Construction Approval Process Fully Online in NYC

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the new NYC Development Hub simplifies the way building plans are received and reviewed, speeding job creation “without sacrificing public safety.”

New York City has opened a new facility named the NYC Development Hub that will revolutionize the process of approving construction projects in the city. Licensed architects and engineers will submit digital construction plans to the city's Department of Buildings and resolve issues virtually, without any in-person meeting, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri outlined the process during the Oct. 12 opening. Representatives from six other city agencies are involved in the project approval process, including the fire department, and those agencies are creating their own mini-hubs at their offices to participate in video conferences while reviewing digital plans.

According to the mayor's office, New York City is among the first U.S. cities accepting and reviewing digital plans for proposed projects.

"Using the latest technology to speed up the approval of construction projects is exactly what New York City needs to build upon the economic progress we've made and help us prepare for the future," Bloomberg said. "More construction projects mean more jobs for New Yorkers, and the NYC Development Hub simplifies the way building plans are received and reviewed so those jobs can be created as soon as possible, without sacrificing public safety."

Digital construction plans for any new building or major alteration will be submitted electronically to a secure website where plan examiners, applicants, and representatives from the fire department, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Department of Transportation, City Planning, and the Department of Parks and Recreation can view them together, identify problem areas, and mark them up in real time. Objections can be discussed by phone, e-mail, and/or video conference, and applicants then can submit revised plans electronically.

"The definition of a hub is the focus of activity, authority, and commerce, and that's exactly what our new development center is," said LiMandri. "By harnessing the latest in technology, we're bringing together seasoned plan examiners to work with industry members and other agencies to approve construction projects more efficiently than at any other time in our history. That means fewer appointments, shorter lines, and more construction projects jobs for New York City. Simply put, this is no longer your father's Buildings Department."

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano called the facility "a win-win for everyone: faster customer service for New Yorkers looking to build or improve their properties; a more collaborative and productive system for city workers reviewing plans, and -– most importantly for the FDNY -– a process that will maintain the city's high standards for public safety."

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