By Andrew J. Pisani
The phones in our pockets have more advanced technology than NASA’s mainframe computers that sent people to the moon. Same goes for major institutions around the world, and our very own DOB. In fact, at the heart of the DOB’s tech infrastructure is an outdated mainframe computer system that relies on paper to process construction permits, inspection reports and complaints.
In 2015, a proposal for DOB Now anchored a plan to reform the DOB from the inside out. The new workflow would remove paper entirely, and replace it with a completely digital platform for submitting, reviewing and communication.
With a price tag of nearly $30 million, the system represents a major step forward for industry efficiency. Currently in stealth mode system, the new system has run several pilot programs with a handful of users, gathering feedback and making adjustments to process.
Now, the DOB intends to ‘soft launch’ the system at the end of the month, on July 25. Users will be able to register and start using the platform. To limit scope, the system will initially be open for plumbing and sprinkler work.
The complete transition from old system to new will be gradual, with a target of full roll out in 2018.