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For Immediate Release
January 30, 2008


Fiscal Year-to-Date Comparison Shows More Violations Issued As Construction Activity Remained Constant

Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster, FAIA, today announced that the number of initial building permits issued citywide in the first half of Fiscal Year 2008 stayed relatively constant while the number of violations issued increased. The numbers were published on Tuesday in the Building Understanding, Integrity, Leadership, and Dedication (BUILD) Report. Published monthly, BUILD provides a citywide overview of the Department's performance in delivering services and enforcing the Building Code and Zoning Resolution.

“The BUILD Report is a strategic tool used to measure the Department's ability and effectiveness in delivering its essential services. By analyzing the Department's performance measures, we can build on continued progress by identifying trends, holding ourselves accountable, and focusing on areas that need improvement,” said Buildings Commissioner Lancaster. “Today's numbers show a steady volume of overall construction activity throughout the five boroughs over the past six months. Despite fewer permits being issued for new buildings in the boroughs outside of Manhattan, the Department is issuing more permits for minor alterations to existing buildings citywide, with an 8.4% increase alone in the first half of Fiscal Year 2008. As construction continues across the five boroughs, the Buildings Department must be proactive in demanding construction projects be carried out in a safe and compliant manner.”

The following highlights key points in the Department's performance during the first half of Fiscal Year 2008. Unless otherwise noted, the trends described below compare the first half of Fiscal Year 2008 to the same time period in Fiscal Year 2007.

Construction Activity
Buildings Department data demonstrates New York City's construction activity continues at a sustained pace, with a shift in the type of construction projects permitted.

  • More permits are being issued for alterations. Initial building permits issued citywide increased by 4.5%, from 42,415 to 44,324. While New Building (NB) permits issued citywide decreased by 22.8%, from 2,861 to 2,209, Alteration (A1, A2, and A3) permits issued citywide increased by 6.5%, from 39,554 to 42,115.

  • More applications are being filed for minor alterations. Applications filed for initial building permits citywide increased by 3.4%, from 36,037 to 37,250. While applications filed for New Building (NB) and Alteration Type-1 (A1) permits decreased by 25.5% and 16%, respectively, Alteration Type-2 (A2) and Alteration Type-3 (A3) applications filed increased by 10.7% and 5.5%, respectively.

  • Fewer applications were professionally-certified. The share of professionally-certified applications for New Building (NB) and Alteration Type-1 (A1) permits decreased by 25.5% and 21.5%, respectively. Citywide, the share of professionally-certified applications for all building permit types decreased 2.2%.

  • Fewer permits were issued for professionally-certified applications. The number of professionally-certified applications for New Building (NB) and Alteration Type-1 (A1) permits decreased by 32.7% and 29.6%, respectively.

Construction Oversight
The Buildings Department remains dedicated to raising the bar for construction standards by demanding safety on job sites throughout New York City.

  • Plan examiners audited more professionally-certified applications. Plan examiners conducted 4,622 audits of professionally-certified applications, a 2.6% increase. Overall, 24.6% of professionally-certified applications were audited, surpassing the Mayor's Management Report (MMR) target of 20%.

  • Inspectors issued more violations. The total number of violations issued for conditions on construction sites and in existing buildings increased by 2.9%, from 11,979 to 12,332

  • Inspectors responded to construction emergency complaints within the target. Citywide, 95.6% of construction emergency complaints were responded to within the Mayor's Management Report (MMR) target of 36 hours. The Department's citywide average time to respond to a construction emergency complaint was 4 hours.

  • As complaints rose, the volume of inspections performed remained high. The Department received 57,220 construction-related complaints, a 13.6% increase. Accounting for response to the construction-related complaints received, construction monitoring inspections performed, and proactive inspections conducted, Buildings inspectors performed 104,887 inspections.

Customer Service
By introducing technology into our daily operations, the Buildings Department has infused transparency, efficiency, and accountability into the construction process.

  • Application processing time holds steady. The average time to process a permit application remained under 1.6 hours.

  • More applicants are taking advantage of eFiling. The number of electrical applications filed online increased by 95.1%, from 9,731 applications to 18,989. Overall, 80.5% of electrical permit applications were filed online for the first half of Fiscal Year 2008.

  • Scheduling appointments with plan examiners took less time. The average time to schedule an appointment with a plan examiner decreased by 9.5%, from 4.2 to 3.8 days in January 2008, as compared to January 2007.

Created in 2001, the BUILD reporting system tracks more than 100 operational and performance indicators that provide an overview of the Buildings Department's effectiveness in delivering services to the public. Published monthly, the BUILD Report generates statistics that are used to hold management directly accountable for their areas of responsibility within the Department. The statistics generated by BUILD are used by the Buildings Department to set performance goals and allow the Department's leadership to follow trends and to identify areas for improvement. The top ten indicators from the BUILD Reports, such as the number of inspections performed, permits issued, applications filed, violations issued, and complaints received, are posted and archived on the Buildings Department website at

New Yorkers are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to report non-compliant conditions or 9-1-1 to report emergencies at construction sites or buildings. New Yorkers who suspect a building or property has been structurally compromised should call 9-1-1.

Contact:     Kate Lindquist/Carly Sullivan (212) 566-3473

The New York City Department of Buildings ensures the safe and lawful use of buildings and properties by enforcing the Building Code and Zoning Resolution. We facilitate development with integrity, efficiency and professionalism.