Navigating DOB NOW Changes for Applicants, Design Professionals, and Contractors

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) continues to migrate its current system for filing permits, building plans, violations, and inspections – this is called DOB Building Information System (BIS) to a fully electronic system called DOB NOW. To date, the changes have been focused on updating DOB’s technology and providing applicants with the option to sign and submit applications and pay fees online.

The latest set of changes in DOB’s migration from DOB BIS to DOB NOW affects more than submitting and signing applications and paying fees online. It’s a major overhaul of the agency – changes to processes, roles and responsibilities, and timeframes. The changes will affect the business decisions you make and the actions required of you.

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Do I need to be registered with DOB NOW?

Yes. Owners, Design Professionals, and Contractors must have a DOB eFiling account in order to use DOB NOW: Build or Safety. Until you have a registered and activated eFiling account with the NYCDOB, you will not be able to access information, file applications, or obtain work permits or Letters of Completion.

The registration process varies by user role, and is significantly different for Owners, Design Professionals, and Contractors. For more information on the registration process, click here.

I heard that some applications are now labeled differently. How has the nomenclature changed with DOB NOW?

As part of the recent changes in DOB NOW: Build, the DOB has restructured their job types and adjusted the naming convention. The following chart illustrates a few of the most-used job types and their new nomenclature. For more information, visit this FAQ page or this DOB NOW Overview.

Old BIS Job Types and New DOB NOW Job Types
  1. How long will my permit process take? Have approval timeframes been affected by these updates?

The permit process durations for NYC DOB permits vary depending on the type of application you are filing and how your design professional chooses to handle the NYC DOB filing. The NYC DOB allows applications to be filed as either Standard Filing or a Professional Certification. They can also be filed through the main DOB or “The HUB.”

  • A Standard Filing includes a plan review by the DOB. They issue comments and the design team revises the plan to address those comments. Depending on the scope of work, this method can take weeks or months to secure an approval or permit.
  • A Professional Certification, also known as self-certification, reduces the amount of time it takes to receive an approval by eliminating the plan examination, but significantly increases the risk of an audit.

At Bohler, we strategize with owners and their design teams on which process works best for each individual project.

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  1. Do I still need to file permits in person at the DOB?

While the DOB has transitioned to an almost completely virtual filing system, there are still some application types that must be filed in person at the Borough level. These include affordable housing applications, full demolition applications, Builder’s Pavement Plan Application, and various others.

At Bohler, we regularly assist owners, developers, and out-of-state design teams in identifying how to file their specific application. Our expediting team continues to file applications in person as required.

  1. What can my permit expediter do for me?

Class 1 Filing Representatives are registered with the DOB to submit applications or construction documents and remove documents from the DOB.

In addition to Class 1 permissions, Class 2 Code and Zoning Representatives are permitted to attend meetings with plan examiners, Commissioners, Project Advocates, and/or department technical staff and obtain construction document approvals. Through this direct interaction with reviewers, Class 2 Filing Representatives can be vital to moving the permitting process forward.

The Bohler team includes both Class 1 and Class 2 representatives with the support of licensed engineers, ensuring our clients have the expertise needed to get the job done.

  1. Is DOB NOW the only place to file building applications?

Your design team can also submit applications to the individual boroughs or The HUB. For more information, click here.

The Bohler team evaluates each individual project and considers each unique client vision to establish the best permitting strategy for each situation.


Why Bohler

Bohler’s New York City permitting department draws from years of experience and involvement with DOB in preparation for this rollout to help clients make sense of the changes and understand how the changes impact them. Our team is focused on strategizing the permitting process and helping to put our clients on an efficient path forward.

Need a permitting strategist that looks beyond the single application to see the bigger picture? Contact our experienced staff to help you put all the pieces together and move forward faster.

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The new system requires participation and sign-off from owners and design professionals, not just permitting specialists. It’s critical for the entire project team to be up to speed on the new processes to avoid delays.
Paola Bergonzi Senior Permit Manager Bohler