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Operations Policy And Procedure Notices

Issuance #637

Operations Policy And Procedure Notices #1/04

Date:

January 16, 2004

Subject:

Professional Certification of Applications and Plans

Effective:

Immediately

Supersedes:

Operations Policy and Procedure Notice # 3/03 dated May 6, 2003.

Purpose:

To clarify the New York City Department of Buildings' implementation of the optional plan review procedures, which allow a Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA) to certify compliance with applicable laws and codes on applications filed by him/her as applicant.

Policy:

 

Since 1995, the Department of Buildings ("DoB") has had and will continue to provide a mechanism for PEs/RAs to certify compliance with all applicable laws and codes on applications filed with the Department ("professional certification"). Participation in these procedures calls for the display of appropriate standards of professional competence and integrity by the licensed professional. This Policy and Procedure Notice sets forth the procedures for preparing, submitting, approving and auditing these applications, as well as supplementary procedures for suspension or exclusion of professionals from professional certification.
Procedure:

1. Applicant:
A. The applicant must submit a complete set of plans and documents required for the work type(s) filed. This submission must be complete, coordinated and in accordance with code, zoning, and all applicable laws. At a minimum, the submission shall meet the requirements set forth in Administrative Code Sections 27-156 and 27-157 for new buildings and Sections 27-161 and 27-162 for alterations.

The submission must include:

1. Completed form PW-1, including the applicant's statement that the job will be professionally certified, and referencing the applicant's and owner's certifications on Form POC-1.

2. Completed new Form POC-1, appended to this Notice, as follows:

a.Certification by the applicant, signed and sealed, stating the following:

"I hereby state that I have exercised a professional standard of care in certifying that the filed application is complete and in accordance with applicable laws, including the rules of the Department of Buildings, as of this date. I am aware the Commissioner will rely upon the truth and accuracy of this statement. I have notified the owner that this application has been professionally certified. If an audit or other exam discloses non-compliance, I agree to notify the owner of the remedial measures that must be taken to meet legal requirements. I further realize that any misrepresentation or falsification of facts made knowingly or negligently by me, my agents or employees, or by others with my knowledge, will render me liable for legal and disciplinary action by the Department of Buildings and other appropriate authorities, including termination of participation in the professional certification procedures at the Department of Buildings."

b. Statement and signature by the owner, as follows:

"I have read and am fully aware of the applicant's above statement that this job will be professionally certified, and agree to bring into compliance any construction which is found not to comply with all applicable laws and regulations."

c. Fax number and email address for the applicant, the owner, and the filing representative.

3. Completed form PC-1 (latest revision), "Required Items Checklist," with separate lists of items required for approval, permit, final sign-off or Certificate of Occupancy, as well as required controlled inspections.

a.The applicant shall add under "Items Required Prior to Approval" the following:

Borough Commissioner waiver of Local Law 58 of 1987.

b. The applicant shall add under "Items Required Prior to C/O or Sign-Off" the following:

Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA") "Elevation Certificate and Instructions," latest revision.

For each item on the list, the applicant must make a notation of Yes ("Y") or No ("N") to indicate whether the item is required. Each list must be signed and sealed by the applicant. The application will be rejected if any information is missing, incomplete or not provided as required.

4. Two stamped envelopes each, addressed to the applicant, the owner and the filing representative, which will be used to return the application if the package is incomplete, and to mail objections if given in audit.

5.Written preliminary considerations: Applicants are strongly encouraged to request a preliminary consideration about a code or zoning issue before filing their professionally certified application using an AI-1 form addressed to either the Executive Director of the Technical Compliance Unit ("TCU"), the Borough Commissioner or his/her designee. Opinions made during the preliminary consideration shall be given in writing and will become part of the professionally certified job application.

6. Easements and declarations, if appropriate, must be submitted and recorded in accordance with LPPN #1/04 prior to the applicant's approval and approval in DEAR.

7. Zoning lot declaration exhibits if required in accordance with Memorandum of Acting Commissioner Irving E. Minkin, P.E., dated 5/18/78.

8. Approval documents from any of the following entities as appropriate, when they become available during the application process:

a. Required approvals from other agencies: For a job requiring approval by any of the following agencies, the professional must

1.file the application in accordance with this procedure;

2. receive "Suspended" status in the Data Entry and Research Unit ("DEAR");

3. use the assigned DoB job number to obtain the respective agency approval; and then

4. proceed to approval in DEAR. Professionally certified applications cannot pass through DEAR without the required approvals included in the folder:

