DOB 2012 revenue surges $51M above forecast

Boost comes from increases in fines, along with higher fees and more filings

The Department of Buildings took in $51 million more than it anticipated in fiscal year 2012, according to a city report released yesterday, as the agency stepped up enforcement, increased fees and saw a slight uptick in construction applications.

In budget discussions in March, the Bloomberg Administration estimated the profitable agency would take in $146.9 million in revenue. Instead, it took in $198.2 million, the highest in the agency’s history, and $33 million more than the previous record in fiscal year 2011, the city’s annual Mayor’s Management Report says. The city’s fiscal year ends June 30.

The DOB takes in far more than it spends, even as builders gripe that inspection delays can hold up projects.  The agency’s expenses were $95.8, in line with earlier estimates, the report says, giving the city a profit of $102.4 million.

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The $33 million increase in revenue over 2011 was led by a $10 million jump in fines and penalties, a spokesperson for the DOB told The Real Deal. Revenue was also boosted $8 million through an increase in filing fees, $8.5 million through a slight increase in the number of permits and $7 million through an increase in construction materials, the spokesperson said.

The DOB reviews and approves construction plans for construction in the city, as well as enforces building codes with inspections and fines.

Louis Coletti, CEO of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, said contractors have been seeing an increase in penalties. “We have heard for a while that the Buildings Department has been very aggressive in enforcing the building code on construction projects,” he said.