By Penny Laughlin
The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is cracking down on registered design professionals who submit professionally certified applications with false information or non-compliant plans. Specifically, Local Law 108 of 2019 makes the following changes to the administrative code of the City of New York:
- Requires annual notification of grounds for sanctions
- Expands the grounds for mandatory sanctions and permanent revocations
- Expands the database of registered design professionals subject to sanctions
The administrative code allows the New York City buildings commissioner to establish requirements for participation in the professional certification program. The commissioner also has the authority to exclude, suspend, or otherwise sanction program participants for cause. Now, the commissioner must send an annual notice to registered design professionals who are currently participating in the program, informing them of grounds for exclusion, suspension, and other disciplinary actions.
The current LL 108/2019 notification for registered design professionals appears on the DOB website.
Following the appropriate hearing, the commissioner can impose mandatory sanctions against registered design professionals who knowingly or negligently submit a professionally certified application or related construction document that meets either of the following conditions:
- Contains false information
- Does not comply with all applicable legal provisions
Under the new local law, registered design professionals now face the same consequences if they do either of the following:
- Knowingly order or direct another registered design professional to self-certify applications or documents that are false or non-compliant
- Knowingly approve such documents or, having knowledge of such conduct, fail to prevent their submission while under the registered design professional’s supervision
In addition, the commissioner has the authority to permanently revoke professional certification privileges of registered design professionals who self-certify false or non-compliant documentation while on probation. LL 108/2019 now extends this permanent revocation to registered design professionals who knowingly order or direct a fellow registered design professional to do the same while on probation.
Finally, the DOB maintains a database of all registered design professionals who have received disciplinary action, including a description of the sanction, initial date of sanction, reinstatement date (if applicable), the address for which the associated application was submitted, and whether the disciplinary action followed a hearing or a settlement.
The local law expands the database to include all current firms of employment or affiliation of these registered design professionals (if known or readily available); the firm that employed the professional, or with which he or she was affiliated, at the time of the disciplinary action; and the status of the sanction(s).