Board of Standards and Appeals ("BSA") (applications modifying existing BSA variance or special permit)
City Planning Commission ("CPC")
Landmarks Preservation Commission ("LPC")
Loft Board
Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP")
Housing, Preservation and Development ("HPD")
Certificate of No Harassment

b. BSA variance: For a job requiring a variance from BSA, in addition to the above process, the applicant must pay the filing fee to the cashier and then schedule an appointment with an Auditor and provide documentation, including drawing(s), clearly demonstrating every issue for which a BSA variance is required. The Auditor will issue preliminary objection(s) to the applicant based upon the submission, and the applicant must then obtain the formal denial from either the Borough Commissioner or designee and go before BSA. Upon issuance of the variance by BSA, the applicant shall return the folder to DEAR for data entry as above.

c. LPC approval for calendared landmarks: Applications for buildings that have been calendared for individual designation or that are included in districts calendared for designation by LPC may be filed using the professional certification process, but the professionally certified application can only be approved after 40 calendar days following completion of data entry in DEAR. However if the applicant provides a Certificate of No Effect issued by LPC, a copy of the certificate will be placed in the folder and the job can proceed through the filing process before the expiration of 40 calendar days.

d. Borough Commissioner approval of Local Law 58 waiver: For any application where a waiver is sought from compliance with any provision of Local Law 58 of 1987 ("LL 58/87"), a PE/RA must state the requirement on the PC-1 form and may complete the professional certification application in DEAR only after the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities issues an advisory opinion and the Borough Commissioner issues a determination that a waiver will be granted in accordance with Administrative Code Section 27-292.6. Both the advisory opinion and the waiver shall be placed in the job folder. If such a determination is made, then a PE/RA must certify that all provisions and conditions of the waiver have been satisfied.

e. United States Department of State: For a filing concerning property of foreign governments, the application must include a "Letter of No Objection" from the Office of Foreign Missions of the U.S. Department of State, consistent with Technical Policy and Procedure Notice #5/94.

B. PC filing and professional certification:

If the applicant is using disk filing ("PC filing"), a certification will be added to the application automatically by selecting the "apply" button on the appropriate screen during the PC filing program. The applicant must also submit a POC-1 form with the updated applicant's statement and the owner's statement as above, which will supersede this automatic statement. Finally, the applicant must indicate that s/he is opting for professional certification pursuant to this Policy and Procedure Notice in the "Considerations" section. All pages of the signed and sealed hard copies must be initialed and dated by the applicant.

C. For any professionally certified job, all work types filed under that job number must be professionally certified. In instances where multiple work types are filed simultaneously by multiple applicants, under one job number, only one list of items required for approval, permit, final sign-off or Certificate of Occupancy, as well as required controlled inspections, shall be submitted.

D. Process

1. The applicant will submit the completed package to the pre-filing section for data entry. The applicant, at that time, must alert the pre-filer that the application will be professionally certified as indicated on the PW-1.

2. The applicant will pay the filing fee at the cashier.

3. An approval status will be data-entered into the BIS system unless the package is incomplete. An incomplete package may be re-submitted to the DEAR unit by the applicant when all required information, including approvals of other agencies as noted above, has been compiled.

E. Related submissions

1. All required items needed for approval must be submitted with the initial submission. Amendments and corrections to professionally certified applications must be professionally certified. Subsequent filings must be reviewed and filed through the pre-filing unit.

2. Filings for additional work types to the original must be filed as a new application and receive a separate job number, and must reference the original application. In addition, a reference must be added to the original application on an AI-1 form referencing all subsequent applications for the project.

3. Expansion to the scope of work of a professionally certified job must be filed as a post-approval amendment ("PAA") and must be professionally certified.

4. A New Building ("NB") and/or Alteration Type I ("Alt. 1") professionally certified application on the same zoning lot as other NB or Alt. 1 applications must reference the other applications, whether they are filed earlier or later than the proposed professionally certified application. If the proposed application precedes the other NB or Alt. 1 application(s), such reference must be provided by AI-1 form.

f. Applicants who file under the professional certification option may not subsequently request audit, plan examination review or approval. To obtain an examination and approval by the Department, the applicant must apply, in writing, to withdraw the professionally certified application and then file a new application, with full fees, for assignment to a plan examiner.

2, Borough Office Procedures:

a. Pre-Filing:

The pre-filing unit will review the documents for completeness and verify that a PW-1 and a POC-1 containing the certifications listed above are included. The pre-filer will stamp the application and plans "Professional Certification." If the application is not complete because of missing or insufficient data, the application will not be accepted.

In addition to entering required pre-filing data, the pre-filer will indicate "Y" next to the question "Professional Certification by Applicant of Job?" on the "Initial Pre-filing - Additional Considerations" screen to indicate that the application is being professionally certified. Fees will be calculated based on the work type(s) filed.

