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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

New York City Department of Buildings
Elevator Safety (Follow-Up)


Issued: October 28, 2019
Link to full audit report 2019-F-22

Objective
To determine the extent of implementation of the nine recommendations included in our initial audit report, Elevator Safety (Report 2017-N-4).

About the Program
The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is responsible for regulating the safe and lawful use of more than 1 million buildings and construction sites in New York City. This responsibility includes the oversight of elevators. DOB inspects some elevators, oversees the inspection of others by contractors (non-DOB inspectors), ensures that elevators are tested, and monitors the results.

The Building Code requires that elevators under DOB’s jurisdiction be inspected and tested annually. In the City, certain elevators are not subject to inspections and testing by DOB or one of its contractors. Through a memorandum of understanding, DOB authorized the New York City Housing Authority to perform elevator inspections and tests within its buildings. Additionally, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is responsible for inspecting and testing its elevators. Annual inspections are generally performed by companies hired by DOB. Building owners hire DOB-licensed inspection companies to perform elevator tests. Annual inspections are generally performed by companies hired by DOB. Building owners hire DOB-licensed inspection companies to perform elevator tests.

Our initial audit report, issued on June 6, 2018, concluded that, while non-DOB inspectors had the appropriate credentials, they did not always perform thorough elevator inspections. We accompanied DOB and non-DOB inspectors on 12 inspections and found violations were missed or overlooked for 11 of the 12 sampled elevators. When we reviewed the overall data for inspectors for 2015 and 2016, we determined that 14,828 elevator inspections scheduled to be performed by non-DOB inspectors had not been performed. Moreover, we were unable to determine if 8,437 tests had actually been performed by inspectors hired by building owners, as DOB did not provide records. As a result, hazardous and other unsafe conditions were not always identified and corrected.

Key Findings
We found that DOB officials implemented three recommendations, partially implemented four, and did not implement two.

Key Recommendation
Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of the follow-up review to provide information on any actions that are planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this review.


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Kenrick Sifontes
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236