NYC DOB News & Updates Roundup – December 2023

There were a fair few of NYC DOB News & Updates before the end of 2023 – read on to get the latest details from the department:

Construction Updates

Local Law 149: Superintendent Limits

Local Law 149 (linked here) goes into effect starting January 1, 2024. In short, an “individual may not be designated as the primary construction superintendent for more than 3 jobs.” This is a reduction from the current limitation of 5 jobs.

Superintendents who have more than 3 jobs must choose which jobs to withdraw from to ensure they comply with this rule. Additionally:

If one of the jobs for which the CS is designated as a primary Construction Superintendent is on a building that meets the definition of a major building, the individual may only be designated as the primary CS for that job and may not serve as the primary CS for any other job

Superintendents may complete the withdrawal process in DOB NOW (if applicable), or by submitting a signed letter of intent to the Borough Commissioner’s Office (if the job is on BIS). You can get more details on the process in the DOB’s Service Notice.

Vacate Order Civil Penalties

As of December 15th, the DOB will begin imposing additional civil penalties when a violation for failure to obey a Vacate Order is issued. The civil penalty for failure to obey a vacate order is $6,000 for the initial violation and $12,000 for every subsequent violation.

Civil penalties must be paid before the Vacate Order is lifted. These are paid at the borough office where the property is located, per the Service Notice.

Filing and Process Updates

Three specific updates touching on filing processes were released this month:

  • In-person appointments for Standard Plan Examination Job Filings will happen on Wednesdays only beginning in January 2024. While systems via Appointments and DOB NOW: Build will let you select any day, you must select Wednesday to ensure the plan examiner will be available in-person. You can find borough office information here
  • Updates were also released for specific requests (CCD1 requests, ZRD1 requests, and second review of plan examinations that cannot be submitted in DOB NOW). You can view the detailed updates, along with helpful contact emails for key boroughs or departments, in this Service Notice
  • Per the DOB, Class 1 and Class 2 Filing Representative registrations will be issued and renewed without proof of training completion until training is available. Applicants must submit a future completion of training courses affidavit. You can find out more about submission here

Local Law 154 – Fossil Fuel Combustion Limits

Local Law 154 was cemented in 2021, but officially goes into effect as of January 1, 2024. To summarize, Local Law 154 of 2021 prohibits the onsite combustion of fuels that emit more than 25kg CO2 / MMBTU. More and more types of new buildings (as outlined below) will have to comply with this over the next few years.

You can read the full text of the law here, but we’ve pulled out some key parts. Below is section 24-177.1, that defines specific limits:

b. No person shall permit the combustion of any substance that emits 25 kilograms or more of carbon dioxide per million British thermal units of energy, as determined by the United States energy information administration, within such building.

c. Notwithstanding the prohibition in subdivision b, combustion of a substance that emits 25 kilograms of carbon dioxide per million British thermal units of energy or more shall be permitted for use within such a building where the combustion of such substance occurs in connection with a device that contains no connection to a building’s gas supply line or fuel oil piping system, is used on an intermittent basis, and is not used to supply a building with heat or hot water

Per the law, “New Buildings and New Buildings with Existing Elements to Remain” that are less than 7 stories (with exceptions – see below) or classified as Group R-3 (1-2 family homes) are subject to these limits as of the end of 2023. Other buildings will be included in this law through 2027 — you can view progressive deadlines in the table below.

The DOB will not approve permits (NB/Alt-CO New Buildings with Existing Elements to Remain jobs) that don’t comply with the above.

Inclusions, Exceptions, and Future Deadlines

  • New Buildings with Existing Elements to Remain are covered by this law, and defined in NYC Administrative Code Section 28-101.4.5 as “work that increases existing floor surface area of a prior code building by more than 110%.” You can view the administrative code to see more specifics here, including calculations for floor surface area
  • For buildings less than 7-stories, on-site fossil fuel combustion for service hot water are excluded, for now
  • Additional exceptions for properties not subject to Local Law 154 are also listed in the Service Notice – we’ve included them below:
    • buildings used by a regulated utility for electricity or steam generation
    • buildings operated by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for treatment of sewage or food waste
    • specific spaces within buildings where fossil fuels are necessary for:
      • manufacturing use or purpose
      • laboratories
      • laundromats
      • hospitals
      • crematoria
      • commercial kitchens
      • emergency or standby power.

Below is a progressive guide for future compliance deadlines for specific building types. More and more buildings are included until the final 2027 deadline:

Submitted On Or After Filing/Building Type
December 31, 2024 NYC School Construction Authority projects
December 31, 2025 Affordable Housing less than 7- stories, except for on-site fossil fuel combustion for service hot water
July 2, 2027 All buildings other than affordable housing 7-stories or more (includes service hot water)
December 31, 2027 Affordable Housing 7-stories or more (includes service hot water)

Here’s a helpful onesheet from the Sustainability Help Center summing up the above, with specific definitions for affordable housing.

DOB Assistance and Help

The DOB’s Buildings After Hours program helps agency experts connect directly with owners and managers. Staff can answer questions in-person, including inquiries about open violations or ongoing construction. These events take place at the local DOB Borough office (locations here). You can view the full 2024 schedule here, in the latest Service Notice.

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About the Author

Kristen Hariton

Kristen Hariton is the Vice President, Product Engagement at SiteCompli, focused on exploring new solutions and innovations in property operations tech. When she's not sharing the latest industry trends, changes, and updates, she's planning her next adventure to Walt Disney World.