For Immediate Release: December 21, 2023
Contact:, (212) 393-2126


In 2023 DOB Made Great Strides Towards Safer and More Beautiful City Sidewalks With “Get Sheds Down” Initiatives; a Carbon Neutral Future With New Rules for Local Law 97; and Quicker and More Efficient Customer Service for New Yorkers

NEW YORK – As the year comes to a close, New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Oddo today released a list of achievements completed by the Department over the past year, which best highlight the agency’s commitment to facilitating development and promoting public safety across our city’s 1.1 million buildings and more than 40,000 construction sites. And there’s much more to come.

“New Yorkers deserve an efficient and responsive buildings department, and we are delivering with improved service level response times, more inspections in the field, and an increased emphasis of compliance over penalties,” said Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Oddo. “In 2024, we will move forward with more agency reforms, working closely with our industry partners and fellow government agencies to deliver our services to the public, promote Code-compliant development and enhance building safety across the five boroughs."

Highlights from the Department of Building’s 2023 achievements include:

Reimagining and Removing Unnecessary Sidewalk Sheds: Over the summer, the Department launched the “Get Sheds Down,” a sweeping plan to overhaul the regulations governing sidewalk construction sheds. The initiatives in the “Get Sheds Down” plan are aimed at incentivizing property owners to make needed building repairs, so that sidewalk sheds can be removed from city streets more quickly, while implementing new designs for the sidewalk sheds that are still needed in the interest of public safety. The Department has been hard at work implementing this package of new regulations which seek to improve our city’s public realm, which includes pushing for legislation in the City Council to enhance enforcement procedures for negligent landlords who allow their sidewalk sheds to languish for years, and moving forward with a complete redesign of sidewalk sheds to be implemented in 2024. In an effort to dismantle sidewalk sheds throughout the city, there were approximately 33 open criminal cases against corporate owners of long-standing sheds with façade maintenance issues in 2023, an increase from the previous year.

Since the “Get Sheds Down” plan was first announced in June, there are approximately 500 less sidewalk sheds on city sidewalks, 75 of those removed sheds were long standing sheds that have stood in place for over five years. This net reduction in sheds has lead to the lowest total number of permitted sidewalk sheds in the city since 2018. While legislation related to enhanced sidewalk shed enforcement is still pending, this early data is encouraging that greater public awareness of the “Get Sheds Down” plan may be leading to more owners undertaking repairs and safely removing their sheds.

Implemented City’s Groundbreaking Building Emissions Law: In 2023, the Department took major steps to fully implement Local Law 97, which places limits on carbon emissions coming from the city’s largest buildings. These limits, established by the City Council in 2019, go into effect on January 1st, 2024, and are the centerpiece of the city’s plan to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from our built environment and meet an aggressive target of carbon neutrality by 2050. The department published two major rule packages this year related to how building owners calculate their building’s unique carbon emission limit, how enforcement of those emission limits will work, and how building owners can show they are making a good faith effort to comply with the law. These rules were the product of extensive collaborative work by the department’s Sustainability Bureau.

Major Agency Reforms: This year, the department committed to implementing over 50 separate agency improvements that arose out of “The Adams Commission,” a collaborative brainstorming initiative comprised of industry stakeholder committees who worked to come up with ideas to reduce red tape in the development process, promote public safety, and improve services for New Yorkers who do business with the Department. “The Adams Commission” was comprised of volunteers from over 60 industry groups, trade organizations, ownership associations, advocacy groups, and government agencies, that were divided into working groups to tackle specific topics. DOB informed volunteer committee members in November 2023 that the department has already implemented 14 of these agency improvements, has committed to implementing them all over the next several years, and will be holding regular meetings with volunteer stakeholders as part of that implementation rollout. Of the remaining recommendations, the Department is currently in the process of implementing 26 of them in the near future, including a new ‘next day’ plan review program for small construction projects.

Improved Service Level Times: In a demonstration of DOB’s commitment to streamlining efficiency and helping New Yorkers cut through administrative red tape, service level response times have improved across a number of key service areas in the Department. Our first reviews on new building and major alterations, first reviews on minor alterations, requests for elevator inspections, review license renewals and the average wait time experienced by customers at our service ticket counters, are all areas that have seen improved response times over the past year. On average the department is conducting first reviews of construction project applications, where an application will either be approved or sent back to the applicant with objections, in just three days.

Inspections Are up, Punitive Enforcement Actions Are Down: In fiscal year 2023, the department inspectors conducted a total of 373,838 inspections across the City. This represents a high water mark for total inspections since the Department began tracking total agency inspections as a unique metric, and represents a 5.7 percent increase in total inspections compared to fiscal year 2022. Despite having a larger footprint at buildings and construction sites across the City, total DOB enforcement actions are down as our inspectors are finding more compliant work sites. In Fiscal Year 2023, the department issued 30 percent less OATH/ECB violations and issued 18 percent less Stop Work Orders compared to the previous year.

