, one that is intended to achieve zero-net-carbon (ZNC) buildings. It’s based on ASHRAE 90.1-2016, which leading jurisdictions will be adopting over the next year or two. If you also read that as many jurisdictions will not be adopting it anytime soon, you would be correct; despite federal law that requires states to maintain an energy code that is consistent with the national standard, many states are one or two cycles behind, and some are even farther. But, one beautiful aspect of the new Zero Code is that it could actually be based on any energy standard; it’s not exclusive. A handy calculator has been created to assist the building team with predicting their renewable energy needs based on a number of codes, so maybe it’s a matter of adjusting the math.


DOB Commissioner on Inspectors, Violations, and Appeals

Habitat
June 4, 2018

Rick Chandler has been commissioner of the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) since 2014. He talked with Habitat recently about issues facing co-op and condo boards and their professionals


How inspectors ensure city amusement rides are safe

NY1
June 1, 2018

Each day from April to October as many as 10 city Department of Buildings elevator inspectors examine amusement park rides. Roughly 20 of the 44 elevator inspectors are qualified to clear rides for use.


Department of Buildings Conference Cites Risk Reduction as a ‘Moral Imperative’

Chelsea Now
May 16, 2018

Twelve construction workers died in 2017, a fatality number that has remained the same for the last three years. “The 12 fatalities are unacceptable,” said Timothy Hogan, NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) Deputy Commissioner, Enforcement. He was speaking to over 350 building professionals at the DOB’s eighth annual Build Safe/Live Safe conference on May 10… Whether the topic was structural stability, gas work, excavation or classifying housing, the emphasis never veered from what could be done to keep the almost 160,000 workers at our city’s construction sites from harm, not to mention the rest of us who walk under scaffolding and around big machinery every day.


An Exclusive Interview with DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler

Habitat
May 15, 2018

Rick Chandler has been commissioner of the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) since 2014. He talked with Habitat recently about issues facing co-op and condo boards and their professionals.


DOB takes construction safety on the road

Real Estate Weekly
May 14, 2018

The Department of Buildings is taking construction safety on the road this week in an annual effort to keep New York and New Yorkers safe. Construction Safety Week serves to reinforce DOB efforts during an unprecedented construction boom, with record numbers of permits issued and workers employed in the building trades. For Construction Safety Week, DOB staff are fanning out across the five boroughs to raise awareness about new construction safety regulations signed into law by Mayor de Blasio in 2017.


DOB to hike penalties for violating stop-work orders

The Real Deal
May 11, 2018

The city will soon bump up fines for violating stop-work orders on construction sites, adding another $1,000 to penalties imposed for first-time offenses. Starting June 18, the Department of Buildings will impose penalties of $6,000 for initial offenses and then $12,000 for every subsequent violation. Currently, the agency charges $5,000 for the former and $10,000 for the latter.


Comisionado de DOB cara a cara con trabajadores

Telemundo
May 10, 2018

“Deberíamos estar más indignados”, dijo el comisionado del Departamento de Edificios.


La seguridad en obras llega a jornaleros e indocumentados en NYC

El Diario
May 10, 2018

“Le va a parecer algo cursi lo que le voy a decir pero lo que queremos es que la gente vaya a trabajar, lo haga y al final de la jornada vuelva a su casa a disfrutar de su hogar y su familia”. Esta dinámica diaria para muchos trabajadores es algo que el comisionado del Departamento de Edificios (DOB en sus siglas en inglés), Rick Chandler, quiere que lo sea sin excepciones en la construcción, ya se sea empleado especializado de una constructora, miembro de sindicato o jornalero indocumentado como el ecuatoriano Edgar Pazmiño quien no volvió a ver a su familia cuando dejó su casa para ir a trabajar el pasado 13 de marzo.


7 On Your Side Investigates: Bronx tenants without cooking gas for nearly a year

WABC
May 7, 2018

7 On Your Side Investigates found out a mistake by Con Edison had caused an confusion among the building owner, the hired contractors, and gas workers, which led to an unnecessary delay. Workers for Con Edison had been refusing to turn the gas on due to a partial vacate order on the property from the ceiling collapse. The New York City Department of Buildings said that order should not have kept Con Edison from doing its job.


NYC On the Lookout for Boom Trucks Being Used Improperly

WNBC
April 19, 2018

Inspectors from the Department of Buildings are on the lookout for improper and illegal use of knuckle boom trucks. These trucks are popular at job sites because they can respond quickly and have a boom that can lift up to 100 feet. However, when used improperly these trucks can present real danger.


Human Remains Found in Routine DOB Search

WNBC
April 16, 2018

A pair of Buildings Department inspectors discovered cremated remains in a Harlem building.


Curved Escalators, Penthouse Elevators, Giant Wheels, and Other Sweet Ways New Yorkers Get Up and Down

WNYC
April 13, 2018

If you thought elevators were sad little boxes where strangers go to avoid eye contact with each other, think again. Ferris Wheels, parachute jump rides, dumbwaiters and giant freight elevators are all included in New York City's survey of vertical transportation options. And, as you'd expect, the city isn't short on ways to move up and down. There are 62,000 passenger elevators in the city, according to the Department of Buildings' new interactive project, Elevator Report 2017. The runner-up, Los Angeles, only has 25,000. Here are a few of our favorite examples of New York City's elevator supremacy—past, present and future.


