New tool latest in series to promote construction and buildings transparency. On October 16, 2019, the Department of Buildings released a new interactive map that shows all construction sites across the city where permits have been issued to allow for construction work outside of normal business hours.
Normally, construction work is permitted from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM during weekdays. However, some construction sites have difficulty performing construct work during those hours out of interest in public safety, traffic, or not wanting to disturb schools and other public places. In such circumstances, it is better to perform the work at night or over the weekend. To engage in construction work at nights or on weekends, an after-hours variance (AHV) permit from the Department of Buildings is required.
In 2018, Buildings issued 18,866 initial after-hours variance permits – down 24 percent from 2012, when 25,005 after-hours variance permits were issued. After-hours variance permits are issued for specific dates, and need to be renewed if construction work needs to continue after hours. As of the day of the press release, there were 1,056 active construction projects that had after-hours variance permits.
In 2018, 311 received 3,729 public complaints about construction work outside of normal business hours. A goal of the new after-hours variance map is to allow anyone interested to check for themselves if work in their area is permitted after hours.
In addition to keeping the map current, Buildings will also issue weekly reports on AHV permits to elected officials and community boards to provide insight on the construction work occurring in their districts.
Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca stated, “this real-time map will provide New Yorkers with greater transparency about after-hours construction in their neighborhoods, and give the public a new data-driven tool to determine whether the work they see or hear has the proper permits. Our principal concern in regulating construction is the safety of everyone who lives, visits and works in our city – and After Hours Variance permits are another tool to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams stated, “When the City adopts real-time models to track performance, it not only makes government more responsive to public concerns, it also fosters a culture of accountability. The After-Hours Variance Map is a powerful new tool that will allow New Yorkers to report violations and be more in-the-know about construction happening in their neighborhood. I applaud the Department of Buildings on this forward-thinking approach, and encourage other agencies to follow suit.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018).