The DOB’s recently made a total of 26 changes for small businesses as part of an executive order to help NY’s small businesses recover from setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. All new changes take effect on Nov. 20, 2022. As a NYC building owner, you’ll need to know about these changes to the NYC compliance code so you can avoid getting slapped with a violations and incurring a penalty. No worries, though; we’ve done the legwork so you don’t have to. Here’s what you need to know about the recent DOB changes.

Who do these changes affect?

The DOB’s recent changes apply to small businesses. Small businesses, as defined by the DOB, generally refer to businesses that employ fewer than 100 workers. However, in regards to specific requirements and regulations, the definition expands to include more kinds of businesses. As we explore the recent DOB reforms, we’ll note the exact criteria for businesses to which each DOB change applies.

Changes to violation enforcement

As part of the recent changes, the City extended the cure period for all Class 2 (Major) and Class 3 (Lesser) violations from 40 days to 60 days from the date of NOV service. This change will provide more time for named respondents to submit a Certificate of Corrections (COC) and avoid getting hit with a penalty or hearing.

It’s important to note that this change does not apply to Class 1 violations, in which a COC must be submitted immediately. In addition, Aggravated I and Aggravated II penalties are never eligible for a cure.

The DOB will eliminate the following violations:

  • Approved Place of Assembly plans not available for inspection (Class 2)
  • Failure to conspicuously post electrical work permit while work is in progress (Class 3)
  • Place of Assembly contrary to Approved construction documents (Class 2)
  • Electrical closet not dedicated to electrical distribution equipment only (Class 2 and 3)
  • Failure to provide cover/faceplate/lampholder/luminaire canopy for electrical outlet (Class 2)

The DOB is reducing penalties for the following violations:

  • Electrical work without a permit (Class 3)
  • Work without a permit (Class 3)
  • Failure to post or properly post permit for work at premises (Class 2)
  • Change in occupancy/use of C of O as per §28-118.3.1 – §28-118.3.2 by operating a Place of Assembly as per when current C of O does not allow such occupancy (Class 2)
  • Luminaires and Lampholders not installed in an approved manner (Class 2)

Most penalty reductions are 50% or more.

There are no qualifiers for differently-sized business in regards to the above in the DOB’s notice. Also, all language extending the cure period for one- or two-family homes have been removed. It is therefore assumed that these changes apply to all named respondents.

Civil penalties for work without a permit

Small businesses may be granted a waiver of civil penalties for work without a permit after demonstrating (as per the DOB’s requirements) that they are a small business. The DOB specifies here that a small business refers to a business that employs fewer than one hundred employees.

High-pressure and low-pressure boilers

Small businesses may now be granted a first-time waiver of penalties for failure to file an annual boiler inspection report for both low-pressure and high-pressure boilers. These penalties are typically seen in the form of LBLVIO and HBLVIO violations, as issued by the DOB.

The penalty waiver applies to small businesses that employ fewer than one hundred employees. Owners can take advantage of the penalty waiver by demonstrating, in the manner specified by the DOB, that they are the owner of the business.

Don’t forget—annual boiler inspections are due by Dec. 31 each year.

There are lots of changes detailed here, but all of them were established to help your business recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full update on the DOB reforms here.

If you’re still confused about what you need to know, we can help. We’re always happy to work with you and make sense of NYC’s compliance code. Don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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