The Utilization of Third-Party Design Professionals for Local Buildings
Alex Roithmayr, the BRI’s Strategic Research Associate, provided comments on the Proposed Local Law 10-2021, which focuses on the utilization of third-party design professionals by building inspectors. The testimony was given during the Village of Ossining’s Legislative meeting on August 18, 2021. Read below for the full testimony:
I’m here to offer comments on Proposed Local Law 10-2021 regarding the use of a third-party design professional to review building permit applications when referred by the building inspector.
Our organization represents many existing multifamily apartment owners who are likely to seek permits in the future for repair and remodeling work on their properties.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all non-emergency repairs were put on hold for apartment buildings throughout the county, for obvious reasons.
By the time restrictions were loosened and we started to adapt to best practices for building repairs, there was already a sizeable backlog.
Now in 2021, the backlog on some buildings can be quite large, meaning the Inspector is likely to see an update for remodeling permit requests over the next few years.
Our organization also represents homebuilders and multifamily developers.
We are very supportive of the Village of Ossining’s Comprehensive Plan revision, and we believe that it positions the village to be a leading community in helping to solve the housing shortage we’re acutely feeling across Westchester, and do so in a way that will be an economic boom for existing residents.
But if we’re right in that belief, it will certainly mean a lot more work for the building inspector over the next few years.
We do have two suggestions:
One, we think in the interests of transparency and accountability, it would be preferable to have an RFP process to determine which third-party consultants could be used for this work by the building inspector.
Two, we would recommend establishing a pool of third-party reviewers that could be called upon. This would both prevent an additional bottleneck if there is a primary reviewer and she or he becomes unavailable for a time. It also reduces the chance of future abuse.