For Immediate Release
October 16, 2019
NEW YORK, NY – Today, the Department of Buildings announced the release of a new, interactive map showing the location of all 1,056 building construction projects across New York City where DOB has issued permits allowing construction work to proceed outside of normal business hours. The map, which is updated daily, includes links to the Department’s Buildings Information System (BIS) public database, which has further information about these permits, including what type of work is being performed, the hours of the permitted work, and the reason why the after-hours permits were granted. The new map will give members of the public a tool to confirm whether construction projects on their block have the proper permits to work at nights and on weekends. An after-hours variance (AHV) permit is required to perform any building construction work in New York City before 7:00 am, after 6:00 pm, or on the weekend.
“This real-time map will provide New Yorkers with greater transparency about after-hours construction in their neighborhoods, and give the public a new data-driven tool to determine whether the work they see or hear has the proper permits,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “Our principal concern in regulating construction is the safety of everyone who lives, visits and works in our city – and After Hours Variance permits are another tool to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.”
“This is a new powerful tool that will allow for greater transparency into construction across New York City by allowing New Yorkers the ability to see if construction sites have the proper permits to work after hours,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “This sort of transparency gives New Yorkers up-to-date details on construction in their neighborhood, allowing them to report violations in real-time.”
After-hours variances are granted primarily when it’s safer or less disruptive to a neighborhood to perform the work at night or on weekends. For example, variances are granted for work done near schools or public spaces, for heavy construction work that might require sidewalks to be closed to protect pedestrians, or for work that would cause traffic gridlock if it’s done during the day. Certain types of work such as concrete pours and adjustments to cranes need to be performed when there is minimal pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area, or when stopping them midstream may pose a hazard to workers and the public.
In addition to the release of this public real-time map, the Department will also be issuing weekly reports on AHV permits to local elected officials and community boards citywide, so that they have relevant data about late night construction going on in their districts. These moves are aimed at bringing an added level of transparency to New York City’s construction industry.
“When the City adopts real-time models to track performance, it not only makes government more responsive to public concerns, it also fosters a culture of accountability. The After-Hours Variance Map is a powerful new tool that will allow New Yorkers to report violations and be more in-the-know about construction happening in their neighborhood. I applaud the Department of Buildings on this forward-thinking approach, and encourage other agencies to follow suit,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.
“I believe that the more publicly available data, the better, which is why I pushed for years to have this information available,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This public map is a great first step. In partnership with BetaNYC, my office experimented with an AHV data map—but had to use the tricky and time consuming process of importing all of the data, or scraping. I look forward to seeing even more transparency by having this data released as part of the open data bill that I introduced years ago.”
“I am pleased to see another interactive tool available to the public that increases access to information about construction sites and projects. I encourage the Department of Buildings to continue taking a customer-service oriented position in the development of policies and tools,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings. “Often times, after-hour variance permits are issued for construction work that may be dangerous or inconvenient during the day. This tool, which increases transparency, makes it easier for the public to understand what kind of work is being done, and if it is being done legally.”
“The high commercial and residential density, heavily congested streets and aging infrastructure of Lower Manhattan mean that after hours construction can be burdensome,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “But even when residents complain there is often very little information publicly available. The Department of Building’s new interactive map will provide New Yorkers with real-time data on after-hours variance permits. I thank DOB for providing the transparency my constituents need.”
"Residents living across the street from construction are rarely happy with after-hours construction work", said Council Member Ben Kallos. "My constituents routinely reach out to me to check if after-hours work is properly permitted. This map will simplify the process, empowering neighbors to check the map themselves, and for everyone to see just how much after-hours construction there really is. Thank you to Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca for this important transparency measure on behalf of my constituents."
“This after hours map will be extremely helpful to community members to know if after hours work is permitted and why it is permitted—or if it is not permitted and should be reported,” said Manhattan Community Board 3 Chair Alysha Lewis-Coleman. “With this information becoming so transparent, we can focus our time and attention on working to request modifications where necessary and to better able to keep DOB informed of local conditions. The weekly AHV reports will allow community boards to be more proactive and better equipped to respond to community issues. DOB has always been a leader in having very accessible information on its website, and the map and weekly report will add to DOB’s transparency and efforts to work in partnership with community boards.”
DOB issued 18,866 initial AHV permits in 2018, a 24 percent decrease from the 25,005 initial AHV permits issued in 2012. Each of these initial AHV permits is issued for specific dates, usually over a weekend or a week. In 2018, DOB received 3,729 public complaints through the 311 system regarding construction work illegally performed after hours. These complaints were investigated by the Department’s After Hours Variance Enforcement Unit, who handle these specific complaints. Each AHV permit is issued for specific days and times during the week, and must be renewed if contractors wish to continue working outside of normal business hours.
The new map is the latest in a series of interactive dashboards, reports, and data tools released by the Department to give the public access to information about the city’s built environment, and builds off the successes of our real-time map series, which show the location of DOB complaints, inspections and violations from the last 12 months, active major construction projects citywide, Site Safety Training (SST) construction sites where city-mandated safety training is required, and the locations of the more-than 9,000 permitted sidewalk sheds around the five boroughs. The Department has been hard at work creating more data-driven tools that provide the public with up-to-date information that is easily accessible, including our NYC Construction Dashboard. To find out more about how the Department is leveraging data for the benefit of the people of New York City, please visit the Data & Reporting page on our website.
Members of the public who wish to report illegal after hours construction without a permit are encouraged to submit an official complaint through 311.