DOB Now or DOB Later: What is Really Going on With the Construction Industry in New York City?

Working in the New York City construction industry or real estate business forces companies like A & B Low Voltage Wiring, Inc to have to deal with the DOB Now website. Filing permits, paying dues, and downloading building site information, everything is available on the DOB Now website. This would be ideal if it actually worked. According to many New York City construction developers and real estate agencies, it has never been convenient or easy to use the DOB Now website. A & B Low Voltage Wiring has to file and retrieve many electrical permits in order to complete projects, and often it is not possible due to the DOB Now website being completely down, or permits simply take too long to appear in the system.
Constant issues loading pages, getting updates in a timely matter, or the entire website being completely down for days can be a nightmare. Now when the city is finally coming back to life and businesses are trying to be productive, nothing is more irritating than not being able to access what is needed and fast. Spending hours if not days reloading the website in hopes to get updates. Never-ending system glitches when trying to file or retrieve paperwork.
Trying to get a Certificate of Occupancy? Get in line! The archaic system will have users file application with the DOB Now as well as regular BIS (Building information system) system resulting in double the fees, double the effort and a ton of frustration! An inside source confirms that close to a thousand applications are on backlog and there is no light at the end of that tunnel. In meantime, the majority of construction developers cannot let tenants move into completed buildings without this certificate. So many projects are stalled for months, with so little help from the Department of Buildings.
Is the DOB Now run by robots? It is infuriating that a representative is not available over the phone and getting a response to an email takes over 3 weeks with no supervisor available at any point. The blooming borough of Brooklyn hasn’t had a DOB borough manager since February 2020. Brooklynites no longer have a voice that reassures and sorts things out.
It has become evident how major this problem is for the New York construction industry. This is what Chris Miele of the Stagg Group, property management company had to say after attempting to use the DOB Now system online: “Is it just me or does it seem the DOB Help Desk just doesn’t respond sometimes. I have multiple inquiries that are over a month old. What do you do when you have an emergency? I’m dealing with a DOB Now glitch on a job where the special inspector is unable to sign on inspections (WHICH HE ALREADY SIGNED ON FOR) in order to renew a permit. Inquiry just sitting there. Permit is expired. No help. Also, if I am lucky enough to get a response, half the time it is a sorry attempt to help resolve my issue and as I read the response, I ask myself if they even read the inquiry.” Comments like this display how exhausting the process of dealing with the Department of Buildings is.
New York City developers are looking for answers and solutions. In this day and age shouldn’t there be more options? An app or a website that allows users to submit and retrieve paperwork, locate building information without being bounced around website pages, pay for violations, track milestones and, hopefully, more.
A & B Low Voltage Wiring decided to search for solutions. The goal was to find a user-friendly app to handle as many things as possible. One app stood out the most due to its innovative features. Citiscape App gives users access to full building information, permits, cloud storage, complaints and violations, calendar with the ability to track project milestones, direct chat with team members, and a feature called Citi-Link that loads real-time updates from the DOB system. This appears to be revolutionary in itself, however, when mixed with Citiscape App’s other feature called Citi-Watch, the app becomes a very useful tool. The Citi-Watch feature notifies users that an inspector is spotted and allows them to share this information with other users within a 2-mile radius, thus giving others ample time to prepare. It also appears that the Citiscape app team is about to launch yet another update, which will provide access to essential project information when the official DOB Now website is down. A & B Low Voltage Wiring hopes this new find will make the process of managing construction projects somewhat easier.
New York City is going through some major renovations and new developments, and it is a shame that the process of getting things done is so tedious and frustrating. Most city agencies had their websites developed decades ago and operate with similar issues. Running updates on outdated systems is like putting a Band-Aid on an open wound. Hopefully the Department of Buildings will finally realize that it’s time for a major makeover.
Source: A & B Low Voltage Wiring, Inc