Intro No. 1307-A Relating to Department of Building Inspector Requirements

TESTIMONY

of

Carl Hum

Senior Vice President

Management Services and Government Affairs

The Real Estate Board of New York

before the

New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings

on

Introduction No. 1307-A

 

M E M O R A N D U M  O F  S U P P O R T

INTRO NO: 1307-A
SUBJECT: A Local Law to amend the New York City Charter, in relation to department of buildings inspectors
SUMMARY: Removes requirements for building inspector qualifications
SPONSORS: Williams, (by request of the Mayor)

REBNY, representing over 17,000 owners, developers, managers and brokers of real property in New York City, is pleased to submit this Legislative Memorandum outlining our support for Intro. No. 1307-A.  REBNY’s commitment and interest in construction safety is evident in our members’ long track records in building New York City’s, and, thereby the world’s most complex and sophisticated buildings with industry-leading safety practices. This bill will assist the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) in ensuring safe, Construction Code compliant, development throughout the City. 

Presently, the NYC Charter limits the pool of qualified talent that DOB can pull from by requiring outdated qualifications. For example, DOB cannot consider licensed site safety managers, master plumbers and electricians, crane operators, or applicants with degrees in engineering and architecture for inspector positions. The Charter minimum qualifications hinder DOB’s ability to advance Construction Code requirements, construction safety as well as its ability to evolve with the industry. 

Moreover, the Charter does not reflect DOB’s mandate, which now requires more varied disciplines such as sustainability[1], nor does it reflect the rigorous training DOB now provides to its inspectors. For the last four years, DOB’s training academy has offered each new inspector with classroom and in-the-field training over twelve weeks. This training is well beyond any training conceived by the drafters of the Charter’s minimum qualifications. 

To remedy this circumstance permanently, we believe inspector qualifications should be left to the determination of the commissioners of DOB and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). Granting the DOB and DCAS commissioners this authority will mirror other City agencies, protect against outdated qualifications, and help the DOB continue to evolve with the industry. 

For these reasons, REBNY supports Intro. No. 1307-A. Thank you again for the opportunity to comment. We look forward to continuing our conversations with the Council to continue improving construction safety throughout the City.

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[1] Local Law 85 of 2009 established the New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC) and required DOB to take all actions necessary to implement and enforce the NYCECC.