When it comes to energy conservation, NYC shows the nation how it’s done


Energy conservation awareness is one of the most important concepts in every aspect of modern living.  When it comes to major cities and construction, so-called “green” issues aren’t at the fringe – they’re right at center stage.

Energy efficiency isn’t just a nice idea that makes you feel good.  It’s a core business principal.  Energy efficiency saves huge costs in the long run, as well as protecting the environment, and buyers are looking carefully at energy costs before they commit.  They know that the cost of energy only goes up and up.

Savvy developers embrace new requirements, because they know that the market demands it.

New buildings in New York City – both commercial and residential – and renovations will soon be among the most energy-efficient in the nation, thanks to new energy conservation codes that went into effect on October 3rd.

These new codes, the most stringent in the country, enact energy-efficiency standards aimed at reducing all city emissions 80% by 2050.

The improvements to the New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC) mean that right now, new commercial buildings will be almost 9% more efficient, and residential building will be up to 32% more efficient – impressive!

New York City is leading the nation in energy efficiency.  With the revised codes in place, NYC will join the exclusive club of only six states in the country that meet the most up-to-date federally certified commercial and residential energy requirements.

Since 1980, energy code improvements have resulted in a dramatic drop in energy usage, and this revised code continues the trend.

A major part of the new codes is concentrated on what’s called the “building envelope” – basically, insulation.  Proper insulation creates a well-sealed building, keeping indoor air at a comfortable temperature no matter what it’s like outside.  By requiring better insulation and testing for an air-tight environment, the costs of heating or cooling plummet.  Also, new regulations require the same degree of insulation when it comes to air conditioning and heating units that cut through walls and often are overlooked sources of energy loss.

Another aspect of the code requires more energy-efficient lighting.  Luckily, lighting technology improvements offer options that generate more light using less energy.

New low-rise residential buildings will need to be solar-ready, so they can easily accommodate rooftop solar panels – a big perk for buyers.

These changes in energy-efficiency codes will translate directly into big savings for both builders and owners.  Not to mention the reduction in carbon pollution and wasted energy.

Of course, code improvements present challenges as well as opportunities.  The timeframe from adoption to enforcement means that building industry professionals will need to bring their best game.

Luckily, there are resources to help.  Urban Green’s Conquer the Code and the new GPRO Homes can help architects, engineers, builders and other professionals get familiar with latest requirements.  These tools can provide the detailed information necessary to design higher-performing, code-compliant buildings.  Industry trade organizations will also be providing training and education to help builders comply.

How much benefit to the environment will result from these new requirements?  Looking only at new construction, not renovations, over the next three years, the estimated carbon savings translates to about 70,000 metric tons.  That’s equal to removing approximately 15,000 vehicles from NYC roads!

When designing the new codes, a great deal of attention was paid to the real estate’s industry need for codes that don’t impose undue hardships in cost.  Using data to concretely prove the cost-effectiveness of these provisions, the new codes result in greatest possible energy efficiency while still being affordable and achievable.

Can you do well by doing good?  In NYC, that’s the aim.

New York City’s DOB NOW

DOB NOW formerly known as Inspection Ready has been around since last December. At S&M Expediting we understand that it can be difficult to navigate the system and we are here to help you with your inspections and any permits assistance you may need. To get started we have provided a little information about DOB NOW. Please give us a call if you would like help with construction regulations.

Getting anything done in New York City is a hassle and a half – especially if you work in construction. Whether you’re a billionaire real estate developer or just a local firm trying to compete, it’s frustrating to try to navigate the labyrinth of inspections, permits and assorted regulations required. Actually building a new high-rise can seem easier than dealing with all the paperwork involved.

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) feels your pain – or at least, the people who work there do – and have been working behind the scenes to improve and simplify the inspection and permit process.

DOB NOW – the online portal for all your construction regulations needs. DOB NOW makes it easy to submit applications, make payments, set up appointments for inspections, check the status of applications or inspections, pull permits and make renewals. All online, in one place.