The decrease in enforcement actions came as a result of the construction industry’s greater compliance with the City’s safety regulations, the department’s work to educate the industry on what conditions will result in a Stop Work Order, and the continued implementation of the Homeowner Relief Program (HRP), which is designed to help small property owners of one- and two-family homes avoid civil penalties, by giving them the time and opportunity to fix code violations in their homes discovered during DOB inspections. This program is designed to educate homeowners about their legal requirements as property owners in New York City and compel them to bring their buildings up to code, without unduly burdening them with violations and steep penalties.

Pursued Criminal and Disciplinary Cases for Negligence in the Construction Industry: The department’s enforcement and legal affairs bureaus work every day to promote safety on constructions sites, through the issuance and prosecution of enforcement actions. Cutting corners on a construction job and ignoring safety regulations can have dire consequences and when those consequence occur, DOB stands ready to work with our partners in law enforcement to bring criminal cases when appropriate. In 2023, the department worked with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to indict three contractors involved in the 2019 death of a construction worker. Thanks to the work of agency attorneys and investigators, we also helped the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office secure a conviction of the operator of a construction company in the 2018 criminally negligent death of a construction worker in Sunset Park. In addition, the Department’s Licensing and Disciplinary Unit has brought successful disciplinary action against approximately 40 licensees, resulting in voluntary surrenders of privileges or a commissioner’s order to suspend or revoke a professional’s license.

Increased Community Engagement Activities: In 2023, the Department of Buildings (DOB) continued its commitment to engaging directly with communities through the new "DOB in Your Community" program. DOB representatives actively participated in events across every borough, providing valuable insights and answering queries from members of the public. Onsite assistance was offered to individuals navigating the process of filing a Certificate of Correction with DOB's Administrative Enforcement Unit. This personalized support proved instrumental for community members facing challenges in resolving violations promptly. Every summons issued includes an order mandating the filing of a Certificate of Correction to clear the property record. Building on the success of this program, Commissioner Jimmy Oddo plans to launch an education campaign in the upcoming year, aiming to assist communities in closing out any open summonses and fostering a culture of compliance and cooperation.

To improve communications with the construction and development industry in 2023, the department also launched the “DOB NOW On the Road” initiative. These in-person industry meetings with construction and design professionals, gives DOB the opportunity to provide detailed training on updates with the department’s online filing system, and listen to important feedback on what can be improved to make the online filing process better. In 2023, the department has held these informational sessions with 15 industry groups. Feedback the department has received during these meetings have directly led to 20 priority system enhancements for our DOB NOW system.

Opened The Door to More Housing Opportunities: In collaboration with the New York City Department of City Planning, DOB participated in the Office Adaptive Reuse Task Force, providing technical assistance and recommendations on how to help convert underused office towers in the City into residential buildings. Through a series of 11 concrete recommendations crafted with input from multiple city agencies including DOB, the office conversions could create homes for as many as 40,000 New Yorkers over the next decade.

Strengthened Protections for Vulnerable Historic Buildings: Earlier this year we worked with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on the creation of a new action plan to strengthen enforcement tools that will preserve the city’s most vulnerable historic buildings. The plan will aid in protecting buildings designated as historic landmarks that are at risk due to pre-existing unknown structural conditions, owner neglect, and contractor negligence, and focuses on early detection of risks to designated buildings, more robust engineering oversight, increased coordination, and communication between the two city agencies, and enhanced community tools, including new digital tools.

Expanded Summer No-Penalty Inspection Program: The return of this citywide initiative allowed New Yorkers to proactively call 311 to request a free, no-penalty visual inspection of various areas of their property, to get an expert opinion on potential repair projects and guidance on applicable legal requirements, all summer long. This program helps owners ensure that these structures and equipment on their properties are in good condition, with no visibly apparent hazardous conditions. And for the first year ever, DOB has added building facades, boilers, and private elevators to our No-Penalty Inspection Program, in an effort to offer more New Yorkers access to this long running program.

Promoted Awareness of Drug Abuse and Overdose Dangers in the Construction Industry - In response to troubling data which revealed that construction workers led occupational groups in overdose deaths, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and the Buildings Department sent out an alert to the City’s construction industry about the potentially fatal dangers associated with substance abuse, along with tools they can utilize to prevent fatal overdoses. Staff from both departments visited construction sites as a part of the campaign to discuss substance abuse issues, the dangers of fentanyl, how to use Naloxone to prevent a fatal overdose, and work site safety, giving critical information directly to workers on how they can keep themselves safe both on and off the construction site.

Hosts Interagency Multi-Day Emergency Response Drill – To help prepare for potential disaster scenarios, DOB along with our partner organizations held the 2023 New York City Continuity of Operations (COOP) Full Scale Exercise Training, a 9-day disaster preparedness program held every year in Fort Totten, Queens. Spearheaded by DOB’s Emergency Management Unit, this training event for government staff and private industry professionals includes rehearsals of the latest emergency protocols for dealing with wide-scale natural disasters affecting buildings in an urban environment. The practical damage assessments and logistics training taught during this annual program has been effectively utilized by the Department on multiple occasions, both in New York City and abroad.