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Unsafe Buildings Guide

Contribute to Your Community and Become a UB Surveyor

The New York City Department of Buildings initiates cases called Unsafe Buildings (UB) proceedings in State Supreme Court. These are cases we bring in courts Citywide against buildings that are open, vacant and unguarded or structurally compromised in a way that threatens public safety. As a practical matter, they are often buildings from which the owner has walked away.

The process governing Unsafe Buildings proceedings is set forth in New York City Administrative Code §26-235 through §25-242. As part of this process, the law requires that a survey be performed. A survey is an inspection of the building that is the subject of the UB proceeding. The survey is performed by a Department inspector, a professional representative of the owner (who rarely appears), and an independent PE or RA appointed by specified professional organizations. On average, the UB Unit schedules 20-25 surveys a month. Generally, the bulk of the surveys are in Queens and Brooklyn. The compensation for the independent surveyor is set by law at $50 per survey. See Administrative Code §26-238.

In order to be considered for selection as a surveyor, the Code requires that surveyors be licensed architects appointed by:

  1. the county chapter of the American Institute of Architects,
  2. New York Society of Architects, or
  3. Brooklyn Society of Architects,

or

Licensed professional engineers appointed by:

  1. New York Association of Consulting Engineers or
  2. County chapter of the New York Society of Professional Engineers.

If you are interested in becoming a surveyor, please submit a current resume and an appointment letter from the respective association to:

Rachel Rabinowitz
Assistant General Counsel
Office of the General Counsel,
Unsafe Buildings Unit
280 Broadway, 7th Floor
New York, New York 10007

If you have questions, please feel free to contact either Ms. Rabinowitz at 212-393-2131 or via email at RachelR@buildings.nyc.gov.

You can also download this document (PDF)

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