an App to Access the Dob Database

Look Up Violations On Smartphones

Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Robert LiMandri announced the launch of the Department’s new smartphone app that allows New Yorkers to search databases for the history of nearly one million properties throughout the city.

An image of the Department of Buildings’ new smartphone app.

The free app, which is available iPhone and Android phones, provides an easy-to-use format so New Yorkers can quickly research the history of a property-including construction projects, violations and complaints-and determine if the rooftop has been coated with a reflective material to reduce energy costs. Users can receive push notifications from the department on the latest service updates, regulations and weather alerts.

The app is the latest effort by the department to increase the transparency and efficiency of the construction process with the use of technology-including quick response (QR) codes on all construction permits and the NYC Development Hub, a state-of-the-art project review center in Lower Manhattan that accepts and approves digital construction plans.

“Today, it is easier to build a building in New York City-and find out information about that building- than at any other time in our history,” said LiMandri. “Thanks to the use of new technology, we have opened the doors to the construction process in ways few could have imagined. Our website now receives one million hits a day, our online permits save industry members millions of dollars a year and our new app allows New Yorkers to learn about buildings in their neighborhood in an instant. Providing services and information in a timely fashion is the key to good government, and I would like to congratulate my staff on their dedication to improving the construction process for all New Yorkers.”

By downloading the new app, New Yorkers can easily navigate the department’s Buildings Information System on their smartphone and retrieve data about active construction projects and contact information for agency officials. The department’s Buildings Information System, which was made available on the Internet in 2003, provides historical information on more than 975,000 buildings and construction sites across the five boroughs, including permits, inspections and certificates of occupancy.

Users can search by address, block and lot numbers and construction projects, such as minor plumbing and electrical applications. As the department issues weather advisories and other service updates, those who download the app also will be able to receive alerts on their smartphone.

Since 2008, the DOB has implemented several initiatives to improve the transparency and efficiency of the construction process and expand the agency’s electronic plan review and permitting efforts. In 2011, the department opened the NYC Development Hub, which has accelerated the project approval process with the use of digital plans, virtual conferences and increased collaboration among design professionals and City officials.

Through the Development Hub, 90 percent of all construction documents can be filed online, including small construction projects such as home renovations and office improvements, which can save industry members millions of dollars each year in labor costs. Since 2011, QR codes have been placed on more than 297,000 construction permits to allow New Yorkers to obtain instant information on a construction project in their community.

In 2009, the DOB launched the Development Challenge Process, which enables the public to view online diagrams of proposed buildings before work begins. Residents also can submit zoning challenges, and after those challenges are reviewed, Department responses are posted on the website. New York was the first city in the country to post such diagrams online.

To find out more information about the NYC Development Hub and the DOB’s electronic filing programs, visit www.nyc.gov/buildings. To download the new app, visit the Apple App Store or Google Play.

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