For Manhattan property owners, going through the construction approval process is about to get easier. New York City's Department of Buildings announced on Monday that licensed architects and engineers can now apply online for apartment renovation permits rather than submitting paperwork in person and paying fees to the department's office. The current permit application process makes it troublesome for property owners to renovate: permits are required for everything from redesigning kitchens to repairing facades, and only licensed professionals may apply. The new online system will hopefully streamline the process by allowing professionals to submit construction plans digitally, thereby cutting down the processing time from a few weeks to one business day.
Since only licensed professionals hired by the property owner can apply for permits in person, the new online system will hopefully cut down labor costs for the owner by expediting the construction application process. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Department of Buildings receives about 50,000 applications for apartment renovations every year. Thus, calculations project that since the processing time for physical applications can vary from a few days to a few weeks, a digitized system will save up to $50 million per year. Additionally, the online system will keep track of when a permit was requested and issued and will address the inconsistency of processing times by increasing accountability.
This development specifically intends to enable smaller construction projects, and it's actually part of a larger plan under Mayor Bloomberg to expedite safe construction by using technology to streamline customer service. Since implementing this online system for new buildings and major renovation projects a year ago, 339 buildings have been approved. Bloomberg fully intends to leave his mark on Manhattan, and new construction and rapid development that literally reshapes Manhattan is a highly visible and effective way to do so.