Building One City

Building One City

By Johan Soltani

Commissioner Chandler recently published his wish list for improving DOB in coming years. A note of importance is that for years DOB avoided to call the Code consultants as “Expeditors.”  DOB preferred the word “Filing Representatives” as is currently used in DOB filing documents. Yet in this article Mayor De Blasio is using the word of “Expediting” in the interactions with DOB.

“To expedite the right kind of development, we must expedite the development process. What we need, and what we will have, is fundamental reform at the Department of Buildings.” 

So in the context of this, “expeditors” makes sense.

Chandler has a modest budget of $4.6 million, and a big agenda to improve the performance of the DOB. His goals:

•  100% of applications, reviews, payments and scheduling can be handled online.

•  Dramatically reduce plan examination and inspection times, with an increase of 159 plan examiners and 34 development inspectors over two years.

•  Launch an affordable housing unit to expedite affordable housing development.

•  Redesign DOB’s online presence to reduce the need for in-person visits.

•  Equip inspectors with tablets to expand field capabilities and improve efficiency.

•  Make online plan review and submission the default practice.

•  Ensure interagency handoffs are seamless and automated.

•  Standardize objections to improve transparency, clarity, and consistency of the plan review process.

•  Re-design Borough Office public spaces with a focus on customer service and online processes.

•  Add 10 project advocates over two years to provide more resources to navigate DOB’s review and approval processes.

•  Test after hour inspections.

•  Invest in our staff through additional training and technology, leading to an improved customer experience.

The vision is certainly ambitious, and ultimately points the DOB in the right direction. To review the entire plan, please click here.