Kudos to city for launching Buildings Department Hub

A major expansion of the NYC Development Hub by the New York City Buildings Department will now allow plans for small construction projects to be submitted and approved online. This will help eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic delays and accelerate the building process, saving money for the real estate industry.

Under the new program, called Hub Self-Service, licensed design professionals can now submit plans and obtain permits online for smaller projects – such as home renovations, office improvements and façade repairs – without leaving their offices. More than 50,000 applications for small projects are submitted for this kind of work each year, and this streamlined online approach is expected to save the building industry up to $50 million per year in labor costs, according to the City.

Equipped with large-screen televisions, smart boards and desktop tablets, the NYC Development Hub is a state-of-the-art plan review center created to accelerate the construction project approval process by accepting and reviewing digital construction plans.

During the project approval process, plans are uploaded to a secure website where applicants and representatives from six other City agencies, including the Fire Department, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of Parks and Recreation, can view them together, identify problem areas and mark them up – digitally – in real time.

Plan examiners typically raise objections when the plans fail to comply with the New York City Construction Codes and the Zoning Resolution, and it is the responsibility of the industry professional to resolve those objections and submit revised plans. Objections can be discussed by telephone, email and/or video conference, and applicants can submit the revised plans electronically – instead of visiting one of the Department’s offices. NYC’s Department of Building has also assisted the six agencies with the creation of their own mini-hubs at their respective offices to further streamline the process.

Previously, the Hub accepted submissions of major construction projects, and with the use of digital construction plans, virtual conferences and increased collaboration among City officials and industry members, Department of Building plan examiners approved these construction projects up to three times faster than paper-based plans submitted at one of the Department’s borough offices.

The Hub is an excellent example of how collaboration and cooperation between government and the development community can make tangible improvements in approval processes, saving time and money, bringing more jobs to New York, and promoting information sharing and best practices throughout the industry. Members of the Real Estate Board of New York have used the Hub and have reported they are happy with it.

Since its launch in 2011, the Hub has approved more than 330 new buildings and major renovation projects and generated more than $1.3 billion in estimated economic activity in the City. REBNY applauds Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Commissioner Robert LiMandri and Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway for having the vision to create the Hub and we congratulate the Department of Buildings and the staff of the Hub for a successful inaugural year.

For more information or to submit your digital construction plans, visit www.nyc.gov or email nycdevelopmenthub@buildings.nyc.gov to correspond with the Department of Buildings.

In other REBNY News:

“Market Trends-An Owner’s Perspective” is the topic for the REBNY Member’s Luncheon from 11:45 am to 2 pm, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 at The Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of the Americas. Luncheon speakers are Gary Barnett, President - Extell Development Company and Marc Holliday, Chief Executive Officer - SL Green Realty Corp. Peter Grant, Editor of the Wall Street Journal, will serve as the moderator. The event is open to REBNY members & their guests only. Registration is required. For tickets, contact Desiree Jones at djones@rebny.com