The New York City Department of Buildings has launched DOB NOW, a program to modernize the agency’s operations that will soon allow the public to do all business with the department online.
When fully implemented, the system will enable online filing of building and construction permits, tracking of applications, automated alerts, online meetings with agency staff; printable permits to eliminate some in person DOB visits.
New York City has invested $120 million in additional funding for the agency to build DOB NOW and to hire hundreds of new staff members – with the goal of better addressing safety lapses at construction sites and reviewing building applications more quickly.
“Last spring, I called for fundamental reform of the buildings department to make the agency more efficient, effective, and transparent. DOB NOW is a result of this effort,” said Mayor de Blasio.
The Mayor’s Office hopes that modernizing the DOB will make dealing with the city’s bureaucracy less aggravating. Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said in a statement, “New Yorkers will be able to track every step of our work, often in real time. If you hire an architect, engineer, plumber, or other professional, you’ll be able to track their work, too. We want New Yorkers to have more access to our records so they can help hold us and everyone in the construction industry accountable.”
The first phase, entitled DOB NOW: Build, will allow online filing of applications for plumbing and sprinkler jobs. Additional functions — for example, façade compliance filings, license issuances, and eventually applications for entire new buildings — will be transferred to DOB NOW throughout the next two years. Officials hope that by 2018, the system will be completed and it will serve as the entry point for all DOB transactions.
The initiative has the support of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). “We look forward to the full implementation of the new platform, which will provide tools to further ensure the safety of our buildings and improve operations towards building more critically needed housing,” added REBNY president John Banks.