The department hopes DOB NOW will streamline the construction process by making it possible to file building and construction permits online; track applications; conduct virtual meetings with DOB staff; and print permits at home. Phase one, DOB NOW: Build, will allow applications for sprinkler and plumbing systems. Over the next two years, the DOB will add applications for various jobs until it will be possible to apply for a whole new building from the comfort of your home.
The move comes in response to recent incidents that revealed numerous embarrassing lapses in safety and oversight in the field and within the department.
The mayor has allocated $120 million to hire hundreds of new staff and for modernizing programs like DOB NOW. In a press release, department commissioner Rick D. Chandler expanded on the changes: “Modernizing DOB will not only make dealing with the city’s bureaucracy less aggravating—it offers a unique opportunity to boost our economy and create the housing, jobs, and infrastructure upon which 8.5 million New Yorkers depend. With DOB NOW, New Yorkers will be able to track every step of our work, often in real time. If you hire an architect, engineer, plumber, or other professional, you’ll be able to track their work, too. We want New Yorkers to have more access to our records so they can help hold us and everyone in the construction industry accountable.”