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Department of Buildings Creates New Online Tool to Streamline Permit Process

Frank Lovece in Legal/Financial on August 8, 2014

New York City

Aug. 8, 2014

Called Code Notes, it's designed to be a step-by-step guide for design professionals such as architects and engineers, with the first group of Code Notes covering 15 common construction projects including those mentioned above. It centralizes complex information typically spread out across the City's Building Code, Zoning Resolution, Fire Code, Multiple Dwelling Law, Energy Conservation Code and other provisions into a more accessible format.

In the Zone

Last year, DOB plan examiners reviewed 459,000 construction plans submitted by architects and engineers licensed by New York State. During the project-approval process, plan examiners typically raise objections when the plans fail to comply with the City Construction Codes and Zoning Resolution, forcing your industry professional to resolve those objections and submit revised plans. By summarizing construction and zoning requirements for the industry, the DOB says, Codes Notes will aid compliance, help reduce barriers in the plan examination process and accelerate project approvals.

"The construction industry, the public and our city government will all benefit from making construction and design standards more accessible and easier to understand," DOB Acting Commissioner Thomas Fariello said in a statement. "Codes Notes can be accessed using the Department's website and will help make the project approval process more transparent and efficient."

In the Beginning

Code Notes began as a set of guidelines to maintain a consistent knowledge base for plan examination staff across the Department's borough offices and covers an array of construction projects for both residential and commercial properties.  Each Code Note explains the necessary filings, applicable codes and zoning, relevant bulletins, directives and memos for some of the most applied for construction projects in New York City. In addition, Code Notes cross-references requirements under the code with other provisions, including required approvals from other New York City agencies, such as the Department of Transportation and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

As well, since 2011, the DOB has offered the NYC Development Hub to coordinate electronic filings and offer architect and engineers a more efficient path toward obtaining construction project approval and permits. It accepts digital construction plans, allowing plan examiners to review thousands of building designs easier, faster and without the use of paper. This year the Development Hub initiated the new service Hub Inspection Ready, which allows industry professionals to go online to schedule DOB inspections.


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