New York City Department of Buildings launches a new smart phone app available for both iPhone and Android allowing New Yorkers to research the history of nearly 1 million properties, including construction projects, violations and complaints. The app can be used to determine if the rooftop of certain property has been coated with a reflective material to reduce energy costs. Users can also receive push notifications regarding the latest information alerts about new services, regulations, and even inclement weather reports.
According to Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri, with the use of technology, it is easier to build a building in New York City or search information on any property. Currently, their website receives 1 million hits a day allowing New Yorkers to learn about buildings in their neighborhood in an instant. Their online permits save industry members millions of dollars a year in labor costs since almost 90% of all construction documents can be filed online. With the launch of this app, it has never been easier.
The Department’s Buildings Information System has been available on the Internet since 2003, allowing users to search their database on more than 975,000 buildings and construction sites across the five boroughs, including permits, inspections and certificates of occupancy. Users can also search using address, block and lot numbers and construction projects, such as minor plumbing and electrical applications. The Department also issues weather advisories and other service updates on their website. With the launch of this 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 free easy to use 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. QR codes have been issued on more than 297,000 construction permits allowing New Yorkers to obtain instant information regarding their projects. The NYC Development Hub was formed in 2011 to accelerate the project approval process with the use of digital construction plans, virtual conferences and increased collaboration among design professionals and City officials. As part of their initiatives to improve transparency, the Department launched the Development Challenge Process in 2009, which allows the public to view online diagrams of proposed construction projects before work begins and to submit any zoning problems. New York is the first city to have online diagrams available for the public.