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eFiling FAQs

eFiling Frequently Asked Questions
Last Updated: February 19, 2008

To better serve you, we’ve launched our new eFiling system for virtually all construction job application filings. Our user-friendly, interview-style process assists applicants in preparing our newly-revised PW-1, Schedule A and Schedule B forms online for initial and subsequent filings. Because of this system upgrade, the PC Filing system is no longer available. Click here to use the new system to file your application, and view the fact sheet (PDF) for more information.

  1. Q - What is eFiling?

    A - eFiling is the Department of Buildings online system for processing of select permit applications. Currently, the system allows select no-change permit renewals to be processed (eRenewal) and electrical permit applications to be submitted. Additional permit types will be added to the system in the future.

  2. Q - What permits will I be able to renew online?

    A - For the first phase of this project, only select no-change permit renewals can be processed online. The following permits CANNOT be renewed:

    • Renewals that require civil penalties or any additional fees
    • Renewals of demolition permits
    • Renewals of curb cut permits
    • Renewals of homeowner permits
    • Renewals that have already been submitted and are in progress
    • Renewals of pre-BIS permits and no-work permits
    • Renewals of shed permits
    • Renewals of New Building permits which do not have an active EQ permit or waiver
    • Renewals being handled by expediters
    • Electrical permits (currently not renewable)

  3. Q - What is eRenewal Select?

    A - eRenewal Select is a part of eFiling, providing customers the option to renew select no-change permit renewals online.

  4. Q - What electrical permits can be eFiled?

    A - All applications for electrical permits can be eFiled with the following exceptions (due to supporting documentation requirements):

    • Signs
    • If "Adequate Wiring Program" Special Certification/Approval Applies.
    • Applications for Non-Building addresses (BusShelter,Telephone Booth,News Stand,Street Lighting,SubStation,etc.)

  5. Q - When will other permit types be added to the process?

    A - The Department is currently working on expanding its online processing options. Licensees and General Contractors may now register for an eFiling account. If you have ideas for other online processes, please e-mail the Department at eFilingInformation@buildings.nyc.gov.

  6. Q - Who can register?

    A - Anyone who has a valid and active general contractor tracking number or plumber, fire suppression piping contractor, sign hanger, oil burner, or electrician license number with the Department of Buildings is eligible for an eFiling account. You must provide your license and/or contractor information and submit it to the Department of Buildings for activation.

  7. Q - Can I register if I am not a licensee or general contractor?

    A - Due to requirements in the Building Code, only licensees and general contractors may submit applications online. However, anyone may sign up for a "Preparer" account. When eFiling is expanded to other areas, Preparers will be able to create applications online and send them to licensees or contractors for submittal. A Preparer will NOT be able to submit the application online to DOB. The Preparer function is not available for eRenewals. Preparers may take part in the electrical permit application eFiling process.

  8. Q - Why do I have to register?

    A - There are several reasons for the registration:

    • The eFiling system checks to make sure that the license number or tracking number on the permit being renewed matches the license number or tracking # of the applicant. An account must be set up with associated license and/or tracking numbers so that this match can take place.
    • For security purposes, it is required that an original signature be submitted to the Department for online transactions. We must have a hand signature on file for each eFiling account of a licensee or general contractor. We must also have the stamp of the professional seal for licensees.

  9. Q - How do I register?

    A - The registration form is available on-line and requires information about the applicant and relevant license and/or tracking numbers. The applicant must fill out the form online, submit it online, print it, sign it, and mail both pages of the form to DOB's Central Unit for authentication and password activation. For licensees, the application must include an imprint of the licensee's seal, and for General Contractors the signature must be notarized. Preparer registration is completed online and does not require that the completed online form be mailed to DOB. The applicant will receive an e-mail notification that the eFiling account has been authorized. We need a hard copy version of the form in order to maintain a hard copy of the signature for our records.

  10. Q - Why would my account be rejected?

    A - In order for your eFiling account to be activated, we must ensure that the applicant, the signature of the applicant match, the professional seal (if applicable), and that license and/or tracking information provided is valid for that applicant. Reasons for rejection may include:

    • License number invalid
    • License status is deceased, suspended, or revoked
    • General contractor number invalid
    • Invalid/missing professional seal
    • Invalid/missing notarization
    • Invalid/missing applicant signature
    • Invalid business name(s)
    • Applicant name does not match licensee
    • Applicant name does not match signature
    • Applicant name not verified by General Contractor

  11. Q - How long will it take for my registration to be processed?

    A - The length of time will vary depending on the volume of registrations submitted. Our goal is to turnaround registration applications as quickly as possible, and in less then a week if possible.

  12. Q - May I sign up for more than one eFiling account?

    A - Yes. You may have more than one eFiling account if you have more than one type of license. However, you may use one account for multiple licenses. If you choose to set up separate accounts, please note that each account must have a unique e-mail address and license/general contractor number. You must go through the same registration process (form submittal) for each account.

