Due Diligence: What to Expect During Sign-Off
By Tynesha Goode
Navigating a building’s open items can be overwhelming, as well as costly. Metropolis offers a full menu of services, including new construction planning and support, as well as due diligence. While the Department of Buildings (DOB) sign-off requirements are typically the same for both new filings and older projects, the timing for the latter takes much longer.
Legacy projects—where three or more years have passed since initial permit approvals—require considerable research. Subcontractors or tenants may have changed, which makes it more challenging to pinpoint changes in scope from the approved plans on file.
Legacy Sign-Off Process
Below are the different stages that require additional time, as well as common reasons why.
- Special Inspections. If all special inspections have been completed (and passed), we include inspection forms and any approved submittals required by the special inspection agency in the initial Sign-Off Request for Information (RFI). Sealed walls, however, often present a challenge when conducting inspections in older projects. As a result, the special inspection portion of the sign-off usually takes two to four months for legacy projects, compared to one to two months with new filings.
- These filings are required to reflect any changes from the original, approved scope of work. In an older project, where many of the involved parties may no longer be actively engaged, amendments take additional time. For instance, filing an amendment to add Equipment Use Permits (EUPs) typically takes two weeks for new filings, but up to one month for legacy projects. In addition, older projects may require amendments to reinstate expired permits.
- Mechanical Specifications. Unlike a new filing, where approval of the Mechanical Schedule usually takes two to three weeks, legacy projects may require up to three months for approval. Older projects require confirmation that actual installed units match the original specifications. Otherwise, DOB needs to approve the revised schedule.
- Plumbing/Subcontractor Inspections. Any expired permits—such as for Plumbing/Sprinkler/Standpipes, etc.—must be renewed to secure sign-off. Also, progress inspections and final inspections must be completed.
- Final Cost Affidavits. Finally, sign-off requires providing final costs to the DOB, accounting for any overages to avoid a Cost Affidavit Audit. Upon confirming the final casts, the tenant or ownership must sign, date, and notarize the affidavit. This process typically takes two weeks for legacy projects, versus a few days for new filings.
Every project is different, and actual timelines vary. To discuss the best strategy for securing sign-offs on your project or property, contact Metropolis Group at 212.233.6344.