New High-Tech Building Permits Will Link to Database of Building Information

In the city’s latest attempt to make public records accessible to New Yorkers, permits posted on city buildings will now include scannable codes that link to information about the construction project.

A free application will allow smartphones to read the Quick Response codes affixed to all Department of Buildings permits. The application will then display available data on who owns the property, the scope of the project and whether the city has recorded complaints or violations against the location or the user. The application will also connect users to 311 if they wish to make a complaint, helping 311 to build a digital map of civil complaints across the city.

At a press conference announcing the program, Michael Bloomberg called Quick Response codes, which will be required on all building permits by about 2013, part of “our comprehensive effort to make government smarter, more efficient and more user-friendly.”

“We know that New Yorkers are always on the go, and we want to give you every possible opportunity to communicate with your government, wherever you are, at any time of the day,” Bloomberg said.

Aspects of the launch event itself illustrated the extent to which the city has tried to incorporate technology that seeks the input of constituents. A screen on a wall adjacent to the podium displayed the Department of Buildings’ Facebook page, linked to from a smartphone. Rachel Sterne, the city’s inaugural Chief Digital Officer, looked on as Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri talked about empowering New Yorkers to find data about the city.

“What we’re doing is we’re putting it in the palm of their hand,” he said.

New High-Tech Building Permits Will Link to Database of Building Information