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About NYC’s Elevators

Curbed
April 12, 2018

New York City’s elevators make a staggering estimated 35 million passenger trips each day. That’s one of the standout statistics in a comprehensive new elevator report put out by the city’s Department of Buildings. This first ever elevator report covers all devices under the DOB’s jurisdiction that went up and down in the year 2017. That list includes passenger elevators, freight elevators, escalators, dumbwaiters, and wheelchair lifts among others.


New DOB Map Shows Sidewalk Sheds in NYC Stretch Almost 270 Miles

AM New York
April 11, 2018

The Department of Buildings released an interactive map Wednesday that shows all active permits for sidewalk sheds across the five boroughs. Often confused with scaffolding, the sheds are required for any construction work or building renovation project involving facades so that pedestrians can walk underneath protected from debris. The map allows New Yorkers to see the age, borough, community board, permits and other details for every sidewalk shed in the city, according to the DOB.


New Tool Tracks Scaffolding in NYC

WNBC
April 10, 2018

A new tool released by the NYC Department of Buildings is available to New Yorkers trying to figure out how long so-called zombie scaffolding in the city.


7 On Your Side Investigates joins DOB on surprise crane inspections

WABC
April 4, 2018

High winds are not uncommon in New York City and across the Tri-State Area and come with a warning to construction crews to make sure huge cranes are properly secured. The Department of Buildings made surprise inspections Wednesday to check if construction companies were in compliance, and 7 On Your Side Investigates Jim Hoffer was along for the ride.


Tenant-safety is DOB top priority

NY Daily News
March 26, 2018

In the last two years, DOB and the city/state Tenant Harassment Task Force, of which we are a member, conducted more than 1,800 tenant-safety inspections and issued more than 1,300 violations. Task Force investigations have led to unprecedented penalties for bad-actor landlords, including jail time. DOB also worked closely with members of the City Council to pass 12 pieces of legislation to protect tenants and target bad actors. We are proud of our work to protect tenants.


How Safe is the City’s Scaffolding?

PIX 11
February 12, 2018

Spend five minutes in New York and you will end up walking under some of the nearly 300 miles of scaffolding in the city. PIX 11 investigated how safe all of it is, and why it never seems to go away.


DOB Won’t Collect Personal Information on Undocumented Construction Workers

The Real Deal
March 29, 2018

The Department of Buildings will not collect personal information from undocumented construction workers despite a new law that will require officials to keep track of safety training completed by laborers. The City Council approved a construction safety bill in September, which requires workers to complete at least 40 hours of safety training by 2020. DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler said on Wednesday that the city will use ID numbers rather than personal information to keep track of workers who have gone through the necessary training, Crain’s reported.


Travel Advisory Issued as Snow Expected to Slam NYC this Weekend

PIX 11
February 16, 2018

NYC Emergency officials have issued a hazardous travel advisory for Saturday evening through Sunday morning due to snow that is expected to slam the area. DOB has issued a weather advisory reminding property owners, contractors and crane operators to take precautionary measures and secure their construction sites, buildings, and equipment during this weekend’s winter weather. If sites are not secured, the Department will take enforcement action - issuing violations and stop-work orders, where necessary. DOB is reminding all construction contractors and property owners to secure their work sites and buildings in advance of the inclement weather.


DOB: Collapsed SoHo Shed a Result of Cutting Corners, Could’ve Been Prevented

WABC-7
January 30, 2018

Poor design, poor construction, and a rubber-stamp approval by an engineer who self-certifies his own work: It was a perfect storm of incompetence, which is what Eyewitness News Investigates has discovered happened to a scaffolding shed that blew down last fall in Manhattan… We've now learned that the builder, Rock Group, constructed an inferior shed that lacked the required structural support to withstand winds. The DOB also found that the engineer, Daniel Odigie, submitted a poor shed design, and an agency spokesman said Odigie is now barred from filing any future shed permits with the city, forever.


How a Team of New York City Inspectors Helped Puerto Rico After Maria

The New York Times
January 14, 2018

The Department of Buildings sent a 14-member team to inspect damage to homes and government buildings after Hurricane Maria slammed into the island in September. Inspectors assessed nearly 5,100 structures, helping local officials understand the magnitude of the destruction.


Tips to Prevent Ice, Snow From Dangerously Falling Onto a Street

NY1
January 9, 2018

A chunk of ice fell from a building facade on Charlton Street in SoHo around 5 p.m. Tuesday, crushing part of a car parked on the street below. No one was hurt, and city firefighters cleared all remaining ice from the building. But with the city warming up in the wake of Thursday's snow storm, the city building department has advised New Yorkers to do their part to clear their properties so ice or snow does not fall into the street and potentially injure anyone or damage any other property.


