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Operations Policy And Procedure Notices

Issuance #612

Operations Policy And Procedure Notices #5/02

Date:

June 18, 2002

Subject:

Professional Certification of Applications and Plans

Effective:

Immediately

Supersedes:

Policy and Procedure Notice # 2/95 dated January 24, 1995, revised May 8, 1995

Purpose:

To clarify the Department's 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, and which continue to enable a contractor to request a work permit after all required information is data entered into the Building Information System (BIS).

Policy:

Since 1995, the Department of Buildings has had and will continue to provide a mechanism for PE/RAs to certify compliance with applicable laws and codes on applications filed with the Department. 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 the professional certification or limited supervisory check procedures:

Specifics:

Restrictions:
  • For a job requiring Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) approval, plans and applications must be filed through the standard plan review process, but the professional certification or limited supervisory check procedures may be utilized after the BSA has rendered its decision.

  • For a job requiring Landmarks Preservation Commission, Loft Board, or City Planning Commission approval or certification, a PE/RA may only use the professional certification or limited supervisory check procedures after obtaining such approval or certification from the respective agency.

  • For any application where a waiver must be sought from compliance with any provision of Local Law 58 of 1987, a PE/RA may use the professional certification or limited supervisory check procedures only after obtaining both an advisory opinion from the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, and a determination from the Borough Commissioner that a waiver is to be granted. 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 professional certification or limited supervisory check procedures can be utilized.

  • For a filing concerning property of foreign governments, plans and applications 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.

Applicant:

The applicant must submit a complete set of plans and documents required for the work type(s) filed. This submission must be complete and in accordance with code, zoning, and 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. Separate lists of items required for approval, permit, final signoff 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.

  2. 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.

  3. A certification by the applicant in Section 16 of the PW-1 stating as follows:

    "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 or owner's authorized representative that this application has been professionally certified. If an audit or other exam discloses non-compliance, I agree to notify the owner or the owner's authorized representative 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 or limited supervisory check procedures at the Department of Buildings."

If there is not enough space in Section 16 of the PW-l form for the entire certification, the applicant may make the certification on a separate AI-1 Form. The applicant must then state it is opting for professional certification in Section 16 of the PW-1, with a reference to the certification on the separate AI-1 Form.

If the applicant is using 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 indicate that it is opting for professional certification pursuant to this Policy and Procedure Notice (including the certification set forth above) in the "Considerations" section.

Applicants who file under the professional certification option cannot 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. Applicants may 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. Interpretations and decisions made during the preliminary consideration shall be given in writing and a copy of same will become part of the job application.

All work types filed under a 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 signoff or Certificate of Occupancy, as well as required controlled inspections, shall be submitted.

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.

The applicant will pay the filing fee at the cashier.

An approval status will be data entered into the computer unless the package is incomplete. An incomplete package may be re-submitted to the DEAR (Data Entry and Research) unit by the applicant when all required information has been compiled and will be given priority processing.

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 pre-filing. Filings for additional work types must be filed as a new application and receive a separate job number. Expansions to the scope of the application or work types must be filed as a post-approval amendment (PAA). All PAAs must be reviewed and approved by the Borough Commissioner or his/her designee.

Borough Office Procedures:
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 be returned to the applicant or filing representative and will not be processed.

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.

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 PC Filing program, the package will be forwarded to the PC Filing Clerk.

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.

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 list, 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 the computer as "Suspend" or "Disapprove", depending on the status of the application. (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 working days.

The DEAR unit will data enter the plan examination information and approval by using special user ID codes assigned for this purpose. The DEAR unit will then stamp the application and plans "Approved per OPPN 5/02".

Audit Procedures:

Within 45 days of acceptance by the Department, at least 20% of all professionally certified applications will be reviewed. A representative sample of application types will be randomly selected for review. All applications are subject to audit.

Applications selected for review will be assigned to an examiner from the Technical Compliance Unit located in the Borough Office. The review will focus on the following four areas: 1) accuracy of zoning calculations, 2) fire protection and occupant safety, 3) egress requirements, and 4) appropriateness of fees. A full review may also be conducted at any time based upon receipt of a complaint, evidence of non-compliance, or other determination made by the Department. All audits and results will be recorded in the BIS system and reported monthly to the Assistant Commissioner for Technical Affairs.

If objections are found during this review, they will be noted on an objection sheet and forwarded to the applicant and owner. If a permit has been issued, a 10-day notice of intent to revoke the permit will be included with the objections. If, within 10 days or other authorized time period, the Department receives no written response to the 10-day notice of intent to revoke, or if the Department receives a response that is insufficient in that it does not fully resolve the objections or propose acceptable corrective action to be immediately undertaken, then a final notice of revocation will be sent to the applicant. Applications receiving objections will be processed using the standard plan examination process until the application has been corrected and the application is approved, or until other final disposition of the application. Appointments to review objections and responses can be scheduled by the applicant or applicant's representative via the Department's Central Call Center.

At the discretion of the Borough Commissioner or upon the recommendation of the Assistant Commissioner for Technical Affairs, 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).

Suspension or Exclusion from the Professional Certification or Limited Supervisory Check Procedures:

In addition to taking action on particular permit applications, Borough Commissioners and the Assistant Commissioner for Technical Affairs 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 or limited supervisory check 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. If this recommendation includes disciplinary action, including exclusion or suspension of the PE/RA from the professional certification or limited supervisory check procedures, a copy shall be forwarded immediately to IAD. Additionally, after a matter has been referred to IAD by the Deputy Commissioner, upon the consent of the PE/RA and at the discretion of the Department, certain matters may also be referred to a peer review group comprised of non-Departmental licensed professionals, acceptable to the Commissioner, for review and a non-binding recommendation to the Commissioner. Notwithstanding whether a matter has been referred to a peer review group, the Commissioner may suspend or exclude a PE/RA in accordance with 1 RCNY §21-02.

 

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