New York City Department of Buildings

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Department of Buildings
Department overview
Formed 1977 (1977)
Preceding department New York City Housing and Development Administration
Jurisdiction New York City
Employees 1,100
Department executive Rick D. Chandler, Commissioner of Buildings
Key document New York City Charter

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is the department of the government of New York City[1] that enforces the City's building codes and zoning regulations, issues building permits, responds to structural emergencies and inspects over 1,000,000 new and existing buildings.[2] Its regulations are compiled in title 1 of the New York City Rules.


Building and construction regulations have existed in New York City since its early days as New Amsterdam in the 17th century. A "Superintendent of Buildings" position was created within the Fire Department in 1860, in response to the Elm Street Fire on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which killed 20 people.[3][4][5] The first Buildings Department was created in Manhattan in 1892. In 1901 the New York State Legislature passed the Tenement Housing Act of 1901, which established a city Tenement Housing Department, including a Buildings Bureau and a Bureau of Inspection.[6] A city-wide Department of Buildings though did not exist until 1936.[3]

The Department has been restructured numerous times during its existence, and the present Department of Buildings dates from 1972, when the Housing and Development Administration was split into the Department of Buildings and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.[3]


The Department of Buildings has separate offices for each City Borough, each handling permitting and enforcement for that part of the City. Each office is overseen by a Borough Commissioner and one or more Deputy Borough Commissioners. At the senior level, the Department of Buildings is overseen by a Commissioner that reports to the Mayor. The executive offices for the agency including the Commissioner's are located at 280 Broadway in Manhattan.

The Department has a staff of 1,100, including Plan Examiners who review building plans and permit applications, and 426 building inspectors[7] who visit existing buildings and new construction to ensure they are safe and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. The Department issues 110,000 work permits annually, and performs 324,000 inspections each year.[8]

The commissioner is Rick D. Chandler, PE, who was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in July of 2014, officially replacing Bob LiMandri.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ New York City Charter § 641; "There shall be a department of buildings, the head of which shall be the commissioner of buildings. [...]"
  2. ^ "About the Buildings Department". New York City Department of Buildings. Retrieved 2007-11-17. 
  3. ^ a b c "The History of the New York City Department of Buildings". New York City Department of Buildings. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  4. ^ "THE ELM-STREET FIRE.; Scene at the Ruins--A List of the Wounded and Missing. TENEMENT BUILDING MAN-TRAPS.", New York Times, (1860-02-04)
  5. ^ Kernan, J. Frank (1885). Reminiscences of the Old Fire Laddies and Volunteer Fire Departments of New York and Brooklyn. M. Crane. p. 223. 
  6. ^ Plunz, Richard (1990). A History of Housing in New York City. Columbia University Press. pp. 47–49. 
  7. ^ Dwyer, Jim (2008-03-19). "Construction Is Up, Inspectors Down. Guess What?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  8. ^ "2006-2009 Strategic Plan". New York City Department of Buildings. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-11-17. 

External links[edit]