  13. Q - How do I update my insurance and/or business address information?

    A - You must go through the exisitng process to update this information.  For more information, click here. For licensees, please contact the Licensing Unit. For General Contractors, please contact one of our Borough Offices or our Central Permit Renewal Unit.

  14. Q - Can I add or change license/tracking numbers on my eFiling account?

    A - You may add license numbers and a tracking number to your eFiling account. You may also change tracking numbers. You can not, however, change a license number that exists on your current (approved) eFiling account. License numbers do not change for the life of the license and must stay the same.

  15. Q - I forgot to print my registration form when I completed answering the questions on the online registration form. Is there a way that I can reprint it?

    A - You will need to log into eFiling and go to the "Manage Account" section. From there you can fill out your account information again, submit it, and print the form.

  16. Q - Can someone else register with my e-mail address?

    A - E-mail addresses can not be duplicated in the registration system. The system will not allow more than one user to have the same e-mail address. Once your registration has been accepted, no one else can register with the same e-mail.

  17. Q - Why does my renewed permit expire in just a few days?

    A - Permit renewals expire one year from the date of issuance or on the date that the licensee or general contractor's insurance expires, which ever comes first. eFiling shows you a preview of your permit prior to payment. This preview has the expiration date on it. PLEASE CHECK THIS INFORMATION. If the expiration date is less than a year away, that means that your insurance expires sooner. You can back out of the transaction and update your insurance information (see FAQ #12).

  18. Q - What if I forget my password?

    A - You will be able request a new password online through the "Forgot Password?" function. This causes eFiling to check the BIS database and ensure that the email address supplied by the user matches an active account. Once this is confirmed the eFiling system will generate a password and an email containing it is automatically sent to the user.

  19. Q - Is there an additional cost to register for or to use eFiling?

    A - No.

  20. Q - Why won’t the system allow me to renew my permit on line?

    A - The eFiling system goes through several edit checks to verify that a permit can be renewed. If you can not process a permit, it may be due to one of the following reasons:

    • Civil penalty exists
    • Contractor not in active status
    • Insurance has expired
    • Contractor not on file
    • License has expired
    • License not on file
    • License/tracking number on permit was not registered
    • Registration is not active
    • Previous applicant for the permit is different than the user attempting to renew
    • Permit has been expired for more than one year
    • License type cannot eRenew permits
    • Permit revoked
    • Cannot resume an in-process permit that was begun at a DOB office
    • Work-type has already been signed off
    • Work-type review needed (see BIS unit)
    • Initial permit not yet issued
    • Permit is not one of the types available for eFiling (see FAQ #2)

    The applicable error message will display on the screen when you eFile.

  21. Q - I am having a problem with my printer and am unable to print my permit. Can I go back and print it later?

    A - You can reprint the permit at any time by visiting the Buildings' website and performing the following steps:

    • Select Buildings Information System 
    • Click on the 'Enter Buildings Information System' button
    • Select 'Buildings Information Search'
    • Enter permit number
    • Click on link for Printable version on the Work Permit Data screen (for renewals) and the Application Details screen (for electrical permits) and print out the image of the permit

  22. Q - I have a question about my eFiling payment. Who should I contact?

    A - For all billing inquiries, please contact Building's Central Cashier.

  23. Q - Can I make any changes to my permit through the eFiling system?

    A - Changes can not be made for no-change permit renewals. If you have more than one business associated with your plumber or fire suppression piping contractor license, you may select either business for the renewal as long as the required insurance has not expired. No other data in our Building Information System for the permit can be changed through eFiling, other than expiration date.

    An amendment may be requested for electrical permits that have been issued. Requests may be sent to DOB through the eFiling system. Please note that requests must be reviewed and approved by our staff. The change will not be made unless this approval is granted (submitting the request does NOT result in amendment taking place).

  24. Q - Is there a way for me to look up the contractor or licensee who has the permit on my property?

    A - You can look up the contractor on record for the permit at any time by visiting Buildings' website and performing the following steps:

    • Select Buildings Information System 
    • Click on the 'Enter Buildings Information System' button
    • Select 'Buildings Information Search'
    • Enter permit number
    • On the bottom half of the Work Permit Data screen, you will find the information for the contractor on record

  25. Q - My web page froze when I tried to enter my credit card information for my electrical permit. Do I have to start from scratch?

    A - No. eFiling automatically saves electrical permit applications when you reach the credit card payment screen. If you encounter an error during payment, you can retrieve the application from the "Saved Applications" list in your "Manage Electrical Applications" screen of your eFiling account. Open that application and continue with the eFiling process.

  26. Q - Why can't I pay for my eFiled electrical application with my firm account?

    A - The Department must use the city's online payment system ("Skipjack"). This system is not linked to DOB's firm accounts. As a result, for all eFiled applications, the filing fee ($15 for Minor work and $40 for New Building or Rehabilitation) must be paid for with a credit card at this time. No other form of payment will be accepted.

Other Related Links
eFiling Fact sheet
eFiling User Guide (PDF)
eFiling Address and Insurance Changes
Other Department of Buildings FAQ A-L
Other Department of Buildings FAQ M-Z
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