Free mobile app taps NYC buildings database

May 21, 2013
Free mobile app taps NYC buildings database

If you’ve ever wondered about the particulars of a property while passing it on the street, you can now investigate via your smartphone.

A smartphone application from the NYC Department of Buildings accesses a database with historical information on more than 975,000 buildings and construction sites across the five boroughs. Users can search by address, block and lot numbers, and construction projects, such as minor plumbing and electrical applications.

The database’s information includes permits, inspections, violations, complaints, and certificates of occupancy. Wondering if a property has a rooftop coated with an energy-efficient reflective material? The answer is on your phone. The app also provides weather advisories, regulations, contact information for agency officials, and service updates from the department.

The NYC Buildings app is free and available for iPhones at the Apple App Store and for Android phones at Google Play.

The app is the latest effort by the Department of Buildings to increase the transparency of the construction process with the use of technology. Since 2011, Quick Response (QR) codes have been placed on more than 297,000 construction permits to allow New Yorkers to obtain instant information on a construction project in their community.

In 2009, the Department launched the Development Challenge Process, which enables the public to view online diagrams of proposed buildings before work begins. Residents can submit zoning challenges, and after those challenges have been reviewed, Department responses are posted online.

The NYC Development Hub, a state-of-the-art project review center in Lower Manhattan, accepts and approves digital construction plans. Through the Hub, 90% of all construction documents can be filed online.

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