The NYC DOB Continues To Be A Problem…

Before the project started the biggest issues were with the NYC Department of Buildings. We thought we had pretty much everything worked out, but once again they’re holding up progress on the project for the simple reason that they can’t manage to get their work done in a timely manner.

The problem is the sprinklers. When the mechanical engineer reviewed what the architect had proposed (and gotten preliminarily approved) he found that there wasn’t sufficient coverage and we needed a lot more sprinkler heads. We finally got everyone on the same page and the new sprinkler job was submitted to DOB on June 28th. It took them until July 1 to get it entered into the system and assigned to a plan examiner. The DOB says that they’ll get the initial plan review done on new jobs within two weeks. Well, today is 3 weeks since the job was submitted and the initial plan exam still isn’t done. I check the job status once or twice a day but it still just says “Assigned to P/E”.

The problem is we can’t do the new water main connection until the sprinklers are approved and we can’t get electrical and gas into the building until the water main connection is done. So we still have no running water and no electricity in the building. It’s amazing how much has been accomplished without water and electricity, but things would move a lot faster if we had them.

The issue is that there’s a decent chance they’ll come back with objections and then it will be at least another two weeks before we can get those resolved… It just never seems to end with DOB. Yes, we could self-certify, but that’s a dangerous thing to do in this case since if we’re wrong we might have to do the water main connection all over again (big $$$).

NYC’s Department of Buildings just seems like more of a hindrance than anything else. It’s one thing to enforce rules, it’s another to just arbitrarily slow down projects…


We finally got the list of objections. Here they are…

DOB Sprinkler Objections

68 heads? We don’t have 68 heads, we have 38 heads. All our documentation says 38 heads. The plans show 38 heads, but apparently we got rejected because the plan examiner couldn’t be bothered to get it right. He says the cost estimate is missing. It’s not. He says the certificate of no harassment is missing when it’s clearly available in the parent job for the sprinkler application. And now his objection is that we have 68 sprinkler heads.

Honestly, he just didn’t seem to care enough to get it right. Welcome to the NYC DOB. Meanwhile our project is delayed.


The mechanical engineer chimed in and told us “<name of plan examiner> has never reviewed a set plans correct[ly]”. He then went on to detail for our expediter exactly why everything was fine and should have been approved. In other words this entire problem is because of an incompetent plan examiner. We have a meeting with him on Tuesday morning. Hopefully he’s not obstinate as well as incompetent.

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