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For Immediate Release
August 28, 2009

BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER ROBERT LIMANDRI ANNOUNCES THE USE OF GPS TECHNOLOGY TO INCREASE THE INTEGRITY, EFFICIENCY AND SAFETY
OF ALL INSPECTIONS

New Tracking System Will Pinpoint Locations of
Inspectors While On Duty

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today announced a new program that will use global-positioning system (GPS) technology to track the locations of the Department's 379 inspectors throughout the City. Starting Monday, the Department of Buildings (DOB) will begin to implement a new tracking system for the first group of inspectors through the use of GPS technology installed in their Department-issued cell phones. By the end of September, the routes of all construction inspectors, as well as inspectors from the Boilers, Cranes and Derricks, Electrical, Elevators and Plumbing units, will be monitored electronically through their cell phones. This program will better ensure the integrity of all inspections, while helping supervisors dispatch resources more efficiently and provide employees with greater security during the course of their duties.

 "This new GPS-tracking system is a simple, innovative way to ensure inspectors reach their assigned locations and are held accountable for their important work," said Commissioner LiMandri. "With this technology, our inspectors can respond to a building-related emergency faster than ever before, and we can provide them with a greater measure of safety when they are working in the field."

 "We have asked the construction industry to raise its standards, and this new tool will help us raise ours," said First Deputy Commissioner Fatma Amer. "Our job is to assess the safety of buildings throughout the City. This technology allows us to manage our resources more effectively and get the job done."

 Using a web-based system, inspection unit heads will be able to monitor the real-time movements of their inspectors from a computer at their work station or any other computer. For security purposes, inspection unit heads each will receive a confidential log-in name and password to access the tracking system and monitor the locations of their inspectors. The daily routes of inspectors generated from the new tracking system will be electronically recorded and stored in a Department database.

 During the course of their work, inspectors regularly respond to emergency incidents, day and night, and coordinate with firefighters, police officers and other investigators to conduct investigations and assess the stability of a structure or a piece of equipment. Inspectors also routinely inspect vacant buildings, illegally converted dwellings and low-rise and high-rise construction sites that may pose a variety of hazardous conditions. The GPS-based program will help supervisors identify the closest inspectors to assign to emergency incidents and pinpoint the location of an inspector if he or she loses contact with a supervisor.

 In Fiscal Year 2009, DOB inspectors performed more than 445,000 inspections, a 1% increase when compared to the previous fiscal year.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Carly Sullivan (212) 566-3473

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