If the application requires approval by other agencies, except BSA, the pre-filer will give the folder to the applicant with a job number.

b. Cashier:

The cashier will accept the fee. If the application requires data entry, the package will be forwarded to the DEAR unit. If the application is being filed using the disk filing ("PC Filing") program, the package will be forwarded to the PC Filing clerk.
If BSA approval is required, the cashier will return the folder to the applicant.

c. PC Filing Clerk:

If the applicant intends to file the application using the PC Filing program, the PC Filing clerk will up-load the data from the PC Filing disk. Disks that cannot be processed because of missing or incorrect information will be returned to the applicant to be revised and resubmitted.

d. DEAR:

The DEAR unit will review the documents, including the PC Filing full report, for clerical completeness prior to data entry. If the package does not contain all documents and information required for approval as stated on the "Required Items Checklist," a form letter shall be placed in the self-addressed stamped envelopes included in the package and mailed to the applicant and owner. The status of the application will be listed in BIS as "Suspend" if items are missing or "Disapprove" if documents are incorrect.

The application must not be rejected if the only missing documentation is the self-addressed stamped envelopes. If other documents are also missing which cause the application to be rejected, the Department is otherwise under no obligation to notify the applicant by mail.

All data entry and processing of rejection letters must be completed within 10 business days.

The DEAR unit will data-enter the plan examination information and approval, and then stamp the application and plans "Approved by Applicant's Professional Certification. "

e. Permitting:

Once the application is approved by the applicant's professional certification, the permit section will receive from the permit applicant the appropriate documents and fees, and issue the permit.

3. Audit Procedures:

a.General

1. All professionally certified subdivision applications will be audited.

2. Approximately 20% of all other professionally certified applications will be audited within 10 business days of permit. A representative sample of application types will be randomly selected for review. Should a selected application be part of a cluster or development filing, the Auditor will audit the site plan and the lead folder(s) for the cluster or development.

3. All applications are subject to audit.

4. Appointment scheduling and communications between applicant and auditor shall occur primarily through email.

b. Post-approval amendments ("PAAs"):

1. Within 10 business days of post-permit PAAs on professionally certified applications, approximately 20% will be audited based upon random selection.

2. Additional or replacement drawings submitted with an AI-1 form may be reviewed by an Auditor or Plan Examiner for fees and/or scope of work prior to stamping, perforation and microfilming.

c. Audit focus

1.Applications for subdivision of improved property will be reviewed to ensure that any newly created improved tax lot will comply with zoning regulations, either as a potentially independent zoning lot or as part of a larger zoning lot pursuant to a zoning lot declaration.

2. Applications selected for audit will be assigned to an auditor from the Technical Compliance Unit ("TCU") located in the Borough Office. The review will focus on, but not necessarily be limited to, the following five areas: 1) zoning regulations and accuracy of calculations, 2) fire protection and occupant safety, 3) egress requirements, 4) Local Law 58 of 1987 regarding access for persons with disabilities, and 5) appropriateness of fees. The results of the audit will be entered in BIS, posted on the public screen and on BIS Web.

3. A full review of a professionally certified application may also be conducted at any time based upon receipt of a complaint, evidence of non-compliance, or other determination made by the Department.

d. Audit process:

1. Business Day 10 +/- following permit:

a. If the Auditor finds no objection to the application, s/he will enter an "Accepted" status in BIS and no further action will be taken.

b. If minor objections are raised during the audit which pertain to processing paperwork or fees, but there are no substantive issues of zoning, life safety and/or accessibility, they will be noted on an Objection Sheet and faxed or emailed to the applicant with a marked Audit Notice and appointment date. The Auditor will enter a status of "Conditional Acceptance" in BIS.

c. If objections are raised during the audit which pertain to substantive issues of zoning, life safety and/or accessibility, they will be noted on an Objection Sheet and faxed or emailed to the applicant with a marked Audit Notice, 10-Day Revocation Notice and appointment date, and may also be faxed or emailed to the owner and the filing representative. A stop-work order may also be issued if the Borough Commissioner deems it warranted. The Auditor will enter a status of "10-Day Revocation Notice" in BIS.

Note:Information relating to zoning, life safety and/or accessibility which is required by law to be included in the drawings and which is missing will be cause to issue a 10-Day Revocation Notice.

2. The applicant will have 10 business days to make required corrections and meet with the Auditor.

3. Day 20 +/- following permit:

a. If at the end of 10 business days the applicant resolves all objections, then the Auditor will enter a status of "Accepted" in BIS and no further action will be taken by the Auditor.

b. If at the end of 10 business days the applicant meets with the Auditor but has not resolved all the objections, then the Auditor will enter, or may continue, a status of "10-Day Revocation Notice" in BIS, and will fax or email the Notice to the owner and the filing representative. The applicant may either schedule one more appointment with the Auditor to resolve all outstanding objections or appeal to the Executive Director of TCU or the Borough Commissioner for a reconsideration of specific remaining issue(s).

c. If the applicant fails to appear at the appointed meeting time or to reschedule the meeting within the 10-day period, or if the Department determines that the permit was issued in error, the Auditor will recommend to the Executive Director of TCU and to the Borough Commissioner that the Borough Commissioner revoke the permit. Upon review and concurrence, the Borough Commissioner will revoke the permit and order an inspection of the jobsite.

