84% of Self-certified Plans Flawed

Between September, 2007 and January, 2008, the Department of Buildings audited 662 self-certified plans and found zoning-related objections to 556 of those plans. During the same period, another division of DOB that targets repeat offenders found a similar rate of objections: 171 of 207 plans filed, or 83%. With almost half of all plans that are filed being self-certified, that means that as many as 27,000 of the 61,000 plans filed so far this year could be flawed.

Given the convoluted nature of the City’s zoning and building laws, and the fact that so much of zoning can be open to interpretation and reconsideration, it probably should not come as a surprise that the “experts” get it wrong so often. In all likelihood, the vast majority of the errors are probably not of the nefarious variety, though a good many of them probably do result from an aggressive interpretation of the codes.

Still, the rate of “failure” has always been high under the self-certification program, and is only going up, not down: in a 2001 audit, 59% of the plans reviewed had objections.