From time to time we get these DoB press releases in the Imby@nyc.rr.com mailbox. Here is the latest one cut and pasted for your viewing pleasure. For some reason the Blogger spellchecker insists on changing the Mayor's name to "Bumbag".
BUILDINGS DEPARTMENT DELIVERS PROGRESS REPORT ON SPECIAL ENFORCEMENT PLAN TO STOP ABUSES OF CONSTRUCTION REGULATIONS
Newly-Operational Units Demanding Excavation Site Safety, Building Cases Against Repeat Offenders and Cracking Down on Noncompliant, Professionally-Certified Plans
Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster, FAIA, today provided a progress report on implementation of the Special Enforcement Plan to raise the bar for construction standards citywide. Announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in July, Phase I of the Enforcement Plan outlines measures to form new multidisciplinary enforcement units, focuses resources on identifying and holding repeat offenders accountable and increases oversight over the professional certification program. The progress report was delivered today, 115 days after funding for the Enforcement Plan was announced.
“Our Special Enforcement Plan is designed to disrupt the business models of those who intentionally or carelessly put the public and workers at risk by defying the Building Code or Zoning Resolution. We’ve formed three new enforcement units and empowered them to take action on critical construction issues affecting New Yorkers: repeat offenders; unsafe excavation work; and abuses of the professional certification privilege,” said Commissioner Lancaster. “While our work has just begun, this is a substantial step toward reaching our ultimate goal of ensuring safe and compliant development by making it cost effective to play by the rules.”Since July, the Buildings Department has laid the foundation upon which the Special Enforcement Plan is built. Achievements include:
• $6 million dedicated by Mayor Bloomberg for the new Special Enforcement Plan
• Three new enforcement units created to implement the Special Enforcement Plan
• Special Enforcement Plan recruitment underway, with four recruitment fairs held already
• Excavation Violation Guide created for new Excavation Unit
• New Excavation Unit inspected 767 excavation sites, stopping work at 167 sites
• New Special Enforcement Team building cases against 50 individuals or companies
• Professional Certification Review & Audits inspected 285 sites and audited 155 plans
• Stop Work Order Patrol expanded to the Bronx and Staten Island
The Special Enforcement Plan operationally complements a recent legislative initiative that will enable the Buildings Department to further deter abuses of the professional certification privilege and hold repeat offenders accountable for their actions. Bolstering the Department’s enforcement abilities, the New York State Assembly signed Assembly Bill 7746 into law on August 17, 2007, enabling the Buildings Department to refuse applications filed by professionals who, after due process, are found to have filed false or fraudulent documents.
Under Phase I of the Enforcement Plan, $6 million was allocated to the Buildings Department to create 67 new staff lines to support the Department’s new multidisciplinary enforcement model. The new staff lines are distributed among three new units: the Special Enforcement Team; the Excavations Inspections & Audits Team; and the Professional Certification Review & Audits Team. Of the 67 enforcement positions, the Buildings Department is still accepting applications for 19 positions as it continues its recruitment drive.
The Special Enforcement Plan is the result of a collaborative effort by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Housing and Buildings Chair Erik Martin Dilan, City Councilman James Oddo, and Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster to support the continual transformation of the Buildings Department. The Special Enforcement Plan will be implemented in three phases.
Since 2002, the Buildings Department has worked aggressively to streamline its processes, improve transparency, and infuse integrity and accountability into its daily operations. From putting its Buildings Information System on the Internet for public consumption to making most contents of job folders available on its website, the Buildings Department has committed itself to improving the access to services it provides the public. Building on these accomplishments, the Special Enforcement Plan will further the Department’s mission of ensuring the safe and lawful use of all of New York City’s 950,000 buildings and properties.
New Yorkers are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to report noncompliant conditions or 9-1-1 to report emergencies at construction sites or buildings. New Yorkers who suspect a building or property has been structurally compromised should call 9-1-1.
Contact: Kate Lindquist/Carly Sullivan (212) 566-3473