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Operations Policy And Procedure Notices

Issuance #631

Operations Policy And Procedure Notices #3/03

Date:

May 6, 2003

Subject:

Professional Certification of Applications and Plans

Effective:

Immediately

Supersedes:

Operations Policy and Procedure Notice # 5/02 dated June 18, 2002.

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 the 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 following in Section 16:

a. The applicant's statement that the job will be professionally certified, and referencing the certification on a separate AI-1 form if applicable;

b. The applicant's statement, also to be included on the Required Items Listing (Form PC-1 - see below), that approval is or is not required from each of the following:

Board of Standards and Appeals ("BSA")
City Planning Commission ("CPC")
Landmarks Preservation Commission ("LPC")
Loft Board
Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP")
Borough Commissioner for easements and restrictive declarations
Borough Commissioner for waiver of Local Law 58 of 1987;

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

2. A certification by the applicant either on the PW-1 form, Section 16, or on an AI-1 form stating the following:

"I hereby state that I have exercised a professional standard of care in representing 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, recklessly or negligently by me, my agents or employees, or any knowing or reckless disregard on my part of any misrepresentation or falsification of facts made by others, 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."

In addition, the same PW-1 form, Section 16, or AI-1 form shall bear the following statement with the signature of the owner:

"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."

3. Completed form PC-1, "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. 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, one addressed to the applicant and one addressed to the owner, which will be used to return the application if the package is incomplete.

5. Written preliminary considerations: Applicants are strongly encouraged to request a preliminary consideration about a code or zoning issue before filing their application using an AI-1 form addressed to the Borough Commissioner or his/her designee. Opinions made during the preliminary consideration shall be given in writing and a copy of same will become part of the job application.

6. 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, stating in Section 16 of the PW-1 form the required approval(s);
  2. receive "Suspended" status in 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:

    BSA (applications modifying existing BSA variance)
    City Planning Commission
    Landmarks Preservation Commission
    Loft Board
    Department of Environmental Protection

b. BSA variance: For a job requiring a variance from BSA, in addition to the above process, the applicant must pay 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 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 the Landmarks Preservation Commission ("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.

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 in Section 16 of the PW-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. If the Borough Commissioner determines that a waiver will not be granted, the applicant must revise the application accordingly before the professionally certified application will be accepted.

e. Borough Commissioner acceptance of easements and declarations: Easements and declarations required by the Department must be approved as to legal form in accordance with LPPNs #2/87 and #1/92 and any amendments or changes thereto, and a certified copy of the recorded document or other proof must be accepted by the Borough Commissioner prior to the filing as a professionally certified job. Such easements or declarations must be listed on Form PC-1, "Required Items List," and a professional certification filing can only be completed in DEAR ("Data Entry and Research" unit) following this acceptance.

f. 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. Following the certification, the applicant must add the owner's statement as set forth above, and also indicate that s/he is opting for professional certification pursuant to this Policy and Procedure Notice (including the certification set forth above) in the "Considerations" section. All pages of the signed and sealed hard copies must bear the same date and time of printing.

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 approved by 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 referencing all subsequent applications for the project.
  3. Expansions to the scope of the application or work types filed under professional certification must be filed as a post-approval amendment ("PAA") and must be professionally certified.
  4. New Building ("NB") and/or Alteration Type I ("Alt. 1") professionally certified applications on the same zoning lot as another NB or Alt. 1 application 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 post-approval amendment.

F. Applicants who file under the professional certification option may not subsequently request plan examination review or approval. To obtain an examination and approval by the Department, the applicant must apply, in writing, to withdraw the application and then file a new application, with 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 any supplementary AI-1s containing the signed and sealed statements 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 going to be 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 filing, the Auditor will audit the site plan and the lead folder(s) for the cluster.

3. All applications are subject to audit.

b. Post-approval amendments:

1. All PAAs on professionally certified jobs will be reviewed by an auditor or plan examiner for fees and scope of work.

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

c. Audit focus

1. 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:

i.  zoning regulations and accuracy of calculations,
ii.  fire protection and occupant safety,
iii. egress requirements,
iv. Local Law 58 of 1987 regarding handicapped access ("accessibility,") and
v.  appropriateness of fees. The results of the audit will be entered in BIS and posted on the public screen.

2. 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 zoning, life safety and/or accessibility are not at risk, they will be noted on an Objection Sheet and faxed or emailed with a marked Audit Notice and appointment date to the applicant. 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 with a marked Audit Notice, 10-Day Revocation Notice and appointment date to the applicant, 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 the 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.

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 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 by either official, the Borough Commissioner will revoke the permit and send an inspector to the jobsite.

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

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 by either official, 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".

c. 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.

d. 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 Executive Director or the Borough Commissioner 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 by either official, the Borough Commissioner will revoke the permit. The application will be assigned to a plan examiner.

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

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 or upon the recommendation of the Executive Director of the Technical Compliance Unit, 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 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, a copy shall be forwarded immediately to IAD.

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