DOB NOW – the easier way to conduct construction business in the digital age – is rolling out gradually throughout the next year. DOB NOW will have four separate but integrated sections:

  • DOB NOW: Inspections
    This is the new version of Inspection Ready.
  • DOB NOW: Build
    For job filings, permits, and Letters of Completion for the following:

    • Plumbing, Sprinkler and Standpipe filings (FAQ and Resources)
    • Sidewalk Shed, Supported Scaffold, Fence and Sign filings (FAQ and Resources)
    • Place of Assembly and Temporary Place of Assembly filings (FAQ and Resources)
  • DOB NOW: Safety
    For compliance filings – Facade, Boiler, and Elevator
  • DOB NOW: Licensing
    For exam filing, issuance and renewals for Gas Work Qualifications, Journeyman Registrations and Welder Licenses

DOB NOW: Inspections is fully operational DOB NOW: Build has limited availability!*

With DOB NOW: Inspections and DOB NOW: Build ready to serve you, you should find the process of getting through all the inspections and permits to be much easier than ever before. *DOB NOW: Build is only available for electrical and plumbing at writing.

DOB NOW: Inspections is a dedicated portal for all online scheduling and tracking. Schedule all your inspection appointments, and track inspections and notifications. Even the inspections themselves will be improved, since this new service standardizes inspector’s electronic checklists. That means faster and more efficient inspections. You can even certify certain objections electronically, avoiding the need for costly re-inspections.

You will need to register for an account before you can request inspections. All licensed professionals and owners must use DOB NOW: Inspections to request development inspections in the following areas:

  • Electrical
  • Signs
  • Fire Suppression
  • Boilers
  • Construction
  • Cranes & Derricks
  • Elevators
  • BPP
  • Oil Burning Equipment
  • Sustainability
  • Plumbing
  • High Rise Initiative

Inspection requests are no longer be accepted in person, by phone or by the Department’s old online request portals on the website. All requests must be made in DOB NOW: Inspections.

To register for DOB NOW: Inspections

It’s quick and easy to register! Just go the DOB NOW: Inspections website, click on the link to register, and click on “New Users: Register for an Account.” That’s it! (By the way, owners must use the email address that is listed in Section 26 of their PW1 filings to register for DOB NOW: Inspections.)

Need help? We’ve got you covered!

The staff at S&M expediting can answer your DOB NOW questions. Just call or email your questions.

What Is A Letter of No Objection and When Is One Required?

Letter of No Objection in NYC

In the City of New York, in order for a building to be legally occupied the building must first have a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). The CO must state a building’s legal use and type of permitted occupancy. New buildings must have a CO.   Older, pre-existing buildings may not have a CO if built prior to 1938. Those older building may file for a Letter of No Objection or Verification letter which is issued by the Dept. Of buildings to establish legal use of the building or a particular space in the building.

Why would i need an LNO?

If you are selling a property that pre-dates the CO requirement, the potential buyer will ask for one as proof of current use.  If you are opening a business in a building without a CO, and your business requires a license from another government agency, you will have to file for an LNO.

A Letter of No Objection (LNO)

An LNO is fairly easy to obtain and on average takes approximately 3-4 weeks. A LNO can be issued if the proposed and actual use of the space/building in question are the same use group and occupancy group as dictated by the city zoning regulations and building code.  If either the use or occupancy group changes, a new certificate of occupancy must be applied for.

The types of agencies interested in Letters of No Objections are the liquor authority, banks and consumer affairs. The liquor board requires proof of use as an eating and drinking establishment in a building prior to awarding a license.

What is required to acquire a LNO? Some requirements to receive an LNO include but are not limited to the following:

Buildings with a Certificate of Occupancy

  1. Copy of most recent CO
  2. Copy of Property Profile and list of Job filings (proof of work)

Buildings without a Certificate of Occupancy

  1. Copy of Property Profile and list of Job filings
  2. Block & Lot Folder Plans

Buildings with Child Related Special Occupancy

  1. Copy of most recent CO
  2. Copy of Property Profile and list of Job filings
  3. Block & Lot Folder Plans
  4. Hours/Dates of Operation, number of children (over and under age of 2)
  5. Layout Drawing with exits, accessory locations, etc.