Spotlight on Construction

City & State New York
December 20, 2017

In New York state, construction is king. From massive infrastructure projects, such as the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge with the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, to the constantly evolving urban landscape of New York City, the state has one of the most active, storied and experienced building industries in the country. To better understand a few of these issues and where they stand as state lawmakers gear up for another legislative session, we spoke with Rick Chandler, commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings.


Construction Permits and a New York Building Boom

The New York Times
November 30, 2017

New York City has introduced a new website that gives the public a peek at Department of Buildings data across the boroughs. Among the insights it offers is a rundown of construction permits issued between 2000 and 2016. The types of building permits and where they were issued tell the story of recent growth in the city.


Check Out DOB’s Flashy Analysis of 20 Years of Construction

The Real Deal
November 16, 2017

The Department of Buildings on Wednesday unveiled a comprehensive analysis of construction volume in the city dating back nearly 20 years. The “NYC Construction Dashboard” highlights the volume of permits — for new buildings, renovations, minor alterations and demolitions — issued during the third quarter of 2017. Through a series of interactive maps and charts, the dashboard compares the year’s latest data with that of previous quarters, dating back to 2000. The DOB will update the charts quarterly, tracking both newly issued permits and those that have been renewed.


NYT: Our First Responders in Puerto Rico

The New York Times
September 28, 2017

Our city is home to 700,000 Puerto Ricans. And since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico last week, killing at least 10 people and leaving the area on the verge of a humanitarian crisis, New York has ramped up its relief efforts… There are now more than 140 city personnel on the ground in Puerto Rico. Among them: New York Task Force One, our urban search and rescue team; workers from the city’s Buildings Department who have expertise in inspections; members of our Police and Fire Departments who specialize in structural collapses and water rescues; and members of both departments’ Hispanic societies.


Alert Building Inspectors Avert Disaster in Queens

PIX 11
August 31, 2017

Half a dozen construction workers were within seconds of disaster when the sharp eyes of two building inspectors noticed the top of the Queens building was about to collapse. Building inspectors Joseph Martucci and Johnny Mendez were examining gas lines in a house across the street when their eyes shifted to the house being renovated. They quickly spotted movement that could trap a worker. He and Mendez dashed to the site and shouted for the other workers to get out of the way.


Buildings Department Investigates Illegal Home Conversions

PIX11
August 31, 2017

Illegal home conversions are a key issue in several city council races among the five boroughs. The New York City Department of Buildings has thousands of open complaints, which is why each week, several marshals investigate the complaints with one goal in mind: keeping New Yorkers safe.


City Cracks Down on Oversized SoHo Retailers

New York Post
May 20, 2017

The city has cracked down on oversized Soho shops that have operated for years despite zoning laws prohibiting the mammoth retailers. The city Department of Buildings slapped five stores — Zara, Uniqlo, Hollister, Topshop and American Eagle — with violations for exceeding the 10,000-square-foot limit in the area. Residents have long complained that the stores are bad neighbors with excessively bright lighting, noisy nighttime deliveries and special events that draw excessive crowds.


DOB Cracks Down on Alleged Abusers of Speedy Permit Privileges

The Real Deal
May 5, 2017

In the past month, the DOB has cracked down on several alleged “bad actors” who violated city construction codes and zoning resolutions by giving professionals a choice: Either forfeit their privileges or prepare to fight for them in court.


New York Has 280 Miles of Scaffolding, and a Map to Navigate It

The New York Times
May 2, 2017

The big blue dot on the map is not a subway stop, historical site or destination restaurant. Instead, it is another New York City landmark: scaffolding. The dot marks a wood-and-steel frame covering the front of a long-unfinished project on a brownstone-lined block in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn… The Buildings Department has taken stock of scaffolding and created an online system to better track the structures at a time when there are more of them than ever as older buildings need work and a construction boom produces more towers. In a sweep last year, building inspectors checked every piece of scaffolding and while most needed to remain for safety, about 150 were ordered dismantled because work had been finished.


DOB to Streamline Construction App Process

The Commercial Observer
April 20, 2015

On April 20, 2015 the Commercial Observer reported on the Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler announcing the Get Back To Building Program, which is designed to get delayed jobs back on track and construction workers back to work.


A Conversation with Rick Chandler, New York City's Buildings Dept. Chief

New York Times 
March 24, 2015

On March 24, 2015 the New York Times reported on an interview that was held with Commissioner Rick D. Chandler. The Commissioner discussed his interest in returning to lead the agency where he began his career in construction. He outlines goals he has for increasing efficiency and customer service at the Department including expanding online filing of jobs.


City Buildings Commish Aims to Step Up Agency's Act

Crain's New York Business
December 9, 2014

On December 9, 2014, Crain's New York Business reported Rick Chandler, the new head of the Department of Buildings, promises to fill gaps in the agency's problem-plagued electronic-filing process, do inspections during off-hours for a fee and add needed staff.


DOB Commissioner, Real Estate Leaders Push Greener Buildings

The Commercial Observer
September 23, 2014

On September 23, 2014 the Commercial Observer reported on Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler delivering the keynote speech at the Urban Green Council Conference. During his speech, the Commissioner discussed the Mayor de Blasio's plan to cut the city's emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

 

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