NYC DOB Filing Drawings Online

by | Last updated May 31, 2020 | Architects, NYC DOB

In order to obtain permits for construction in NYC an Architect or Engineer must file documents and drawings. NYC DOB Filing Drawings are filed online or at the given Borough Office.

Working as an architect in New York City, I have found that clients seek to know more about the process of filing projects with the Department of Buildings (DOB). In 2011, the process for filling changed. The NYC DOB made an online Department Of buildings called the NYC Development Hub most commonly refereed to as “The Hub”.


What is the NYC Development Hub?

The NYC Development Hub is the online version of the DOB. Architect can file plans online and have webcam reviews with the HUB. You can still go to the individual offices in each borough and file your jobs the traditional way if you want. Some applications must be done online some must be done in the borough office. The protocols are constantly changing but I imagine everything will be transitioned to online eventually.

I started using the Hub the year it launched in New York City. At a time when numerous businesses moved online, it made sense for building permits to be able to be filed online. I am a big fan of the NYC Development Hub.


DOB Filing Online

It is no longer necessary to go to the Department of Building’s offices to stand on line and wait all day to submit a work application. Most documents can be scanned by the architect’s office and uploaded through their company login. This saves significant time and potentially money. It also keeps things a little more green by saving the printing of large drawings and seemingly endless paperwork.

There are a few items that are not available online at the Hub. For example, at the end of a project, it is still necessary to drop off paperwork in person to get job sign offs and Certificate Of Occupancy.


No More Printing Architectural Plans

Not only does filing online save a great deal of money, but it is also better for the environment. Architectural plans and other forms are uploaded to the Hub. Uploading PDF drawings instead of carrying around big rolls of paper can save a great deal of money, natural resources, and of course time.


Online Plan Exams via Webcam

A plan exam is an appointment between the DOB plan examiner and the architect or engineer. The appointment can now be done via webcam for Hub jobs. The alternative is going to the Hub’s office in person to meet in a conference room if you want. Conducting the meeting from my own office is helpful in that staff can be on standby who can help to supply any information requested by the plan examiner. For example, a plan examiner could ask for additional information to be added to a form, which could be done immediately by a junior architect before the plan exam is over. The plan examiner would then be able to review the revised form instead of leaving the changes pending.

The webcam review is a great convenience. Having the architect present for the plan exam could benefit the client. I go to every plan exam for my projects, even if it is not required.

You can read more about an Architect’s licensing and local registration with the DOB in another post we wrote Registered Architect NYC.


No need for Filing Representatives

The Department of Buildings certifies people as filing representatives (often called expediters or filing reps). The word expediter can be misleading, because expediters do not have any power to make anything move faster. Additionally the department Of Buildings does not care how much of a rush you are in. they are not going to let you skip the line. The role of expediter exists as a matter of convenience. The filing rep can go to the DOB office in person on behalf of an architect. Filing online saves the cost of a filing representative to simply stand on line to file documents at the DOB.

Even with so much available online, the many New York architects still file their jobs at the borough offices. I highly recommend filing jobs online.


NYC DOB Filing Drawings and Documents Online

As an architect I study DOB protocols, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. In this article we reviewed some of the basic concepts with regards to Filing Drawings on the HUB. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


Thank You for reading our blog post on NYC DOB Filing Drawings.

I hope this was helpful. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect please feel free to contact us directly.


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Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.