Need help applying for Certificates of Occupancy (COs), TCOs, and Letters of No Objection (C of O Waiver)? Call us today at 718-833-2333.


Inspection Ready is the Department of Buildings’ (DOB) latest creation for transparency on all jobs filed with their agency. It is an online scheduling and routing system that went live on December 7, 2015. Once it went live scheduling inspections the old fashioned way (in person or by phone) was no longer an option. In theory, Inspection Ready should make life easier for Plumbers, Contractors, Property Owners, Architects, and Engineers to close out their projects.

However, right out of the gate, the system had and still has many flaws, a major one is the inability of the system to work with current versions of common internet browsers. Optimum browser requirements for Inspection Ready for Windows users is Internet Explorer 8 or 9 (released 2009 and 2011 respectively) and Safari 5 (released 2010) for Mac users. Another issue is that licensed professionals (LPs) and building owners did not get their PIN emailed to them prior to going live in order to register for Inspection Ready, forcing many to head to the Borough offices to register.

With Inspection Ready, the goal of the DOB is to streamline inspections and sign-off for the following units:


-Builders Pavement Plans


-Cranes & Derricks



-House Connections



With Inspection Ready, anyone can view job records, inspection results and objections. Sign-off requests should be reviewed within 36 hours and results posted online.

Once all the kinks are worked out this system should accomplish all the DOB hoped it would. Good job on the planning. Poor job on implementation.

For anyone still having problems with Inspection Ready, give us a call. (718) 833-2333 or Email us at Info@sandmexpediting.com S & M Expediting has the resources to help maneuver this system.

S & M Permit Expediting Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about NYC DOB and Permit Expediting

What services does S&M Expediting offer?

  • Building Permits
  • Event Permits
  • Work Permits
  • Equipment Use Permits
  • DOB Filing Services
  • Building Violation Research
  • Building Violation Removal
  • Removal of Stop Work Violation Orders
  • HPD Violation Removal
  • Legalize existing work
  • Alteration Type 1,2, and 3 Job Filings
  • Construction Consultation
  • Drafting, Architectural, and Engineering Services
  • Luxury and Custom Contracting Referral Services
  • Asbestos Investigation and Lead Abatement

How can SME help my business?

In short, we save you time! We act as an owner representative for all things related to your construction project’s permits and filings. We represent you at New York’s Department of Buildings, ECB Court for Violation Removal, and on-site to make sure contractors are closing out jobs and procuring the right permits.

How long do I have to wait to see a plan examiner for an appointment?

It depends on the demand. Appointments are scheduled up to two months in advance.

Why doesn’t my building have a Certificate of Occupancy?

Buildings built prior to 1938 that have had no changes made to their occupancy or egress since then, do not require Certificates of Occupancy.

How do I get a “curb cut” permit?

File an application document (PW1), a recent survey, a drawing of the planned curb cut and a filing fee with the Department. After the plan is approved, a permit can be obtained. You will need the professional services of a Registered Architect (RA) or Professional Engineer (PE).

What’s the difference between a demolition and an alteration?

Demolition is the removal of the entire building, including the foundation. In an alteration you may remove interior and exterior walls, but not the entire foundation. An alteration can also be the addition of stories; an enlargement; or a new structure built on top of an existing foundation.

What kind of electrical work requires a permit?

Most electrical work requires an application to be filed by the licensed electrician. A permit will be issued, an inspection must take place, and a certificate should be issued. Minor work, which is limited in scope, requires filing (with a lower filing fee) and a permit, but no inspections are required and no certificate is issued. Maintenance work must also be filed, but there is no fee, permit or inspection. For questions about electrical applications and permits, contact S & M Expediting. (718-833-2333)

What kind of forms do I need to perform construction work in my home or building?

