On March 1st, 2021, the Department of Buildings mandated that all new and renewals of Building Information System (BIS) Certificates of Occupancy (CO) be migrated into and issued through DOB Now.  Unsurprisingly their rollout of this new CO system, to put it bluntly, was an abject failure.  The system added two new classifications of CO’s: interim and partial. An interim CO will effectively be a temporary CO with no expiration date once all related applications are signed of for the affected floor(s). A partial would permit the issuance of a TCO for a portion of a floor before all construction on that level is complete.

The new system requires you to migrate your BIS Schedule A which was the document that generated the CO into a DOB Now Schedule of Occupancy and obtain approval–again–from a DOB Plan Examiner before a temporary or final CO request can be made. Sounds simple enough. The problem was/is that not all of the DOB plan examiners received adequate training which resulted in applications being approved in error or issuing inaccurate objections.  The result was massive delays in processing the avalanche of applications to the point where TCO renewals are being issued in the form of an email extension from the Borough Commissioner; these renewals do not have an actual TCO document which has been problematic when the document is being required for leasing, financing, and to satisfy other agency requirements (e.g. liquor licenses).

For larger buildings, there is an additional problem of multiple ALT 1 applications (CO amendments) being open against the property; the DOB Now system only permits one ALT 1 to be migrated over at a time. Unless you have one firm coordinating all of these applications–it can result in conflicting interests between tenants and building owners.

Rizzo Brookbridge has always maintained that using a single filing representative and building code compliance company is essential to navigating the ever-changing bureaucracy that is the New York City Department of Buildings, it is more important now than ever before. Our team of consultants is available for a free TCO/CO consultation with the ability to produce a roadmap to a final Certificate of Occupancy.  Don’t get caught asking “dude, where’s my CO?” It never ends well.