New Commissioner Rick Chandler gave a State of the DOB address at the Yale Club on December 9th, 2014. Over the last few years, the DOB has seen a boost in job and permit filings. On Tuesday, Mr. Chandler offered solutions for the DOB to streamline its operations and deal with this increase.
Chief among the DOB’s proposed changes are the offering of inspections on nights and weekends. This would close some of the long intervals projects encounter while waiting for inspections. Borrowing from the FDNY inspection model, the DOB would charge a fee for nights and weekends inspections. Many filing representatives and design professionals would gladly pay for a night or weekend inspection if it meant having the inspection on an earlier date.
Further streamlining the DOB inspections process is the planned launch of the new portal HUB Inspection Ready, scheduled to go live early in 2015. The portal will allow for convenient filing and queueing of inspection requests and easy access to results.
Currently the DOB receives project viability inquiries from from building owners. The DOB has been offering this consultation service for free. Mr. Chandler suggested the DOB may start charging a fee for this service. Charging a fee will not only generate revenue for the DOB, but also relieve the DOB of extraneous inquiries.
Mr. Chandler also discussed a hiring build up to recover from recent departures after Mayor Bloomberg left office. The DOB is budgeted for an increase of 100 staffers in 2015, bringing the total to 1200.
Select areas in Brooklyn may now be permitted to create lawful cellar apartments.