Out with the Old, In with the New The New Construction Codes:

As presidential candidates on the national scale rally around the idea of "it's time for a change," so too is the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), rolling out its first major set of changes to the city's building code in 40 years. The new Construction Codes will ensure that, among other things, qualified technicians perform building inspections.

The current New York City building codes have not gone through a major revision since 1968, and have been pieced together over the years resulting in a code that is "long, cumbersome, and difficult to interpret," according to the DOB website www.nyc.gov/buildings. The revisions have taken over four years and involved "over 400 stakeholders representing architects, engineers, labor, real estate, government, accessibility advocates and others [who] volunteered hundreds of thousands of hours in a consensus-based process to develop the new codes," says Carly Sullivan, a DOB spokesperson.

According to the DOB website, "The Buildings Department intends to mandate, as of July 1, 2008, that all special inspections must be conducted by a Special Inspection Agency. These agencies must be registered with the department as qualified to conduct specified inspections and employ special inspectors."

The 1968 Building Code allowed professional engineers and licensed architects to conduct required inspections during the construction process. These inspections were called controlled inspections and ensured that work was safe and being constructed according to approved plans and specifications. Under the new New York City Construction Codes, controlled inspections have evolved into special inspections, which enhance controlled inspections by clarifying the qualifications and standards regarding proper inspections. The new codes mandate that special inspections be conducted by employees of Special Inspection Agencies, which must be registered with the department as qualified to conduct specified inspections."

Later this year, according to the DOB, the Buildings Department will delineate the requirements for these special inspection agencies, and, for each special inspection, they will define the qualifications required for the inspector; the process and procedure for the inspection; and the standards that must be met.

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