Same Day Plan Exam NYC(Last Updated On: October 1, 2017)
Clients are constantly telling me nightmare stories they have heard about how long it takes to get something approved by the NYC Department Of Buildings. In most cases I am going to take the DOB’s side on this argument. Simple tiny jobs can get reviewed on the same day they are filed. And approved in a reasonable amount of time depending on the job.
The DOB offers an option for architects to file a project as a “same day review.” This article will discuss what types of jobs you can file with the NYC DOB as a “Same Day Review” and the requirements. I’ll get into more detail on this but just because it is called a same day doesn’t mean it is going to be approved on the same day.
Same day Plan Exams, NYC DOB
Only Directive 14 jobs can be done as same day review. This means no change to use, egress, or occupancy. Nothing that requires a change to or a new certificate of occupancy qualifies. Only Alt 2 and Alt 3 type jobs are allowed. No new buildings or major renovations. The use and occupancy must be the same before and after. There can be no change to exits or public corridors leading to exits. So if you have an apartment to renovate and you are only doing an interior renovation then you can possibly file as a same day review. If it is a small commercial interior to an office space that will remain an office space that type of project can qualify. New Buildings or Building additions of any kind are not allowed as a same day review.
Project Types for Same Day Review
The DOB lists certain example project types that can be done as same day review here they are:
- Sidewalk Shed
- Simple Apartment Renovations
- Simple Commercial renovations
- Simple Restaurant renovations
- Minor Sprinkler Modifications
- Boiler Replacements
Additional Qualifications for a Same Day Review
Here is the DOB logistical requirements:
- The job must be E-Filed
- This means your architect must have an account to log into the DOB and do the paperwork for the job online. They can then print out all the documentation and take it to the DOB for filing. We E-File all our jobs I don’t know if anyone still does it otherwise.
- Applicant to Obtain a Priority Ticket and file between 8:30 am and 10:00 am
- Your architect has to file it in person at the appropriate DOB borough office before 10:00 am. When we do same days we always get there at 8:30 sharp just in case.
- The job may not contain more than 6 sheets of plans.
- They want to make sure it is a simple job. Many times a simple apartment renovation or commercial renovation can be only 2 or 3 sheets of drawings.
- The job must be ready for approval as submitted.
- This means you better have everything the DOB needs. All paperwork, drawings, and supporting documentation must be submitted in the job folder.
- The job must be simple enough to review and process in 20 minutes.
- Don’t try to file anything too complicated. If the job is complicated then don’t bother with a same day. Just file it normally.
When filing a same day review you do not need to pay “records management fees” you do need to pay all other DOB fees.
So what happens when you file a same day review?
Let’s say your architect files your simple apartment renovation as a same day review. Usually it will be reviewed by that afternoon. One of three things is going to happen after the DOB plan examiner reviews it.
Possible Outcome 1: The plan examiner will reject it for same day review and put it on the queue for regular review. This will happen if the job is to big for a same day. Or doesn’t meet all the criteria.
Possible Outcome 2: The plan examiner will review and approve it on the spot if everything is perfect. It doesn’t always work out like that so don’t get your hopes up, but it is possible to get a job approved in 1 day.
Possible Outcome 3: The plan examiner will issue some objections and the architect can schedule an appointment to respond and review the objections. Even if your project is simple you can still get a few objections. This is no big deal. We get objections on these types of projects all the time. We respond quickly and on these types of filings have always gotten the job approved at the first meeting to review objections. The job will be put in disapproved status during the review process don’t freak out when you see “disapproved” that is normal. It just means not approved yet. Usually the objections are the plan examiner asking for a little more detail on the drawings, or some additional information, and paperwork issues are very common. When we schedule these follow up review that is a meeting with the architect and plan examiner. Usually you can get one rather quickly like 1 or 2 weeks. This can vary depending how busy they are.
Below are images of approved plans for a studio apartment renovation in Manhattan. We filed this renovation as a same day review. I personally filed the job the week before Christmas and had an approval the week after New Years. This job only had 2 sheets and was simple enough. We got a few objections nothing crazy. And cleared the objections at our first follow up appointment. Small simple jobs filled with DOB should not take long to get approved. This one took 2 weeks and that was during the holidays. If you have a small and simple job that is dragging on and on with the department of building I suggest you personally check in on it.
Author Jorge Fontan AIA
This post was written by Jorge Fontan, a Registered Architect and owner of Fontan Architecture.