DOB Launches Online Service Levels Tracker for Checking Wait Times

Image Credit: NYC DOB.

The tracker helps members of the public understand expected timelines. On October 14, 2020, the Department of Buildings launched an online Service Levels Tracker which allows New Yorkers to see average wait times for Department of Buildings Services. This tracker centralizes information that had previously been available to New Yorkers while also clearly setting forth the different Department of Buildings metrics allowing the public to better understand expected timelines for projects both citywide and by borough. These metrics are quarterly tunning averages that are updated monthly. As the City continues to rebuild following the COVID-19 pandemic, this Service Level Tracker will help support safe development citywide.

As of October 2020, The Service Levels Tracker calculates average wait times for:

Plan submission reviews. This is typically the first step to receive a work permit in the City. This specifically measures the average time between an application being filed with the Department of Buildings, and the application being marked as either approved or disapproved. Current wait times include New Building (4.9 days); Major Alterations (6.2 days); Minor Alterations (2.7 days); and Demolition Permit Applications (1.6 days).

Inspection requests. In most cases, a completed construction project must be inspected by the Department of Buildings. This shows the average number of business from when a Department of Buildings inspection is requested to when the inspection occurs. Current wait times include Construction (1.3 days); Boilers (2.1 days); Cranes and Derricks (1.7 days); Electrical (8.7 days); Elevator (3.4 days); and Plumbing (3.9 days).

Appointments to plan approval. Sometimes, applications for complex construction projects require several appointments before the project fully complies with the New York City Code and Zoning. This shows the average number of appointments it takes for a Licensed Design Professional to receive approval for a project application. Current wait times are 1.0 appointments per approval.

General customer service. This service answers questions and helps New Yorkers navigate the agency process. This shows the average wait time to speak to a customer service representative or receive a response to an inquiry submitted online. Current wait times include Calls (2.3 minutes); Email Inquiries (2.6 days).

Construction safety compliance. The Department of Buildings conducts safety plan reviews and field visits at active construction projects across the City to enforce work site safety regulations. This shows the average number of business days from which a request for re-inspection to rescind a Department of Buildings Stop Work Order is filed to when the inspection occurs; the average number of business days from filing date of demolition and site safety plans to first status of approved, incomplete, or disapproved. Current wait times include Stop Works Orders (2.3 days); Demolition Plans (1.8 days); Site Safety Plans (1.8 days).

Speaking on the project, Council Member and Technology Committee Member Peter Koo said: “this new Department of Buildings Customer Service Dashboard looks to blend great common-sense innovation with efficiency that will streamline services and make it easier for every day New Yorkers to interact with the Department of Buildings.” This new shift is efficiency is already a major advancement compared to a few years ago. Back in 2016, it would take customers over a week for new building and major alteration plan reviews, and almost five days for inspection requests.

By: Lynsey Smith (Lynsey is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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