For Immediate Release
October 14, 2020
Contact: dobcommunications@buildings.nyc.gov, (212) 393-2126


DOB RELEASES CUSTOMER SERVICE DASHBOARD

Service Levels Tracker Allows Homeowners & the Public to Better Understand DOB Timelines for their Projects


New York, NY – The New York City Department of Buildings today launched an online Service Levels Tracker, a new tool which allows New Yorkers to see average wait times for DOB services, while demonstrating our commitment to both expediency and efficiency. While this information has been available to the public in different forms over the years, our new tracker puts it all in one location, with clear explanations of the different DOB metrics. Too often, homeowners and the public do not have the tools necessary to understand where DOB fits into the larger timeline of their projects – this service level tracker makes that transparent to the public.

“Our friends and neighbors need clarity from us about how our inspections and approvals impact the timelines of their projects,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “Everyone living in our city should understand their construction timelines so they can plan smartly and safely.”

The Service Levels Tracker allows the public to view a variety of metrics, helping them understand expected timelines for projects both citywide and by borough. By committing to transparency, DOB aims to help every New Yorker gain a complete understanding of Department timelines, allowing both homeowners and construction professionals to be on even footing as they work together. All metrics used in our Service Levels Tracker are quarterly running averages, updated monthly.

The performance metrics calculate average timelines for: Plan Submission Reviews, Inspection Requests, Appointments to Plan Approval, General Customer Service and Construction Safety Compliance.

As of October 2020, Department of Buildings’ Service Levels Tracker reports the following metrics:

  • Plan Submission Reviews
    Typically the first step to receive a work permit by industry professionals in NYC is submitting plans for approval. This metric measures the average time between an application being filed with DOB, and the application being marked as either approved or disapproved.
    • Current Service Levels: New Building (4.9 days); Major Alterations (6.2 days); Minor Alterations (2.7 days); Demolition Permit Applications (1.6 days); and the agency’s self-service online portal, DOB NOW (0.6 days)
  • Inspection Requests
    In many cases, a completed construction project needs to be inspected by the Department. This metric shows the average number of business days from when a DOB inspection is requested to when that inspection occurs.
    • Current Service Levels: Construction (1.3 days); Boilers (2.1 days); Cranes and Derricks (1.7 days); Electrical (8.7 days); Elevator (3.4 days); and Plumbing (3.9 days)
  • Appointments to Plan Approval
    Applications for complex construction projects sometimes require several appointments with DOB before it fully complies with NYC Code and Zoning. This metric shows the average number of appointments it takes for Licensed Design Professionals (Registered Architects or Professional Engineers) to receive an approval for a project application.
    • Current Service Levels: 1.0 appointment per approval
  • General Customer Service
    The Department has a dedicated customer service team, which answers questions and helps New Yorkers navigate agency processes. This metric shows the average wait time to speak with a DOB customer service representative or receive a response to an inquiry submitted online.
    • Current Service Levels: Calls (2.3 minutes); Email Inquiries (2.6 days)
  • Construction Safety Compliance and Enforcement
    The Department conducts safety plan reviews and field visits at active construction projects across the city to enforce work site safety regulations. This metric shows the average number of business days from when a request for re-inspection to rescind a DOB Stop Work Order is filed to when that inspection occurs; the average number of business days from filing date of demolition and site safety plans to first status of approved, incomplete, or disapproved.
    • Current Service Levels: Stop Work Orders (2.3 days); Demolition Plans (1.8 days); Site Safety Plans (1.8 days)

Back in 2016, DOB customers could expect to wait over a week for new building and major alteration plan reviews, and almost five days for most inspection requests. The current metrics on our new Service Levels Tracker demonstrate the Department’s commitment to increased efficiency and enhanced customer service.

As New York City continues its economic recovery from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, DOB is dedicated to supporting safe development citywide. The Service Levels Tracker is the latest in a series of interactive dashboards, reports, and data tools released by the Department to increase transparency, by giving the public access to clear information about the development process and the city’s built environment.

“This online Service Levels Tracker creates a welcome new tool for design professionals and the public. Adding to transparency creates an environment where we can all better manage project timelines and expectations,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Chair of the City Council's Housing & Buildings Committee. “In addition, accessible performance metrics and data tools mean we can continually assess where the trouble spots are, and what challenges we need to work together to overcome. Thanks to DOB for establishing this Online Service Levels Tracker. All New Yorkers can appreciate DOB's continued commitment to pursuing transparency, accessibility, and innovation.”

“Transparency and accountability are two vital features of government, and this recent announcement helps move the NYC Department of Buildings forward on ensuring this,” said Council Member Robert Holden. “I applaud DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca and her staff on rolling out this feature, and look forward to helping with outreach to our constituents on its uses.”

"Responsiveness needs to be a common goal for every city agency when seeking to address customer service goals,” said Council Member Peter Koo.  “This new DOB Customer Service Dashboard looks to blend great common sense innovation with efficiency that will streamline services and make it easier for every day New Yorkers to interact with the Department of Buildings."

"Whether it's getting new Universal Pre-K locations open in time for the school year or houses of worship open for the holidays, my office works regularly to help property owners who need to know how long it will take to get the next permit or inspection from the City," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Giving New Yorkers access to this online Service Levels Tracker allows the DOB to operate with greater transparency and puts property owners in a better position to get their projects done in a timely manner."

“The Department of Building’s online Service Levels Tracker is a step forward towards efficiency and expediency. New Yorkers will now have a clear and concise timeline for the completion of projects to avoid potential issues and disruptions that might arise,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “I want to commend the Department of Buildings for their work in creating this tracker and for increasing transparency and accountability during these difficult times.


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