A PW-1 form is always required. Additional forms, depending on the work to be done, may also be required. Be advised that a licensed Registered Architect or Professional Engineer must submit these forms on behalf of a homeowner for most types of work. Appropriate insurance must be held by all potential permittees unless the permittee is a homeowner who will be performing the work himself on his own home. In that case, a waiver from the Worker’s Compensation Board must be submitted.

What are the construction industry hours of operations?

According to the Department of Environmental Protection’s noise code, working hours are 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

What type of work requires a licensed plumber?

Any plumbing work beyond the direct replacement of a same-type plumbing fixture, or a simple repair requires a licensed plumber.

Is it legal for a landlord to remove or relocate a radiator?

Yes. There is no code requirement for heating systems other than a boiler. However, if extension-piping relocation is involved, the landlord must retain a licensed Master Plumber to do the work.

When is a sidewalk shed required?

When construction work is over 40 feet high, or 25 feet high for a demolition, and whenever there is a dangerous condition, irrespective of the height

Work was done on a job many years ago and it was not completed. How do I proceed?

You must hire a Registered Architect or Professional Engineer to supersede the previous applicant’s filing and complete the construction approval and sign-off process.

When is a Dept. of Buildings work permit required?

NYC Building Code section 27-126, states that a work permit is required for the following:

  • The removal, change or closing of any required means of egress or the cutting away of any wall, floor, or roof construction, or any portion thereof; or the removal, cutting, or modification of any beams or structural supports.
  • The rearrangement or relocation of any parts of the building affecting loading or exit requirements, or light, heat, ventilation, or elevator requirements; additions to, alterations of, or rearrangement, relocation or removal of any standpipe or sprinkler piping, water distribution piping, house sewer, private sewer, or drainage system, including leaders, or any soil, waste or vent pipe, or any gas distribution system, or any other work affecting health or the fire or structural safety of the building.

What do I need to put a bike rack or other structure on the sidewalk in front of my building?

You need a revocable consent from the city. This is a grant of a right to an individual or organization to construct and maintain certain structures on, over or under the property of the City (that is, the streets and sidewalks). The City retains the right to revoke a revocable consent at any time.

What is a sidewalk violation?

A sidewalk violation is an official notice issued by DOT stating that your sidewalk is defective. There is no fine associated with a violation. A copy of the notice is filed with the County Clerk and remains on file until the Clerk receives official notification from the City that satisfactory repairs have been made. A violation can complicate selling or refinancing your property.

For which activities are special events permits needed?

Special events permits are required for events/activities where twenty or more people will be present. School picnics, birthday parties, and field days all require a special events permit. S & M Expediting can help you obtain these permits.

May we erect a tent and/or hang signs or banners at our event?

You must inform Parks on your application if you plan to hang signs or banners at your event. No signs or banners can be affixed to trees or fences. To erect a tent, you must receive permission from the Special Events office, and you can’t stake the tent into the ground. In Manhattan, tents are generally not allowed, except under very limited circumstances.

How long will it take to process my event permit?

Permits require at least a minimum of 21 to 30 days to be processed (Different guidelines apply to demonstrations and rallies). Please plan accordingly.

How do I apply for a permit for an event on a street or other non-park property?

Contact the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) at (212) 788-7439.

Which activities require a SAPO Permit?

Special Event, Commercial/Promotional Permits: Promotions, stunts, red carpet events, press conferences, and media days.

Street Festival/Block Party Permit: Street festivals including all multi-day and/ or multi-block events, block parties, religious ceremonies, and farmers’ markets.

Which activities fall under the parameters of obtaining a parade permit?

A “parade” is any procession or race which consists of a recognizable group of 25 or more pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles, or other devices moved by human power, or ridden or herded animals proceeding together upon any public street or roadway.

Parade permits are issued by the New York Police Department.

Do I need a permit if I am building a stage for my event?

If you are building a stage over two (2) feet high, you will need to file for a Department of Buildings Structure permit. However, you must file your application first with one of the primary permitting agencies: SAPO, Parks, NYPD, MOFTB and then you will be directed by the permitting agency to contact the Department of Buildings.