New York City construction professionals can let their fingers do the walking — and the tapping and the clicking — whenever they need more information about laws, regulations or requirements to work in the five boroughs.
The Associated General Contractors of New York last month finished NYC Fast Facts, a new smartphone app that can keep them up to date on fast-changing regulatory requirements affecting the city's construction industry—from city building and transportation agency requirements to crane use rules and details of the Building Code.
Mike Elmendorf, CEO of the AGC, tells ENR that the organization developed the app "after our successful rollout of the printed FastFacts binder in 2019," which was created "for superintendents, project managers and safety personnel to find valuable information and resources" about city construction rules.
But, he says, "we quickly realized that the printed version would be difficult to keep current, so the obvious direction was to leverage technology as tablets and smart phones [that] are ubiquitous on job sites."
Elmendorf adds that the app lets users access information even as it changes "in real time."
He says the app developer, myComply, also achieved AGC's aim "to keep the app simple."
NYC Fast Facts comes after other notable attempts to streamline data for the construction industry. in the city and elsewhere.
Engineering firm WSJ created FacadeOrdinance.com "several years ago as a service to others that contains general information regarding facade ordinances in various cities throughout the United States," WSJ communications manager Donald Minner told ENR, and it provides information about facade laws in 13 cities.
And in 2018, mechanical engineer Charlie Copeland and his firm, Goldman Copeland, created a geothermal prescreening tool for all 850,000 city lots at the behest of the NYC Dept. of Design and Construction. The tool helps determine what kind of structures among 25 types of buildings could be built on a lot, and the amount of energy those structures would require.
While these tools have their own specific technology, Elmendorf says NYC Fast Facts' framework could be used for other sectors, such as the state's Dept. of Transportation.
Two users are already praising the app.
Ed Lopez, a construction superintendent with Alexander Wolf & Son, says in a statement that the app gives him facts that "I need on a daily basis in order to comply with all the latest NYC [Dept. of Buildings] rules and regulations."
John Masciopinto, assistant safety director at EW Howell Construction Group, says that it helps personnel "stay up to date with New York City’s ever-changing regulatory requirements,” which allows teams to ensure they're "in compliance and avoid costly violations and stop work orders.”