Audit of DOB Elevator Inspections

OIG’s audit of 2013 elevator inspections found that the Department of Buildings (DOB) was not in compliance with the municipal code’s (MCC) inspection requirements. According to available records OIG determined that,

  • 66% of buildings covered by MCC § 13-20-100 did not receive an annual elevator inspection in 2013
  • 62% of violations for inspected elevators cited from January 2006 to December 2013 remained unresolved
  • $236,355 in inspection revenue went unbilled because DOB failed to enter data in a timely manner or create fee records appropriately.

Our audit examined the two means DOB employs to meet its inspection duties. The majority of buildings with elevators in the City are subject to inspection by DOB staff. Inspections for the remaining buildings are conducted through the Department’s Annual Inspection Certification program (AIC). In this program, owners of designated properties–including buildings in the Central Business District, those owned by the City’s sister agencies, and select institutions such as hospitals and universities–must arrange for private inspections and submit qualifying forms to the City. OIG found notable differences in the outcomes of these two annual inspection programs. In one example, while DOB staff inspected only 19.1% of buildings under their purview, Certificates of Inspection were issued for 88.5% of buildings in the AIC program. The 4,094 buildings that DOB staff failed to inspect represent approximately $772,040 in foregone inspection fees.

In its response, DOB commits itself to more timely and complete data processing and to expanding the AIC program in 2015. The Department also commits to improving its sampling methodology for periodic compliance auditing of AIC buildings, which OIG found was insufficient to assess the effectiveness of the overall program.