4. The applicant should amend the documents as required to resolve all objectionsor to prepare the Reconsideration AI-1 form and documents as appropriate.

5. Day 30 +/- following permit:

a. If the applicant requests reconsideration from the Executive Director of TCU or the Borough Commissioner and it is granted, then the Executive Director or Borough Commissioner will sign the AI-1 form and return the submitted documentation to the Auditor. The Auditor will verify that all objections have been resolved and, if so, fax or email an Audit Notice notifying the applicant, owner and filing representative of same, and enter a status of "Accepted" in BIS.

If not all objections have been resolved, then the status will remain as "10-Day Revocation Notice" and the Auditor will recommend revocation to the Executive Director of TCU and the Borough Commissioner. Upon review and concurrence, the Borough Commissioner will revoke the permit.

b. If the applicant requests reconsideration from the Executive Director of TCU or the Borough Commissioner and the Executive Director or Borough Commissioner conditions his/her acceptance on certain changes to which the applicant agrees, then s/he will note same on the AI-1 form, sign it and send the marked form and other documentation to the Auditor. The BIS status will remain "10-Day Revocation Notice".


b. If the applicant requests reconsideration from the Executive Director of TCU or the Borough Commissioner and the Executive Director or Borough Commissioner denies same, then the Borough Commissioner will revoke the permit and issue a stop-work order. The denied AI-1 form and all other documentation will be delivered to the Auditor who will enter a status of "Failed: Permit Revoked" in BIS. The Borough Commissioner will assign the application to a plan examiner for any further action requested by the applicant.

c. If the applicant does not request a reconsideration and meets with the Auditor with all objections resolved, then the Auditor will enter a status of "Accepted" in BIS. If all objections are not resolved, the Auditor will recommend revocation to the Executive Director of TCU and the Borough Commissioner. If either overrides the Auditor's objection(s), then the Auditor will enter an "Accepted" status in BIS. If the Borough Commissioner or designee concurs with the Auditor, then the Borough Commissioner will revoke the permit and issue a stop-work order. The Borough Commissioner will assign the application to a plan examiner.

6. Following a meeting with the Executive Director of TCU or the Borough Commissioner, if corrections or additions are required, the applicant will make the appropriate changes and arrange a final meeting with the Auditor.

7. Day 40 +/-:

a.If all objections are resolved and conditions of reconsideration are met, then the Auditor will enter a status of "Accepted" in BIS.

b. If all objections are not resolved as required, then the Auditor will recommend revocation to the Executive Director and the Borough Commissioner similarly to the process on Day 30 above. Upon review and concurrence, the Borough Commissioner will revoke the permit. The application will be assigned to a plan examiner.

8. Upon revocation of the permit, copies of the revocation letter and objections will be sent to the Deputy Commissioner for Technical Affairs and the Office of Investigation and Discipline.

9. Upon revocation of the permit, should the applicant wish to continue the job, s/he must apply to reinstate the permit within two years of the original permit, and pay the reinstatement fee of one hundred dollars. The application will be reviewed by a plan examiner for all applicable laws and regulations, including those which have come into effect since the original filing. Following approval by the plan examiner, the permit will be reinstated.

e. All audits and results will be recorded in the BIS system and reported monthly to the Deputy Commissioners for Technical Affairs and Operations.

f. At the discretion of the Borough Commissioner, any application and/or permit may be suspended immediately pursuant to Section 27-197 of the New York City Administrative Code, provided that there is an imminent peril to life or property. The applicant and owner shall be notified of such action, with a copy of such notification forwarded to the Department's Office of Investigations and Discipline (IAD).

4. Suspension or Exclusion from the Professional Certification Procedures:

In addition to taking action on particular permit applications, Borough Commissioners and/or the Executive Director of the Technical Compliance Unit shall forward to the Deputy Commissioner for Technical Affairs the names of, and supporting documentation with respect to, those PEs and RAs whose participation in the professional certification procedures evidences grounds for suspension or exclusion pursuant to 1 RCNY §21-02. The Deputy Commissioner for Technical Affairs shall review the evidence and make a recommendation to the Commissioner as to appropriate action. The Commissioner may suspend or exclude a PE/RA in accordance with 1 RCNY §21-02. Additionally, if this recommendation includes disciplinary action, including but not limited to exclusion or suspension of the PE/RA from professional certification or criminal prosecution, copies shall be forwarded immediately to IAD and to the New York City Department of Investigation (DoI).

Final determination disciplining PEs and/or RAs under the terms of this section shall be forwarded to both DoI and the New York State Office of Professional Discipline.

POC-1 Form


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