By Mitch Kidd
If you’ve ever renovated your home, you know it can be a painful, drawn out process. In New York City, home renovations and construction projects are even more frustrating for homeowners and renters due to building code regulations set by the Department of Buildings. For the first time renovator or anyone unfamiliar with them, these regulations can be highly specific, counterintuitive and confusing. Failing to follow DOB regulations can lead to major delays in your home renovation. Refer to the the follow list for some practical tips on how to avoid or deal with delays posed by the Department of Buildings.
1. Before you acquire your various construction permits, be sure to prepare a thorough application package with all the requisite materials and documents. Make sure your plans for construction and the accompanying forms are well coordinated, comprehensive, and easy to read. This will avoid unnecessary objections during plan examination and having things rejected.
2. Be patient and keep expectations in check. Don’t expect to everything done overnight. Expect things take time. The length of time that it takes the DOB to process your application generally will depend on how complicated and involved your project is. Approvals can take as little as day or as long as several months.
3. Don’t be afraid to go the Department of Buildings, located on the 7th floor of 280 Broadway between Chamber and Reade Streets, to ask questions or resolve issues. There are many “walk-in” appointments available if you show up early. Others require scheduled appointments. When you go to the Department of Buildings, be sure to bring as many records of your property as possible. This may save you several trips to the same office.
4. If you’re making frequent trips to the Department of Buildings, get a ID badge. The DOB issues ID cards for professionals, filing representatives and other professions. An ID card will facilitate access within the DOB.
5. Go online to stay organize and stay on top of your various permit applications. The DOB maintains an electronic system (BIS) that lets you keep track of all permit applications.
6. Know your filing options. Recent DOB rules now allow for same day filing, online submissions, and even video conferencing meetings for certain applications. Ask your professional or filing representative (also know as an expeditor) to see if any of these new options can be used on your application.
7. Keep your cool. Its easy to get frustrated at times. Getting upset and anger displays will likely make things worse.