Often regarded as one of the more thankless City Hall gigs, the commissionership of the Department of Buildings involves overseeing 1.1 million buildings and more than 45,000 active construction sites — and a sprawling, cumbersome bureaucracy. The agency faces constant pressure from politicians, contractors, developers, unions, community groups and advocacy organizations, many pushing conflicting agendas.
Melanie La Rocca, who previously served as vice president at the School Construction Authority, stepped in as DOB commissioner in June, taking over for Rick Chandler. She assumed the role at a time when the city is continuing to see high levels of construction activity but is also grappling with construction-related deaths and accidents.
The agency’s newest obligation is to enforce training requirements passed by the City Council to improve site safety. It’s also continuing to digitize its filing system through DOB Now, a public portal that will eventually replace its Building Information System, which debuted in 1989.
La Rocca recently sat down with The Real Deal to discuss the agency’s priorities and her goals. Watch the video above to hear her plans for the final two-plus years of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tenure.